The skinny on the bathing beauties September 15 2009

1253044043493Washington, D.C., 1919. "Beauty contests at Tidal Basin."Shorpy comment of the day: "I did some searching in old newspaper archives and while I can't find mention of the couple in the photograph, I did find something out about the contest. The following is from the Washington Post, 27 July 1919:"

GALAXY OF BEAUTY PARADES AT BEACH

Comely Damsels in Scant Attire Win Prizes for Their Appearance.

While more than 5,000 persons clambered to each other's shoulders and to roofs of nearby buildings to view the Annette Kellermanns at the first annual beach parade at the Tidal Basin yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Audrey O'Connor, 620 Maryland avenue southwest, was proclaimed by the judges as Washington's most beautiful girl in a bathing suit ...Following the parade of the score or more of beauties between cheering crowds of bathing beach fans, the former faced half a dozen movie machines and a batery [sic] of press cameras. Later one of the winners obligingly did a modified "shimmy dance" for the movie men.

"I think we can assume the individual in the photograph is not one of the winners."

- Comment by Catherine Arnott Smith on Bathing Beauties: 1919