Thursday, June 2, 2011

Many Things Thursday - Don't Go In The Water

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things."

Thursday, on Shades Of The Departed, will be dedicated to
many things,
and nothing in particular.

Many Things Thursday

Bathing Suits and Trunks

Photographers went where the people went, and when the people went to the beach, so did many photographers.

They would set up seaside studios equipped with backdrops imitating the shore. Seavey, one of the most famous background painters of his time, sold a Sea Shore Ground backdrop for $13.00 in 1887.

The description of bathing apparel accompanied by the photographs below all offer sufficient reasons "not to go into the water."

Bathing "trunks" are usually made of knitted cotton or worsted, and shaped to cover the loins and trunk of the body.

Man Oh Man!
A Studio Tintype.
Year and photographer unknown

Bathing "suits" are of various shapes and made of many materials. Surah silk of thick quality is used extensively. It is claimed that it does not retain as much water as flannel, and that it does not cling so closely to the figure. The medium quality bathing suits are manufactured of flannel and of a coarse wiry cheviot.

Marie Jansen
The Lady GaGa of Her Time?

The more modest suits are made with the waist and drawers in one, cut in continuous pieces or attached to the same belt; a seperate skirt reaching to the knees is then buttoned on to this belt. The drawers fall below the knees and are quite wide with rubber in the hem to draw them into shape.

A beautiful background
painted and continuing
under foot.

Jersey suits are also manufactured and these do not shrink. The waist and skirt are all in one piece in this variety, and the skirt is made full. The drawers are close fitting like equestrian tights and have stockings woven with them—but how and where they are fastened no man has ever found out.

Just add sea shells
and mix.


Cole, George S. A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods and History of Silk, Cotton. W. B. Conkey Company, 1892.

American Journal of Photography. Advertisement. 1887.


Women all courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Blogger Kimberly Nagy said...

love the bathing suits! can you imagine trying to swim in one of those :-) all I can think of is soggy wool that weighs a ton!

June 2, 2011 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

I've actually seen a photograph of what the men are wearing - wet. Either people drowned or the suit went out with the tide.


June 2, 2011 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Brett Payne said...

I don't think Marie Jansen went anywhere near the water in THAT costume!

June 3, 2011 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

You know Brett, I don't think so either. Nor do I think those young girls got the beach shoes wet.


June 3, 2011 at 8:08 AM  
Anonymous HD Vision Avaitors said...

The photos are classic,,.. I love it, especially the photo of Lady Gaga at her time for me it was so funny and cute.. :)

June 3, 2011 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Jasia said...

All great pics, fM, but my favorite is the last one. The young girls look so carefree and pretty. That's what a day at the beach should be! Thanks for sharing in the COG.

June 4, 2011 at 5:10 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

No wonder my grandparents didn't go swimming!

June 4, 2011 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

What a fun romp through swimsuit fashions of a hundred or so years ago. We never see people of that era in wet swimsuits, do we?!

June 5, 2011 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thanks everyone! This is one of my very favorite COGs. My, how what we view as risque has changed.

June 5, 2011 at 11:17 AM  

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