Venus Rises from the Sea, Wearing Eight Yards of Wet Flannel

Venus Rises from the Sea, Wearing Eight Yards of Wet Flannel

It’s summer in Philadelphia!

You might try to make the best of it at home.

But why not enjoy sea-bathing at the New Jersey shore, only two hours from Philadelphia?

What was a seaside, by the way? I could not find any images, but it was clearly something like a parasol. And what did these early bathing costumes look like?

The owner of the striking Grecian ensemble might have preferred to be seen rather than submerged. But how many of those little hats and sandals―and waterlogged women―were swept out to sea?

3 thoughts on “Venus Rises from the Sea, Wearing Eight Yards of Wet Flannel

  1. I would like one of those head to toe bathing suits! “Seaside” just means by the sea, or am I missing something? I could not imagine living two hours from the ocean! But I do take the train to get there… too much traffic to drive.


  2. In 1869 H. Dixon and Mrs. M. A. Binder advertised seasides along with parasols. It would be good for business to require a special parasol for the shore. Or maybe they were enormous hats! Despite the distance, Philadelphians have loved going to “the shore” for centuries, even if it was not our shore. I have seen am eighteenth-century poetic lament on a rainy day in Cape May. The Victorian Cape May that is admired today did not exist then. I wonder when beach culture began in Southern California, and what forms it took in the days before the bathing machines and bunting bathing beauties.


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