Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh Grandma - What big bathing boots you have!


The bathing suits in which you dress
Are nothing much and mostly less,

And as you saunter to and fro

A lot of family traits they show.


~ J.P. McEvoy 1919 ~



TheEnd


I marvel every time I look at this photograph, how anyone thought they could swim in this outfit. A hat, a dress, stockings, and laced boots - all to go swimming? This is a photograph of my Grandmother when she was about eleven years old. Where she was going to go swimming is unknown; or even for that matter if she ever got wet. Note the man in the background wearing a wool swimsuit. I wonder if the weight of a wet wool swimsuit contributed to people drowning.

My Mother's family spent a great deal of time near the water. Note I have said near, as I have no photographs of them actually in the water. Before they were married, my grandparents would motor down to Edgemere from Flushing with my Great Grandparents on holiday. They stayed in one of the many cottages found there in the early 1900s.


Cottage At Edgemere
1915


Edgemere was a neighborhood in southwestern Queens on the Rockaway Peninsula. It is found between Beach 32nd and Beach 16th streets. It was home to the famous Edgemere Hotel built by Frederick Lancaster in 1895 and operated by him until 1919. He also owned many of the cottages.


Great Grandmother Salter
Edgemere 1915
Woman's Work Knows No Holiday



My Grandfather Greene
& The Hottest Car on Long Island
Edgemere 1915

This photo is the reason I believe my family motored out to Edgemere. My Grandfather loved to drive and was fond of what he called hot cars. Once on a visit to New York he took my sister and me for a ride in his Karman Gia which he called the "Hottest Car On Long Island." He drove so fast it scared my Mother and she had a conversation with he about speeding with her children in the car. He laughed, teased my Mother and she gave up on the lecture. We did not, however, go for a ride with Grandpa again. So it is an assumption on my part that he always had a hot car and that the family drove to Edgemere. Rail service at the time made it a very easy trip from Flushing, so perhaps they took the train and hired a car when they arrived.


Grandpa Greene & His Camera
Edgemere 1915


My Grandfather never went anywhere without a camera, and as you can see here, he had graduated to moving pictures. He documented everything. How I wish I knew where some of those old moving pictures were hidden.

Once they were married and my Uncle Edward was born the family would take the baby with them on their trips to the beach. Below is a photograph of the family having a picnic on the beach, fully clothed, hats, and ties with nothing that resembles a bathing suit.

Then of course, the baby had to be wheeled down the boardwalk - notice no bathing suits in sight. I'm beginning to get an idea of why the old photographers had the painted backdrops of the beach. No one actually put on a bathing suit and got wet during this period of time.


More Beach - No Suits
Bathing Suits That Is

I had started to think that perhaps it was just the part of the country. New York wasn't then and isn't now sunny California. Then I found the photograph below. Venice City, California, 1915, on the beach with Grandpa Greene. Dapper as always, but no bathing suit.


Venice Beach, California
1915

So it can only be the times or the family. My money is on the family. You don't see any photos of me in a swimsuit do you? We're a lot smarter than we look!

Sources:

Photographs:


Lillian Salter. Photograph. ca. 1908. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Cottage At Edgemere. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Julia Salter Sweeping. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Edward Greene In Car. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Edward Greene With Camera. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Picnic. Photograph. Unknown. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Boardwalk
. Photograph. Unknown. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007.

Venice Beach
. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington. 2007

7 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

Great photographs! I especially loved the photo of your grandfather with his camera. That is a true treasure, particularly since you have such a strong interest in collecting old photographs.

Great stories woven throughout your beach photos... Thanks for sharing them all.

Lisa
Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
100 Years in America

June 1, 2008 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

fM,

Wow - they knew all about how to prevent sunburn back then...nothing's left uncovered for the sun to burn! Great photos.

Donna
What's Past is Prologue

June 2, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger Terry Thornton said...

RE: Your statement "You don't see any photos of me in a swimsuit do you? We're a lot smarter than we look!"

Smart, yes. But I say: CHICKEN! LOL!

I thoroughly enjoyed this look at your family and of their adventures on the beach. Your excellent article makes up in part for any disappointment in the lack of a swimsuit photo of the Maven.

TERRY

June 3, 2008 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Jewelgirl said...

Your photographs really took me
back in time and I enjoyed them
a great deal.

June 3, 2008 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger wendy said...

I often wondered about those wool swimsuits - wouldn't they shrink when they got wet? And how hot they would have gotten! Thanks for sharing!

June 4, 2008 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger Janice said...

fM,

As usual your photographs are delightful. And I will say a few ladies from that time period actually did go into the water, as attested by a few I have showing soaking wet clinging beach outfits.

Janice

June 4, 2008 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

fM: Those are fantastic photos! And fun stories to boot.

June 4, 2008 at 8:31 PM  

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