Thursday, January 06, 2011

Swimming Through The Library Of Congress

Library of Congress Collection
For the weekly calls on the Sepia Saturday Blog I am undertaking a tour of the various on-line archives of vintage photographs. They can be a wonderfully rich source of images for bloggers as many of the archives - particularly those taking part in the Flickr Commons initiative - provide images with no known copyright restrictions. Either as illustrations for esoteric ramblings - "The influence of men's head-ware on long-distance swimming in the 1920s" - or merely as things of beauty in themselves, many of these old images can brighten up even the most Thursday-weary post. The image above comes from the splendid Library of Congress Collection entitled "News in the 1910s" and shows the swimmer Eva Morrison. One interesting question is the date of the photograph. The LoC suggest that it was taken between 1910 and 1920, but Morrison wasn't born until 1911 and did most of her swimming in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I show the picture here for no other reason than I came across it as I was trawling through the collection to choose an image to illustrate the Sepia Saturday call. With over 1,500 images available in the on-line collection, it may be some time before I emerge from the other side. But, as I have said before, this is one of the great joys of blogging : after three days you can abandon your cherished New Years' Resolution of organised categorisation and go swimming through the Library of Congress.


Whilst enjoying a brief trip to the surface to breath, allow me to remind you that Sepia Saturday is back in business after its Christmas and New Year Break. If you want to participate, simply post an old image, say something about it, and link to the list on the Sepia Saturday Blog.

15 comments:

  1. I am of the opinion that a lady dressed like this in public would not have been allowed before WWII.

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  2. I must checkout this collection for myself, Alan. Now, where did I put those water-wings?

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  3. The girl seems out of her element. Two or three young boys glad to be there and some old guys looking to catch the eye perhaps?

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  4. Oh lord! I already get lost in Wiki Commons; now you've given me another place to get lost in.

    Was Eva Morrison famous for anything like swimming the Channel? With the crowd around her I'm thinking there must have been something newsworthy going on.

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  5. Never mind, I found her on Wikipedia. She was from Boston, MA, and she made three attempts to swim the Channel. Apparently the photo was taken at her second attempt in 1935; this exact photo was used in the Wikipedia article and labeled as taken in that year.

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  6. I have heard of her! She was a famous long distance swimmer. Have to say that all the men..young and old seem to be happy to be standing around her! haha.

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  7. Beautiful photo. I have one of my paternal grandmother in a similar cotton swimsuit, from the same time period.

    The Library of Congress has a marvelous collection of photos. I've posted several on my blog.

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  8. what a rabbit hole you have found with the library of congress collection!! the library of congress is one of my favorite institutions - such wealth they bring to us both in cyberspace and in their physical locations ....should you make it to washington dc when you hit this side of the pond later this year i hope you can visit the l.o.c.

    i had meant to put up a ss post over the holidays, but the holidays presented its own timewarp rabbit hole for me. ah, intentions, intentions my life is littered with them!

    oh, i've popped over a couple times since the remodeling job, just haven't left any droppings. but let me say now you've done a fine job sorting and organizing things here - you are a blog inspiration!!

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  9. A great picture! Love the expression on the kid to the far right!

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  10. Alan, you make me laugh. And seeing this photo in my reader sent shivers through me. It's snowing here and she just looked too cold!

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  11. Great photo. Why do I get the impression that I woouldn't want to teach the kid on the left?

    I was in Greenwich market last week, where there was a stall of old postcards. Fascinating to see the photos of places I know, but at £5 per card... Is there a UK online archive of old photos?

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  12. I agree with Roy; time doesn't warrant enough to go thru all that we would want to online! Have a great weekend, Alan!
    :) Lord Thomas of Wellington

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  13. Keep your Brit hands off the LoC! We still haven't forgiven you for trying to burn down Washington!

    Oh, wait... yes, we have.

    I rescind my above statement.

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  14. Now how many women actually had their own monogrammed swimsuit? great find! :)

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