Florida Showgirls, 1947

I've had these photos lined up to post for awhile now but alas I'm just now doing so! And now I can't even recall how I found them. Perhaps it was looking up historical buildings in Florida after my last visit to the Sunshine State? Or simply Googling old photos South Florida to check out spots my husband's grandparents used to frequent? Given my love of random Google searches both are possible!

In any case, I absolutely love the clothing in these photos taken by Allan Grant of Florida showgirls in 1947. There were so many photographs in this lot but I've chose to focus here on the gals hanging out in Florida in their downtime. Enjoy!

 Two showgirls fishing off a bridge in Florida, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 The OG selfie! This Florida showgirl is apparently taking a photo of herself. 1947 via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls at the beach, 1947. Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirl at the beach, 1940s. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirl at the beach, 1940. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirl at the beach, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirl doing a backbend at the beach, 1940s. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls at the beach, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls at the beach, 1940s. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls at the beach, 1940s. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirl reading her mail. Florida, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 Showgirl on the communal phone, 1947. Photo via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls in their shared bedroom, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls in front of their house, 1947. Photo via Time Life Archives.
 Florida, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 Two showgirls window shopping, 140s. Photo via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirls in their downtime, 1947. Via Time Life Archives.
 Florida showgirl and her pet bird, 1947. Photo via Time Life Archives.

The Miss Correct Posture Contest

And today's weirdo Time Life photo archive find is...The Miss Correct Posture Contest! Yep, that's right, a beauty contest based on finding the possessor of perfect posture. In May 1956, a week-long chiropractic convention was held in Chicago, and in an effort to jazz up the convention, coordinators thought it would be a good idea to add a beauty contest to the events.

Lois Conway was crowned Miss Correct Posture, Marianne Caba took second and Ruth Swenson came in third. According to the Chicago Tribune, the contest winners “were picked not only by their apparent beauty, and their X-rays, but also by their standing posture. Each girl stood on a pair of scales – one foot to each – and the winning trio each registered exactly half their weight on each scale, confirming the correct standing posture.”

Believe it or not but this wasn't a one-time event, these contests were held up until 1969!

 Winners of the Miss Correct Posture contest. Chicago, May 1956
 The Miss Correct Posture contest. Chicago, May 1956
 The Miss Correct Posture contest. Chicago, May 1956
 Contestants in the 1956 Miss Correct Posture contest in Chicago.
 A contestant in the 1956 Miss Correct Posture contest.
 The Miss Correct Posture contest. Chicago, 1956.
 The Miss Correct Posture contest. Chicago, 1956.
 Winner of the Miss Correct Posture contest with her x-ray.
 The Miss Correct Posture contest. Chicago, 1956.

Photos by Wallace Kirkland for LIFE Magazine.

Three Female Authors and Their Hushed Love of Science

1. Emily Dickinson & Her Herbarium

Gathering, growing, classifying and pressing flowers was a passion of Emily Dickinson's long before she got her start at a poet. She began her studies in botany at age nine, but it wasn’t until her late teens that she began viewing her love of botany with a more scientific eye.

 Emily Dickinson, daguerreotype, ca. 1847. (Amherst College Archives & Special Collections, gift of Millicent Todd Bingham, 1956)

Emily's herbarium is kept in the Emily Dickinson Room at Harvard’s Houghton Rare Book Library, however time has taken it's tole and the fragility of the collection prohibits scholars from examining it. If you've got a little over a grand laying around, you can purchase the a facsimile edition on Amazon but if you're a regular gal like me, that's probably not the case. Thankfully, this modern world we live in has enabled the digitizing of Emily’s herbarium

 A page from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium via the  Houghton Library , Harvard University.
 Pressed flowers on a page from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium via the  Houghton Library , Harvard University.
 A page from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium via the  Houghton Library , Harvard University.
 A page from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium via the  Houghton Library , Harvard University.
 A page from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium via the  Houghton Library , Harvard University.
 A page from Emily Dickinson’s herbarium via the  Houghton Library , Harvard University.
 

2. Beatrix Potter & Her Fungi Watercolors

Like Emily Dickinson, Beatrix Potter's interest in mushrooms predates her ventures into writing. Her passion first came to light in 1887, at age 20, when she began studying and meticulously documenting fungi using watercolor. Her love continued over the years and by the time she died in 1943, she had produced around 350 known images of fungi, mushrooms and spores. 

 Beatrix Potter as a teenager

In a 2007 biography around Beatrix, historian Linda Lear wrote, “Beatrix’s interest in drawing and painting mushrooms, or fungi, began as a passion for painting beautiful specimens wherever she found them...She was drawn to fungi first by their ephemeral fairy qualities and then by the variety of their shape and colour and the challenge they posed to watercolour techniques.” 

Is it just me or does Lear's description above make the connection between Beatrix's drawings and writing seem crystal clear?

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3. Margaret Gatty & Her Seaweed Collection

English children's author Margaret Gatty had a fascination with marine life and over her lifespan, amassed a large collection of marine-related specimens. She acquainted herself with some of the most prominent names in marine studies and educated herself in the science of the seas.

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While Margaret did teach herself to draw these specimens she became so enamored with, the illustrations shown here were actually drawn by someone else who was hired to illustrate her book British Sea-Weeds. Apparently she was never really happy with these but wen ahead and used them for the publication anyway.

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