The 1920s International Pageant of Pulchritude & Annual Bathing Girl Review

1920s bathing suits and swimsuits

Now there’s a title which just rolls off the tongue! Apparently ‘Pulchritude‘ is a really ungainly way of saying ‘beauty’ which (unsurprisingly) has fallen out of fashion. These photos were all taken at the International Pageant of Pulchritude & Annual Bathing Girl Review between 1926 and 1928.

I adore these long old-fashioned photos. They remind me of the old school photographs my mum and dad have tucked away in the loft somewhere (invariably with the relevant child having a cross above their head written in blue biro in case we all forget who we’re supposed to be looking at).

The variety of these bathing costumes is fabulous, some are very demure, some are very flapper-esque and some are like fancy dress costumes. All are very much of their time but the diversity is fantastic! I’ve zoomed in as much as I can so you can see the different swimsuits. Which do you like best?

The ladies pictured above (and larger below) all took part in the ‘Third International Pageant of Pulchritude and Ninth Annual Bathing Girl Review‘ which took place in June 1928. I particuarly love the lady in the striped shorts – they’re fabulous!

1920s swimsuits1920s swimsuits1920s swimsuits1920s swimsuits1920s swimsuits

1920s swimsuits

1920s bathing suits and swimsuits

Above and below are the contenstants from the 1927 pageant. Miss Point Isabel (I think that’s what her sash says) is particuarly working it in this photo, so I hope she won the crown!

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Above (and below) the ladies of the First International Pageant of Pulchritude & Seventh Annual Bathing Girl Review at Galveston, Texas which was held in 1926. I love the lady standing with her hand on her hip (just to the right of the flag) looking thoroughly exasperated at the cameraman. We’ve all pulled that face when a photo takes too long!

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Image source and copyright: 1, 2, 3 This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.

  • Lori Stokes Wright

    Thanks for getting the close ups to look so good, it made for a fun look through!

  • http://www.flashbacksummer.com Emileigh

    These are so fun! I love that there are ladies of all shapes and sizes represented!

  • Sarah Akers

    Good to see that Lady Edith (Downton Abbey) represented her country as Miss England in 1928! (3rd large picture from the top)