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King of Cadonia: 1910

Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "King of Cardonia" is the caption here, perhaps the name of a play. [Update: The correct spelling is "Cadonia"; the play ended its D.C. run in January 1910.] Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "King of Cardonia" is the caption here, perhaps the name of a play. [Update: The correct spelling is "Cadonia"; the play ended its D.C. run in January 1910.] Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Rigid corsets, but not wasp waisted

These ladies are all VERY STRONGLY corseted! The fashion at this time, 1910, was for corsets from midriff to mid thigh (look at no 1,9 and 10 from the left). The wasp waist was dead, but it was still necessary to have a defined waist and absence of natural curves. This is a well posed photo, but it is interesting to note that the ladies are all in the “hands behind back, shoulders back” style that showed off the straightfront corsets.

This style of corset is not easy to wear. It’s difficult to sit in anything but a straight back chair. Easy sofas and reaching for a low coffee table are impossible in these corsets. These girls are probably quite at home in their stiff corsets. Suppose their age is 25 (they don’t look very young to me) then they would have been born in 1885 and would have experienced the discomfort of the 19 cent wasp waist.

I'm in love!

The girl second from the left has stolen my heart. She can put her whalebone corset, lace-up boots and 50-pound earrings next to my bed any day!

Cadonia ringtones, anyone?

The music from the show lives on, at least as MIDI files:

Additional Musical Numbers by...

Jerome Kern! wow!


I'm pretty sure that none of these ladies would even think of going on stage without a corset. One must maintain an hourglass figure, after all. The prize goes to second-from-left with honorable mention to second-from-right.


The beauty second from left looks amazingly like a girl I dated about 25 years ago. I second the thought on the pose, they should have lined up by height.

I would like a time machine

Every last one of these ladies is lovely in her own right, yet by the industry standards of today they would all be considered fat. I was born a century too late -- how I would love to live in an era in which women are allowed to be curvy and voluptuous, like these dolls. I mean, just looks at those plush bottoms! Like, much! Want, badly!

Lost Technology

The dresses the ladies are wearing are another example of technology from an earlier period that has been forgotten. By simply walking around the room, the long dress serves as a Broom, or in the case of a wet floor the dress serves as a Mop to clean up untidy messes. For wood floors a Wax can be appled to the lower part of the dress to give a gleaming shine to any dance floor!


The only thought that comes to mind is sardines.

Wedgie fever

Evidently there's a right way and a wrong way to do this pose. Miss Third-from-the-right looks like she's trying to make some subtle adjustments.

The lovely lighter-haired lass (fifth from the left) looks like the girl that the hero gets at the end of many a silent film.

Marx Sisters

For some reason, these gals remind me of the late Margaret Dumont, the straight-lady and nominal love interest for Groucho in so many Marx Brothers films. Maybe this is how Ms. Dumont got her start?


I believe the colloquialism "hottie" in this case is ill advised. This looks like Prom Night at the Women's Prison Guard School.

When Willy met Nilly

The photographer should have had the ladies lined up by height. This is a great example of why.

I'll second the second from the right. Wow.

My earlobes

are sagging and quite sore with phantom pain after looking at those earrings. And I wonder what fabrics the dresses were made of, how many layers/boning underneath, and finally, how much they weighed.

Be very careful with that pinback

Two of them have no earrings but they all seem to have medals pinned in a most unfortunate position on their chests. The one on the far right looks like she's auditioning for her next role as Frau Rottenmeier in "Heidi."


I'd say at least three of those could be described as bootylicious. I'm just sayin'

At the Belasco ...

Washington Herald, Nov 21, 1909
(click to enlarge)

Rare Smile

Looks like #2 from the left is breaking 1910 photography protocol by actually SMILING!!! Fantastic smile, though...

Ladies in Waiting

These are the Ladies in Waiting in "King of Cadonia," which closed after only 16 performances in January 1910, at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York. Imported from London by the Shuberts, this two-act musical comedy had enjoyed far greater success at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where it had opened in 1908 for a run of 333 performances. The play included sixteen songs and sumptuous costumes by the British designer Karl. Here is the London cover for the vocal score.

[Brilliant. Thank you! - Dave]

Hair Color

Interesting that nine out of 10 have dark hair, and the exception isn't blond. I imagine that a similar picture today would show at least five blondes.

Vintage Hotties

Shorpy: The New Home of the Vintage Hotty.


These ladies are probably portraying mermaids from "The Little Mermaid," in which the King of Cardonia appears. The long trains could loosely be described as their tails.


I'll take the second from the careful with those brooches girls!

Trippy Dresses

Those dresses seem entirely impractical. I guess that's the long train wrapped around the front for the photo?

Love the expression on Ms. Third-from-Right.

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