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Bonjour, My Pet: 1910

Bonjour, My Pet: 1910

July/Aug. 9, 1910: The French actress Polaire, her little blind dog and the young man she provocatively called her "slave." Newspapers of the day were a bit more circumspect. The Washington Post of April 11, 1915: "Mlle. Polaire has been chief- ly remarkable for her tiny waist, her jewels, her black footman and her dashing originality in any role of life." Full size. G.G. Bain Collection. More here.

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Yeah that looks way too uncomfortable to me. I wonder how many strong men it took her to get into that corset.


Queasy, indeed...

Waist not

If you do a Google image search on "Polaire" you'll find a few pictures of the famous Mlle. and her waist. Gotta warn you, though, that these pictures may make you a bit queasy. There's just something wrong about a waist that small.

The Waist of Mlle. Polaire

I found this link via Wikipedia - which has additional photographs of Mademoiselle Polaire's corsetted waist, which I now have read was between 13 and 15 inches. All I can say is 'Egads.'

Thank you for such wonderful pictures!

[Thanks for that link! - Dave]

Polaire's "bodyguard"

From the newspapers of the day. Warning: Creepy objectification.

Kingston, Jamaica, Gleaner, August 15, 1910:

Bodyguard Selected by French Actress

Mlle. Polaire, the famous French actress with the tiny waist, has left New York for Paris ... besides an abundance of American dollars, she took with her a bodyguard in the shape of a little Jamaican negro. From James George, his name has been changed to the French equivalent, and just before his departure, he was the proud possessor of a new suit of livery and a pair of gloves and a chain about his neck from which depended a silver tag. On the tag were directions for his return to Mlle. Polaire should he become lost, strayed or stolen.

Oakland Tribune, December 15, 1910:

Mlle. Polaire has a souvenir of her visit to America in the person of a small slave. It appears that while in the United States she hired a negro boy as a servant, entering into a contract to see personally that he should return to his home if he wished to. Since she has been in France the boy, who is nothing more than a child, has been giving the actress trouble by getting into mischief. The actress wants to get rid of him, but as she must see personally to his safe return, she is forced to keep him until she goes back to America. That probably will be next year.

[Regarding Polaire's "tiny waist," it was said to measure just 14 inches.]

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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