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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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A Hasty Lunch: 1905

A Hasty Lunch: 1905

Coney Island, New York, circa 1905. "Picnicing on the beach -- a hasty lunch." 8½ x 6½ inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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"Social conventions" is your answer.

For Rikki Doxx, who asked why bother wearing all this clobber just to go to the beach, the answer is simply that the social conventions of the day disallowed anything approaching bare skin, particularly for women.

This was still the Victorian era (even in the USA) and it wasn't until the 1920s and the more liberal social mores following the end of the Great War that fashions became less cumbersome and all-enveloping.

I can tell you from personal (eyewitness) experience that as recently as the 1960s and the introduction of the two-piece swimsuit on the beaches of Sydney there was an old 1930s by-law that required a minimum of 3" of material on the hip of the briefs (male and female).
There was even an inspector on Bondi Beach with a tape measure and the power to send the offending female off the sand!


As had been posted before, the lack of towels or blankets still amazes me. About when was it that somebody invented the beach towel?

Nothing to drink

This must have been one dry lunch, not a beverage in sight. Note to noelani: It's none of my business but I hope you've had something to eat since you wrote your comments as you sounded very hungry. And what were you doing up at 2:45 a.m.? Can you tell I'm a parent? Okay, I'll get back in the box.

Bathing Suits

I look at pictures from that era and wonder about the "bathing costumes" they wore - all that clothing. Why bother?

Oh Sandy

We've said it before..why in the world didn't it occur to
these people to use blankets?

Midsummer's menu

I've been trying to think of what these young ladies might be dining on here! I know that people used to make sandwiches out of just about anything that was thick enough not to run right off the bread. It might have been meat or cheese, but with it being summer, I think it is just as likely to be cucumber or tomato, or hard boiled egg, made from the abundance of little pullet eggs that time of year. Jam from a pre-fall harvest of fruit is a possibility, too. At least one side of the bread would have been spread with butter. Oh, and it was certainly homemade bread, sliced on an as-needed basis.

I'm trying to figure out what the fruit two of the young ladies are holding might be, too. Some kind of plum, maybe? Or maybe a plum tomato? Perhaps those of you from that part of the country have a better idea.

[That's a plum. Their box lunch would likely have come from one of the Coney Island food or bathing concessions. - Dave]

OTY, thanks for your concern! Actually, I sometimes get on Shorpy when I can't sleep. I am very interested in food history and always wonder what people are eating, in the photos here. Some of my favorites are the ones that show the posted menus at soda fountains!

True grit

It gives new meaning to the word "SANDwich."

Box Lunch

Love to see pics that show people having obvious good times with friends.

SHORPY OLD 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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