Christmas on the Rocks – circa 1914

Maude and Will spent “part of our Xmas” with friends outdoors; the group seems to be bathing or swimming.

The occasion was memorialized with a photograph.

This postcard photograph was sent to “G. + D.”

On the reverse, Maude and Will express a “wish you could have been with us”.

The identities of the celebrants, and their location, are not disclosed.

A group of men and women, and one boy, are posed on rocks protruding from a beach.

It is difficult to tell if the site is a large lake or the bay of a larger body of water.

The woman are wearing bathing dresses with bathing caps; the bathing headgear of one woman resembles a bonnet.

The men are wearing bathing suits that resemble long underwear – with chest and thighs covered.

The protection of modesty required a great loss of comfort and ability to swim.

Except for the smiling child, no one looks especially happy – although photograph conventions or possible glare might explain the pained looks.

(There is a faint smile on the faces of the man jauntily leaning on the rocks at the left, and the woman seated at the extreme right.)

I believe the postcard was printed in the United States; the geography of the Union would have included a few places where beach-side celebrations of Christmas were feasible.

The postcard represents both the impulse to share photographs as Christmas greetings and the non-traditional celebration of the winter holiday.


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