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Provincetown Summer: 1937

Provincetown Summer: 1937

Summer 1937. "Street scene -- Provincetown, Massachusetts." And a reminder to "Don't write -- Telegraph!" 35mm negative by Edwin Rosskam. View full size.


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"Don't write" would last about five more years

No one who lived on the home front during World War II ever wanted to receive a telegram again.

Modern girl

Except for the passerbys she looks like she would fit right in, in downtown Monterey in the artsy section or underground Atlanta back in the late sixties. Especially with the glasses. The pic took me right back there.

I Always telegraph

That's why I'm such a lousy poker player.


The young lady's pose is a variant of "hands on hips" or "akimbo". The hands are placed so that the fingers are vertical and end up approximately at the waist, instead of on the hips. Thanks to various life experiences I associate it with the Northeastern U.S., with impatience or irritation, and with the sort of woman we describe today as "high maintenance".

I keep coming back

Ive looked at this photo alot, and I keep thinking how the girl on the bike would fit right in with the students at Appalachian university here in Boone NC. hip, but with a agenda.

Girl on Bicycle

Her hand is going straight down her right side, not in her blouse. Love how she looks.

Too bad there isn't even a reflection to help us know what the people are looking at.

304 Commercial Street

I can assure you, OTY, much of Provincetown is as it was, at least architecturally. There is no Google Street View for Commercial Street, but I found this picture of 304 Commercial - now a jeweler.

Itchy nipple

My guess.

[If you look closely, you'll see that both hands are at her sides. And if you don't look closely, this is what you come up with.] - Dave]

Free thinker

I'm guessing this woman was what was referred to at that time as a "free thinker." She's very stylish and uninhibited looking.


That girl is years ahead of her time style wise. I love it! That took guts back then.

Re: OTY - No Main St.

There isn't any Main Street in Provincetown if you can believe it. The main thoroughfares through P-Town are Bradford St. (Rte 6A) and Commercial St. I'm guessing this photo was taken on Commercial, but not sure.

Armchair quarterbacking the photo

I too thought her hand was in the shirt adjusting things...She seems very flexible too. Can someone describe the pants? They look like a pants-skirt???

[Culottes? - tterrace]

The Start of the End of the USPS

In the window it says "Don't write, Telegraph."
The sign of things to come.

There he is again

It seems like the older fellow on the right by the curb (hat, tie blown back) is omnipresent in photos from this era. He certainly did get around!

What's this world coming to?

A man outside and not wearing a hat!!

Bicycling experience

I remember as a boy, having to tie my pants leg tight so the material wouldn't get tangled in the chain mechanism. I never saw the need to tie BOTH legs, since there is nothing on the other side to get tangled up. And those heels must have made the pedaling difficult. I'd have put those shoes in the bag, and worn appropriate shoes for the trip, then switched to my heels once I reached my destination.


is the maker of that beautiful Art Deco popcorn machine. In 1940 it became Manley Inc. to reflect the new owners name. More here.

At first glance

I thought she had her hand under her shirt, adjusting her bra.

Judging by those socks

Two years later a house from Kansas will fall on her!


From her head to toe, the bicycle chick evokes style...boasting the latest in eye wear, jewelry, socks, heels. She may have been heading home from work. And, remember the rear wheel push-down stands? I love this image. Wish I knew what the attention grabber was.

Old Cape Cod

Twenty one years after this picture was snapped, I made my first of many road trips to Provincetown. 1958 was the year Patti Page recorded the title song and it was played constantly everywhere in Provincetown to add musical atmosphere for the tourists. Nothing stays the same and neither did Provincetown, but the fresh lobsters, crusty Portugese breads, artists and artisans of all kinds, lively ambient bars, balmy beaches and friendly people got me hooked on this beautiful town. My last trip there was in 1970 so maybe somebody can locate an updated picture of the current Main St. and post it.

P.S. to Kilroy - Thanks for refreshing my memory. I do remember that their main street was called Commercial St. We used to stay at a B & B type lodging called the Gray Inn that most likely no longer exists, a family-run rooming house sort of arrangement, casual and inexpensive. Wonderful memories.

P.P.S. to JesryPo - I appreciate the photo (the architecture does look original) and its nice to know it is still a quaint and charming town. Many thanks.

Quite stylish

nothing like pedaling a bicycle while wearing two inch heels.

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