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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Beauticult of America: 1926

Beauticult of America: 1926

Washington, D.C., circa 1926. "Marcel Beauty Shop, Connecticut Avenue." Member of the "Beauticult of America." H&E glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

French Bobby's "Robert" to you!

Some may find the wax models creepy, this is due to the fact that three of them look like men in drag with their heavy, features especially blondie second from the left. The other two (far right) have powerhouse necks, would not wish to scrap with either of them. Now there is the basis for the next horror film!

Miss Left

If that hair is red, she's the woman of my dreams.

A different Marcel

The Marcel wave was invented in 1872 by Francois Marcel.

Now can somebody enlighten us about "Eugene Permanent Waving," which, to judge by the sign on the door, enabled you to walk like an Egyptian?

Undulation Marcel

Francois Marcel invented the process in 1872 and made a mint on it. If you were a Frenchman with the name Marcel, it was your golden opportunity to cash in on the style and learn the profession of beauty-culture.

South Georgia Curl

The style had made it to the piney woods of South Georgia a few years before the attached photo. This is my mother at 19 years, in 1932. The photograph was made at Rich's of Savannah. A softer style than the original Marceled "do."

"These wax models"...

.... won't ever be showing up on Ebay or an antique store. No way wax survives even a brief stay in an attic or basement. They would look cool on my shelf, though.

Those busts

Those busts are both beautiful and creepy all at once.

And how much do you want to bet "Marcel of Paris" was actually Bob from Poughkeepsie with a bad French accent?


How great are those wig models? The one in the middle, especially.

"Why, this is just a little ole Marcel wave, silly!"

Exclusive Postiches

Marcel Grimaud appears to have gotten his stateside start in the shop of Robert of Paris, located just a few doors down in the same fashionable block of Connecticut Ave.


Marcel of Paris and Nice, France, has the pleasure to announce to his patrons and friends of Washington and vicinity that he has opened his REAL PARISIAN BEAUTY PARLORS at 1504 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, where he is prepared to give his patrons the benefit of his 25 years' experience in all branches of BEAUTY CULTURE.

In Paris and on the Riviera, France, he has obtained the greatest success as an artist of rare talent, creator of individually becoming coiffures, and Manufacturer of exclusive Postiches - Bobbed Wigs, Transformations and the New French Chignon.

He has engaged a staff of real competent expert operators in all branches, who will work under his personal supervision.

Real French Bobbing — Formerly with Robert


The Uncanny Valley

The busts in the window are very creepy in their realism.

Waves in the Window

So is this shop the home of the original Marcel Wave so popular in the '20s? Or is it an entrepreneur capitalizing on a popular fad by naming their shop after it?

Nightmare fuel

Those mannequins are creepy. They're way too realistic, and not in a good way.


Going to get a contouration from a member of the Beauticult of America -- sounds like you'd be lucky to get out alive.

Awesome busts

Not to mention the storefront.

Bad, Bad Joke

That was really, really bad. But I'm still laughing!

French Bobbing

A fellow poked his head into the doorway and asked, "Bob Peters here?"

The stylist replied, "Nope, just hair."

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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