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Pool Rules: 1942

Pool Rules: 1942

July 1942. Washington, D.C. "Municipal swimming pool on Sunday." Remember: Sitting confined to sign. Photo by Marjory Collins for the OWI. View full size.


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Non-whites "Excluded"

In 1942 the City of Washington was rigidly segregated.

Rubber Caps

When I was a child, females were required to wear those ugly and uncomfortable rubber caps on our heads or we were not allowed in the swimming pool. It was not to keep our hair dry; we did not care in the slightest if our hair got wet. It was supposedly to keep our long hairs from getting into the pool filter and clogging it. If you had short hair (which most boys did) you could go capless. I have no doubt the lifeguard will be motioning those two out of the water if they decide to do more than stand around the edge with their hairy heads held high.

And absolutely no sitting...

...or leaning on the signs.

A Woman's Hair at the Pool

Notice that nearly all the women in the pool are wearing those characteristic, for the times, rubber caps to keep their hair as dry as possible. However, the two young ladies in the foreground have figured out that they don't look very "cool".

Signage Trends

You wouldn't see signs phrased like this today. Some words like "confined" go out of style, while others come into style. A few years ago signs appeared in Rock Creek Park that said "Commercial Vehicles Excluded." I thought somebody just couldn't think of "prohibited." Then I noticed a similar sign on the bridge in "It's a Wonderful Life." So, retro signs. I'm good with that.

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