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Dirty Girls: 1922

Washington, D.C., circa 1922. "Potomac bathing beach." Our second glimpse of these sandy lasses. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1922. "Potomac bathing beach." Our second glimpse of these sandy lasses. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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I'll bet the photographer followed these beauties around while they were at the beach. If you look at the differences between the two photos of the girls, you can see they were taken at different times that day.

In one, the girls look clean and somewhat happy, in the other they're sandy and seem a little annoyed. (And just a little further down the beach.)

In both photos, there are boys behind them, but not the same boys. And oddly enough, in both photos, there is a boy laughing behind the two girls on the right.


Unless the photo is mirrored, the ring is on her right hand. She may have made her hand visible, but not to show a wedding ring.

Bathing Beach Rules

The woman to the right and the man in the background are both wearing lanyards with matching tokens - perhaps tags for checked valuables?

Washington Post, September 5, 1918.

Bathing Beach Rules.

Hours at Tidal Basin Are 7 A. M. to 12 M.;
2 P. M. to 7 P. M.

The public buildings and grounds has announced the following rules for the new bathing beach on the shore of the Tidal Basin in Potomac Park:

Bathing hours—7 a. m. to 12 m.; 2 p. m. to 7 p. m.

Open daily, including Sunday and holidays.

Bathing Suits rented, 25 cents for men and 35 cents for women.

A charge will be made for soap, towels and checking valuables.

No children under 6 years of age allowed to bathe unless accompanied by adult member of the the family.

She's Married, Fellers!

Nobody yet has commented on her ring. It's irrelevant to the important points about this photo - who's the cutest and how ortho film reacts to various eye colors - but I think it's no accident she has made her hand quite visible. And the guy just back (girl X's brother perhaps?) is obviously just smiling for the camera. No need for pop to 'stand his ground'. Were towels then too expensive or difficult to clean for owners to subject them to such abuse?

Their grandaughters are wearing bikinis!

For the 1920's these are about as revealing swimsuits as you can get. Although, the girl on the right would most likely not look too out of place on the beaches of today if her suit were made of modern materials.

as for the eyes colors I would thing the Girl on the right has brown eyes and the other two have green. I agree with RadioMattM about the orthocromatic film.

Any way, all three of the young ladies are very lovely.

re: orthochromatic

Orthochromatic film was blue sensitive. It was not red sensitive. Blues appear light and reds very dark.

People with ruddy complexions often look dirty-faced in old photos, because the red shows as dark blotches.

And yes, blue eyes will look light, maybe zombie-ish.


The lovely girl at the far right looked much better in the previous photo, in my opinion. And I have to agree that the other two beauties are sisters. I'll go one further and guess that the lady with the cap is their mother, along as a chaperone. And judging by the looks on the faces behind them, good thing. Youth is wasted on the young.


Golly gee, I’ve always liked dirty girls!

I don't think they are blue.

I don't think the girl on the left has blue eyes. This photo is from 1922 and the film was probably orthochromatic -- not sensitive to blue. If her eyes were blue she would look like a zombie.

I do have a question, which of their fathers took care of the guy in the background who was ogling them?

Best seat in the house

The boys who have taken up their watch against the wall right behind these girls seem to be expressing their happiness in finding a choice spot from which to view the activities. Changing topics, you would think that out of the thousands of people in all these early beach pictures that at least one or two individuals would have dreamed up the brilliant idea of bringing along a beach towel or blanket to avoid being covered with sand.

High Hopes

The two leering guys seated behind them seem to be enjoying the scene but probably don't have a shot. It's my guess that the bathing beauties are professional models and have their sights aimed higher.

Our Daughters

Like most other viewers, I see honest, unpretentious beauty in these young women's faces. But because I have a daughter, the ultimate impact is different. Unseen in these images are these girls' fathers. My connection with them across the decades is instantaneous. As kindred spirits, we anticipate with angst our daughters' inexorable journey toward wisdom and independence. "Wow" is right.

Potomac bathing beach is now the Tidal Basin

They dredged it to build the Jefferson Memorial. And I want to believe the one in the middle is a redhead.

The lighter haired beauty

The girl to her immediate right is also pretty. I think they are sisters .. their eyes are the same.

Hmmm, that girl on the far right

...looks more than a little like the actor, Mark Wahlberg ( I wonder if he has any old-tyme bathing beauties in his family tree)

The dark haired beauty

The girl on the left with the long, dark hair is lovely. Such composure and she has beautiful eyes (I am guessing blue) and (despite the hole in her sock) her figure is elegant-even her hands are quite comely. But she never smiles, and sadly, we will never know why.


The one on the left (no, not the one with the shower cap) is stunning!

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