In and around Pomona, maybe?

Today’s series of photos from the Pomona College Book look to be from in and around Pomona, CA. Maybe. I can’t be sure, honestly. The photos are toward the front of the book where the previous photo of the girls by a statue was identified as being on the campus of the college, so maybe there is some correlation in time.


A large building – classrooms?

A boarding house maybe?

These girls appear to be in front of the steps of the house pictured directly above.

Possibly also in front of those stairs?

A more collegiate looking building.

A fancy archway.


A Day At The Beach

It’s a rite of passage for college girls across the country – a day spent at the beach with girlfriends. In this case, the girls were from Pomona College in Pomona, CA. The particular beach is unknown, but the waters of the Pacific look calm, the sand lovely, and the girls of course, progressive in their scanty bathing suits!

13 girls pose for this candid shot, making me wonder who is taking the picture! There must have been 14 people at this outing. The girls’ bathing costumes vary in style from the “old fashioned” on the far right to the risqué on the left, with everything else in between. I’m going to guess (100% guess) that this photo was taken in the mid-1900s to 1910s. Some girls have a more “flapper” style of hair and suit, while others are holding on to older fashions. Therefore, my guess is that this was a transition time between the Edwardian to the Roaring 20s.

Unknown beach location in Southern California.

Frolicking in the waves. Each photo has been individually scanned and follow.

Very pretty

Lounging in the sun

Come in, the water’s fine!

Do you think she fell over or was knocked over by a wave?

Note that some of the girls have on a bathing cap. At the time they weren’t rubber like you picture on a swimmer, but were made of the same or similar fabric to the bathing costume. This was because the whole costume was to have a certain coquettish look. The early bathing costumes were clothing designed to give some freedom of movement, but also to showcase the individual wearer’s style, status and station. A hat or head covering was essential to complete the look.

I’m no historian of bathing suit design, so there ends my understanding of these styles. :-)

Observatory Day Trip

Originally I thought this picture featured an early Griffith Observatory in the background, but I think after closer inspection that it is not Griffith Observatory. It is possible it is the Brackett Observatory in Pomona, CA, which was part of the Pomona College campus. Built in 1908, it was named after Frank P Brackett, one of the original staff members at Pomona College when it was founded in 1888. He taught at the school from 1888 to 1934, an impressive 46 years of teaching!

I believe the photos below are from the same day trip as the person featured is wearing the same clothing. I have no idea where this railway track may have been. There was a railroad ‘boom to bust’ in the Claremont & Pomona areas prior to the college being built in the 1880s, but this looks more like a street car.

Further Information

Frank Parkhurst Brackett entry in the Publication of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Back to School

I originally called this photo album “Summer Vacation” because it shows people doing all sorts of fun things – visiting the beach, riding a train, etc. Closer inspection showed me the names of some local landmarks that will be exciting to trace – the Claremont Inn, Pomona College & Griffith Observatory in particular. It gave us the photo of the destroyed Pearland High School, and I do wonder if the group of girls pictured above includes Verva or Mazel.

Here’s a similar group in the same location as the photo above, although it includes a few different people. There are buildings in the distance but I can’t really tell what exactly they are. Houses? Businesses? The album itself is in rough shape with pages falling out in some places. The person who put it together didn’t identify anyone or write in it, so it’s really impossible to know who is pictured. It’s about 6×9 landscape, with the typical black paper pages. Many of the photos were cut by the person who pasted them down, and I can’t seem to find a rhyme or reason to some of the organization. These two photos – obviously taken on the same day in the same location, are separated by several pages.

This photo shows the young lady in the lighter colored overcoat again, and next to her in the first two photos you will see a gal with a wide white collar. She’s in this picture too and the group of friends has gotten larger. Still no idea where they are!

This final photo from the same day shows a young woman posed next to a statue/fountain. This lady was in the center of the previous photo, and based on her dress, this picture was taken the same day. I suppose it is possible to find the statue and identify the location that way, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Stay tuned as we go on vacation with the Pomona College photo album of school chums.

Flat Head


Sometimes a number of factors combine to cause us to double take a pretty picture. This photo in particular looks rather mundane upon first glance. The subject is centered nicely, her hair is arranged, her expression is appropriately moderate. One may not look beyond these traits and be completely satisfied with the image.

Not me, though.

I noticed that the particular hair arrangement this lady chose, along with her chin being tilted slightly downward, makes her head look flat on top. Unfortunate. Probably in person she looked lovely and within the norms of her fashion choices. Combine with this that one of her eyes seems to be slightly droopy, or less opened than the other, and she looks less put together to the discerning eye bent upon picking apart the portrait. She looks, in fact, a bit sleepy.

All that withstanding, this is a nice image, and is the first I can recall with a green border. Typical borders in the 1860s were black, some red. According to various sites, the thin line puts this in the 1862 range, and the size of the image puts it in the 1860-1864 range. The dropped shoulders of the dress that can be seen matches this general dating.

The photographer was J. Beard at 8 Old Bond Street, Bath.



Lucy: Miss Lizzie, you have spent so much time on your dress and adornment, the corsage on your bodice is divine! You will look a picture of virtue and chastity for your wedding portrait.

Miss Lizzie: oh, thank you Lucy, your assistance with these balloon sleeves was crucial to getting them stuffed properly so they drape nicely and give me such an attractive figure.

Lucy: Yes, the silk can be tricky, but once you work with it you never want to make a dress of anything else again.

Miss Lizzie: Oh dear, Lucy, what shall I do with my hair?! I’ve got my sitting in half an hour at the photography studio and I just cannot think of a pretty way to dress it. What do you suggest?

Lucy: I suggest back combing the top and allowing small wisps to float attractively around your head, like a halo. You are such an angel, after all!


You tell us, audience, did they accomplish their goal? Or does Miss Lizzie just look frazzled?

4 Similar Photos

Here’s a funny set of photos I received as part of a large lot. They were not together or in any sequence, just randomly found in the pack of 50 CDVs. But as I sorted them through, I realized these four photos have much in common. Can you catch all the similarities? I feel like this is one of those games where you spot the differences haha.

The hat in picture one and four is the same hat. It may be on the same lady, but the dress is different.

The necklace in photos two, three and four is the same. It has a very distinctive chain which made it stand out to me.

But what about the necklace in picture one? It may be the same locket on a different chain.

All four photos were made by Birtles of Northwich and Knutsford. The card backs are identical, suggesting they were made at least within the same year, if not during the same sitting.

What do you think? Are at least two of these faces the same? I think photo 3 is a young lady and one, two and four are her mother.


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