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Leading Ladies: 1927

"Holton-Arms School." More Holton-Arms girls circa 1927 in Washington. Who'll be the first to put a name to a face?  Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

"Holton-Arms School." More Holton-Arms girls circa 1927 in Washington. Who'll be the first to put a name to a face? Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Later on Seinfeld

Elaine Benes, ooops, I mean Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a Holton-Arms alumna. Jackie Kennedy was a student in 1942-44. I don't know what tuition was in the 1920s but today young Popsie's parents have to fork out about $31k a year. However, that includes school lunches. Such a deal.

H-A girls

I suspect that the two on either end of the top row are sisters. I'm surprised they're not dressed more alike.

I wonder if we would find more of the girls attractive if they all had fluffy finger-waved hair with little kiss curls. Though she's the apple of my eye, too. Who can spot the faux-bobs? "No, you will NOT have your hair cut off, young lady, and that's final!" "Yes, Papa."

The one on the far right, bottom row, could easily have been a model at that time. She looks like she belongs on the cover of Collier's. I bet she golfed.

I think the bosom-binding was an attempt at looking rail-thin, in addition to square and boyish. Sorry, ladies. It so often happens that the beauty one is trying to achieve is in the eye of the beholder, who saw it first in Ladies' Home Journal.


Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, front row second from right.

Cankle Conundrum

So, riddle me this: is it the shoes or the stockings that almost always make women of this era appear to have unfortunate cankles? The shoe-vamps ARE very high-cut; and the stockings are sturdy and serviceable, I'm sure.


Well, I dunno. As a guy that's into girls I think all of these young women are very attractive. But beyond that superficial level, I really like the people photos here on shorpy. The architecture and all is great but seeing the people and thinking what their lives were like, their personalities etc....

But back to the superficial, the women of the time I think are much more attractive than women of now. At least in the mainstream of our culture. And the third from the right in the back row. I could see being good friends with her... I lust, so sue me!

From formal to informal

The gals in the last row are interesting, Gal #3 with the beautiful sweater & necklace contrasts sharply with the gal #5 two over to the right from her, who is wearing a shirt that looks like one of my husband's! And the buttons! what wonderful buttons. So is Gal #5 in the back, is she a tomboy or just poor?

Carolyn Jones

Second from right in the back row. All growed up and not decked out like Morticia:

All About Charlene

Sweetie, I think they have hormonal treatments now that help you get over the crankiness.


To my eyes the cute girl in the front row with the snazzy stockings looks a bit like Jenna Elfman.

It's all about them

Translation of your first few comments: "I deserve to see women I personally think are hot! They better exist everywhere I look! That's the only thing women are good for -- entertaining ME, the Entitled One! It's all about me me me me me!"

I'm too old to be bitter. I'm just tired of guys who can't stop trying to shove their bizarre standards down everyone else's throats.

You left out........

That one thing that I guess seems like no big deal people anymore. Men landing on the moon. Several times. And, coming back.

I still find this to be man's greatest achievement, and my grandfather lived to see that day.

From horse and buggy, to man on the moon. That is quite a leap.

There was a benefit.

Robcat2075, from what I understand, much of the flapper era was about rebellion of the previous generation's stuffiness (think Gibson girls...yeesh) as you suggested, but also a devil-may-care, you-only-live-once attitude following WWI. Strapping mammaries down made it much easier to get crazy and dance the Charleston, and became emblematic of free-moving and fashion-forward dames.

I Win

I christen the back row center girl, Donna Fairbanks. It's very unlikely that that is her name, but Dave only challenged us Shorpyites to "put a name to a face" (and so I have, fair & square!). What's my prize, Dave?

[A 50 percent discount. - Dave]

Guess with once

Why I always laught when i see american "beautiful women"?

Everything Old Is New Again

Maybe this is where the guys from Nickelback got the idea.


She's the ONLY cute one in the bunch.

Flat-chested and proud of it

Wouldn't 1927 be the apex of the flapper era, when women actually strived to appear flat-chested? If their breasts weren't with the program they'd fix it by tying them down.

I've never read a thorough explanation of the fad but I guess it may have been a reaction to the artificially curvaceous styles of their mothers, who squeezed into whale bone corsets and put false butt boosters under their dresses.

Also I think I've read that, for physiological reasons not entirely certain today, girls hit puberty somewhat later in past decades, so these could be fairly normal 17 year-olds of their time.

Miss 20th Century

What did these girls see ahead of them? The depression, World War II, the Cold War, McCarthyism, the rise of suburbia, jet air travel, the civil rights movement, the Rolling Stones, microwave ovens, cable television... Who knows, maybe one or two of these gals learned to surf the web.

Dead or Alive

Mr. Mel wrote:

Assuming they were about 17 years old, in the photograph, would mean they were born c. 1910. If that's the case, they would be 99 or so years old, someone or some of them could still be alive. Any way to know?

Tickle 'em and see if they laugh.

Back row

The two girls in the back row, 2nd and 3rd in from right almost appear to be sisters, the lips are almost identical.

School for the Criminally Flatchested

Lacko Mammarita, the valedictorian, stands in the center of the front row with her enticing and sensuous smile inviting all the boys' attention.


The one in the front row far right looks like Barbara Bush; the one in the front row far left looks like Richard Nixon.

Nancy Hamilton

The girl in the front row at far right appears to be Nancy Hamilton, seen here in a more flattering light with a guitar.


Front row girls right and left. The belt buckles and loose ends are identical in position. Maye this was a "club" thing?

99 Years Old

Assuming they were about 17 years old, in the photograph, would mean they were born c. 1910. If that's the case, they would be 99 or so years old, someone or some of them could still be alive. Any way to know?


I would like Holton them in my arms!


Why do I keep thinking of Indiana University basketball when looking at the gal at the front left?

Staying the same, only niftier

Adding to Eric's comment: If by some quirk of the winds, the lovely girl, second from right, were to be lifted up and deposited (decorously) on the front steps of our present-day high school, none would be the wiser. If she had her purse, you'd probably find she carries a cell phone and an Mp3 inside!

Nice appearance

Short hair and youthful elegance. Twenty years earlier they all would have had long flowing locks. Years later, fast food will have taken its toll.

The Quality of these dead girls is sure improving

Don't know what it is, but it seems like the group photos of young girls from 80 years ago are showing a lot more lookers and almost no mud fence uglies. Contrast that to the past when the more astute Shorpy fans would shield their eyes.

Girl next door

She may have star quality, but the girl in the center is just down and out gorgeous..and you could go camping and she would hold her own!!! (And she wears sensible shoes)


Blondie, second from the right in the front row, is a MAJOR cutie! Those are some pretty snazzy stockings she's wearing, too.

Miss Right

Like Eric said, second from right first row reminds me of a young Christina Applegate.

Star quality

Second from the right in the first row is movie-star gorgeous.

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