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The Chalfonte: 1913

The Chalfonte: 1913

Atlantic City, New Jersey, circa 1913. "Chalfonte Hotel." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Pregnant woman at the beach.

There appears to be a young woman "in a family way" standing at the edge of the surf with her hands behind her back. I do not recall seeing another expecting mother in a beach crowd from Shorpy's turn of the century archives.

[That's a man, and probably not preggers. - Dave]


My mom took my sisters and myself to the Chalfonte in August 1971. It was still very elegant but one got the sense that time had already passed the place by. My strongest memory is one of the old matrons that spent her summer at the Chalfonte expressing her displeasure that my mom was taking us kids out to the amusements after 8 pm!

Aunt Kate

My great-aunt Kate Devon worked at the Chalfonte in the very early 1900s as a maid. Later as a manager of the linen closet operation. She also did calligraphy for fancy weddings and dinners that were held there. She apparently made good wages or otherwise got tips or other favors, as she vacationed in Florida during the winter.

Today's beachwear

A couple of days ago, I saw several topless women sunbathing on Miami Beach. Topless women is a common sight on the beach there. I am curious what the people in this 1913 beach scene would think about what I saw on Miami Beach and I did not give it a second thought.


The clothing in these old beach pics reminds us that a deep tan was not always cool. At the turn of the century only common laborers had a tan, and true ladies and gentlemen avoided said tan at all cost. Of course I'm not telling you Shorpters anything you don't already know. That's why you're Shorpsters.


Huh -- my family is from Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

I had a friend years ago who said it sounded like one of those diseases people don't catch anymore.

Corsets, etc.

If they could come back and judge us in speedos and thongs, what do you think they would say?

I suspect they would envy us our lack of scratchy and heavy bathing wear, as well appreciate the invention of sunblock, flip flops and beach towels.

Duntley Pneumatic

There are the ubiquitous Salt Water Taffy, and the familiar Welch's Grape Juice, but I had to look up the Duntley Pneumatic Cleaner.

This thing makes the old Kirby Classic we had look like a featherweight!

Must be a disposable.

I've lived near the Atlantic my whole life and I'm not sure I've ever seen anybody canoeing it.

Corsets optional

All over the world "clothing optional" beaches are gaining in popularity and people are willing to put it all out there in little or nothing. I marvel at the huge quantity of clothing most of these people wore to the beach including hats, coats, jackets, umbrellas, boots, belts, corsets, etc. and here we are one hundred years later wondering "what were they thinking?" If they could come back and judge us in speedos and thongs, what do you think they would say?

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