Monday, June 25, 2012

Same? Or Different?

Two photographs from the early 1900s, both in a postcard format, remind me of those children’s puzzles—the kind where you have to spot the difference between two very similar drawings.

With the series of summer holiday photographs here, all from the papers of Agnes Tully Stevens, we’ve already seen what looks like endless iterations of the same swimsuit style: for the women, dark-colored contrivances etched in variations of white borders, topped with a kerchief meant to preserve one’s hair style for post-water-romping events. I’ve tried to match swimsuit designs across a variety of photographic presentations, hoping to identify individuals across groupings. I may be too desperate in my hope to succeed.

Yesterday, I posted a snapshot of a girl whose fun smile seems similar to the faces of two girls tussling, ankle-deep in the water, in this photograph today. Perhaps this pose demonstrates the 1911 version of the age-old swimming argument: jump in all at once, or wade in gingerly? But what it makes me wonder is: could one of today’s young ladies be the same as the one in yesterday’s snapshot?

The picture here is not of the usual dimensions of a postcard format, but is printed on one nonetheless. On the reverse, the cardstock bears the legend:

A second photograph is from the same studio. While the setting of the first picture shows the pier in the distance, the second photograph brings us directly under that same pier. Is someone shy? Or reticent about being found in such a ridiculous getup? Perhaps it is just a matter of wishing to stay cool out of the heat of the sun.

However, taking a closer look at this second subject, whose suit markings seem different than those of the first two people, I see another similarity. Perhaps I’m trying too hard to discover some identities of these mystery faces.

Tomorrow, I want to explore some of the possibilities for the identity of this woman.


  1. These two people don't look at all like any of the preceeding folks to me.

  2. With one exception. The lady under the pier looks like the one on the far left in

    Note the square trim in the blouse?

    1. Good eye on the outfits, Iggy. Of course, I can't tell from the expression on the woman's face in that earlier group shot--what an expression! But the outfit has the same markings on both the neckline and the sleeves.


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