As usual, I am fascinated with the bathing suits worn in different time periods and this one is no exception. My curiosity was peaked as to why only one name was included in the description, so I googled her name and found the following information on Wiki:
Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston (15 January 1864–16 May 1952) was one of the earliest American female photographers and photojournalists.
Oh, this is interesting I thought and read on. It seems Fannie came from wealthy, well-connected parents, was raised in Washington, D.C. and became an independent, strong-willed young woman. I knew I like Fannie right away. You can read her biography here, but I can tell you that she opened her own studio in 1895 and took portraits of Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, Admiral Dewey, the Roosevelt children and was the official White House photographer during the Harrison, Cleveland , McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt and Taft administrations. In fact, she took the last portrait of McKinley just before he was assassinated.
Usually when you view these old photos you don't know who the people are, so it is nice to see the young Fannie enjoying a day at the shore with friends and family. I love the outfit the lady on the pier is wearing; the striped dress with matching parasol. She looks so elegant, but I couldn't imagine wearing so much heavy clothing at the beach!
Next up are images from the New York Public Library Collection
The writing in the bottom left of this image reads: A Nice Family Party. I completely relate to this, I mean is there anything better than spending the day at the beach with your family?
Next up, lets take a closer look at those bathing suits. This photo taken ca. 1880 shows what was typically worn when taking a cool, refreshing dip in the sea. Can you imagine how heavy those dresses felt soaking wet?
And lets not forget the children! I think these are just adorable.
Left: Bathing costume for girl of twelve. 1883.
Right: Children's Seaside Costumes July 1888
Illustrations numbered (No. 7-9). Text in part: "No. 6 is seaside-dress in Turkey-red twill or serge for a girl of five years.No. 8 is a seaside-costume for a boy of five or six years." No. 9 is a bathing suit for child 4-6. From The Peterson magazine July 1888 (Philadelphia : Charles J. Peterson, 1842-1898.) .
Leaving America and taking a trip to France to see what they were wearing to the beach in 1880 I found this illustration, also from the NYPL Collection.
Facsimile of a sketch from the original painting by Augustus George Heaton.
Now is it just me, or do the French seem to be doing a little more "cavorting" in the water than the Americans? I know this is just an illustration, as opposed to the 1880 photo in Washington, D.C., but most artists paint what they see or what they know don't they? Ooh, la la, those rebellious, frisky French beachgoers! (I like them.)
So, that's it for this week. Be sure to come back next week when I'm going to post more on the bathing machines you see in my sidebar. Bathing machines? Wha…? See you then!