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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORWAY IN SEPTEMBER, c. 1920s

Swim Teem: 1917

Swim Teem: 1917

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1917. "Bathing beach at Belle Isle Park." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

People of Size & vice versa

Looking at this photo I would come to the opposite conclusion. I can't find any obese people and if there any they are certainly in the minority. A photo of today's beachgoers would surely not look like the people in this photo.

Seriously? All shapes and sizes?

With the possible exception of the blurred woman in the foreground, please find me one in the entire group who would be considered overweight.

Missing

It's amazing how many people are in this picture and yet there is not one person of color.

My Kinda Town

So great to see the last few postings featuring my Detroit. With the Detroit Publishing Company associated with so many photos, it's difficult to search for those featuring Detroit. Keep 'em coming!

Largest beach crowd

Too bad Guinness World Records wouldn't be published until 37 years later.

All those people

Yes, they probably are in fact nearly now all gone. But seeing pictures like these collectively nudge us into acknowledging that once they were very much alive and went on to become our grandparents and great-grandparents. My childhood memory of my own grandparents is of them being old and sickly; photos like these help us kind of know them as we may never have had the opportunity.

Could've been a great picture

But someone moved.

Find it

Where is Wally?

Water works

The spires and standpipes of Water Works Park are seen in the background. What a time to be alive, eh?

Look

That guy in the middle looks just like George Michael.

Waist Size

I love all these beach and swimsuit photos on Shorpy. Goes to show that the misconception that everyone was stick thin compared to people today is so far fetched. You can see all shapes and sizes then and now. Granted there are far more morbidly obese people now. Still I'd say if we took a bunch of people at a modern beach, made them change in to those old wool bathing suits, and took a shot it wouldn't look too different from this.

The sea was empty that day, my friend.

Yes, I know it's a lake, but what a spectacle. Speaking of, to the left of the guy in the horizontally striped swimsuit (also on the left) is the one beachgoer I see wearing glasses. The crowd's median age appears to be under 25. Many have around their necks what I am certain are storage locker keys. The abundance of attractive faces is striking, and my personal Best of Da Beach pick are these three bonneted lovelies, who surely occupy the A Table back at their school cafeteria.

Carpe Diem

Another one of those shots that whisper to you. That's why I like Shorpy.

Waiting for the Night

The tower that a couple of people are climbing on here is a sort of miniature version of Detroit's "moonlight" towers. An opposite view from the water, including the beautiful old bathhouse, that clearly shows the entire light tower can be seen here.

!!!Gimme an "R"!!!

Pictures like this look so current it's hard to believe they are all dead except for the very youngest and even they are in their mid-90s by now if still living!

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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