A Collection of Photos Featuring Mack Sennett´s “Bathing Beauties”

According to laphamsquarterly.org Mack Sennett gave Chaplin, Arbuckle, and Mabel Normand their first breaks, and was one of the founding patrons of comedy. But Sennett was also responsible for the concept of the “Bathing Beauty”—and, by extension, filmic eye-candy as we know it today.

The “bathing beauties,” themselves, were a  a group of young starlets who appeared bare-legged in Sennett’s comedies. They were particularly popular and became pin-up girls for the soldiers of the First World War. They included Gloria Swanson, Marie Prevost, Phyllis Haver, Juanita Hansen, Claire Anderson, and Mary Thurman.

The sex appeal of these young actresses raised the ire of some temperance activists, and Sennett received hundreds of letters protesting his exploitation of these women’s bodies. Despite such protests, the bathing beauties remained quite popular.

The Sennett Bathing Beauties would continue to appear through 1928.

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Marvel Rea, 1919 via

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Bathing Beauties (Credit: Collection of Dave and Ali Stevenson) via

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1915 via

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 Carole Lombard and Mack Sennett; far right, with a white hat and dark suit. It was taken during a seaside shoot in 1928, while Lombard was part of Sennett’s troupe via

Vintage Photos of Ziegfeld Follies Girls

The Ziegfeld Follies were a series of elaborate theatrical productions on Broadway in New York City from 1907 through 1931. It was founded by Florenz Ziegfeld and his wife Anna Held in 1907  – the inspiration was the Parisian Folies Bergère.

The Ziegfeld Follies were also famous for many beautiful chorus girls commonly known as Ziegfeld girls, usually wearing elaborate costumes by designers such as Erté, Lady Duff Gordon or Ben Ali Haggin.

Ziegfeld girl, Marion Benda c. 1920’s via

Lilyan Tashman performing in Ziegfeld follies via

Ziegfeld Follies by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Ziegfeld Girl Mary Eaton by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Mary Pickford by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

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Ziegfeld Follies via

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Ziegfeld Follies via

Ziegfield Follies, photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Ziegfield Follies, photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston via

Early Film Dancer Annabelle Moore (1878-1961)

Annabelle Moore (1878 – 1961) was an American dancer and actress who was quite popular in her youth. She appeared in at least nine films beween 1894 and 1897. The films were dance films and included “A Mermaid Dance”, “Butterfly Dance” and “Serpentine Dance”.

The sale of her films was further boosted in December 1896 when it was revealed that she had been approached to appear naked at a private dinner party at Sherry’s Restaurant – It is even said she introduced eroticism in film.

In 1907 Annabelle starred as the Gibson Bathing Girl in the first of  the Ziegfeld Follies.

In 1910 she married Edward James Buchan. He died in 1958 and Annabelle died penniless in Chicago in 1961. In her obituary in the New York Times it was said Annabelle:

“was the symbol of beauty in her day. She was billed as ‘the original Gibson Girl’ because of her striking resemblance to the Charles Dana Gibson portrait.”

Annabelle had a similar appearance to the Gibson Girl.  But as far as Gibson modeling his idealization of the perfect woman on Annabelle, there is little evidence that he did (source).

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Annabelle Moore, 1900s via

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Annabelle Moore, 1908 via

Annabelle Butterfly Dance (1894)

A Collection of Photos Featuring “it” Girl Evelyn Nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit (1884 – 1967) was known to millions before her 16th birthday in 1900. She was the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty.

In the early part of the 20th century, her figure and face was everywhere, appearing in mass circulation newspaper and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items and calendars, making her a cultural celebrity. She was a popular cover face on Vanity FairHarper’s BazaarThe DelineatorWomen’s Home CompanionLadies’ Home Journal and Cosmopolitan.

Her career began in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York, where she posed for a cadre of respected artists of the era, James Carroll Beckwith, Frederick S. Church, and notably Charles Dana Gibson, who idealized her as a “Gibson Girl.” She had the distinction of being an early “live model,” in an era when fashion photography as an advertising medium was just beginning its ascendancy.

As a stage performer, and while still a teenager, she attracted the attention of the then 47-year-old architect and New York socialite Stanford White, who became her lover and dedicated benefactor. Nesbit achieved world-wide notoriety when her jealous husband, multi-millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, shot and murdered Stanford White on the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden on the evening of June 25, 1906, leading to what the press would call “The Trial of the Century.” and Evelyn became known as “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.”

In 1955  she was portrayed by Joan Collins in the film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing. Marilyn Monroe had been 20th Century-Fox’s original choice for the role.

 

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Evelyn Nesbit by Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. via

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Evelyn Nesbit via

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Evelyn Nesbit via