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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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California Cuties: 1925

California Cuties: 1925

The West Coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned ...

Huntington Beach, California. "Bathing Beauty Pageant, 1925." Three-panel gelatin silver print by Miles F. Weaver (1879-1932). View full panorama.

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Swimsuit Design

Bra cups were first introduced in the 1930s (along with adjustable shoulder straps), and were pretty much de rigueur by the 40s. Underwire didn't appear until the 90s.

Great panorama

Although it's frequently mentioned about such photos, it still bears repeating: how refreshing to see all types of bodies in such a group of women, and not just one prescribed type, as you would see nowadays. Also, it's always amazing to me to see that some of the women look like typical gals from the 1920s with their rosebud mouths and flapper hair, while others look like people I saw on the sidewalk a couple of hours ago. My favorite girl in the bunch? Fourth from the left in the panorama: darker skin, shoulders back, torso arched forward, eyes off to the side, mischief ahoy.

Women's bathing suits

I've surfed and surfed but can't find an answer to this: when did bathing suit designers begin to include bras in women's suits?


The young lady on the extreme left with the dark, curly hair and the checked swimsuit could have easily been the original model for Betty Boop.

Like seeing an old friend

I have a print of the full version of this image hanging on my wall. It's been there so long (likely even pre-internet) that I can't even remember exactly where it came from. But I liked it so much I built a quartersawn oak frame for it and hung it with some little oil paintings. So cool to see it show up on Shorpy!

The Reason

for California Dreamin'. It's surprising how fast the shorter and form fitting the bathing costume changed.

Sea urchins

I thought the leering guys behind the women were bad, until I scrolled down and saw the little boys peeping between their legs.

[Some of those little boys are little girls. -tterrace]

Sorta Sad ...

... To be the "mascot" at a beauty contest.

Mugging for the lens

Some very early photo-bombs going on here!

That cheesy grin over the shoulder of the beauty with the parasol is priceless.

Hubba hubba

This photo has restored my faith in American 1920s beauty pageants.

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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