Victorian Americans adored novelty parties, with new fashions cropping up regularly. In the 1890s, amateur photography soared in popularity. With more and more professional and amateur photographers around, more people had cabinet card photos of themselves… which led to the fun of parlor guessing games. But Victorian photograph parties were so much more!
You’re likely familiar with Victorian-era “bathing costumes”–puffy dresses with pantaloons that still leave much to the imagination, thereby protecting theÂ Victorian sense of propriety and decency. Inside this article, I share images of men’s bathing suits, attitudes (about bathing suits) expressed in United States newspapers of the day, and informative glimpses into a man’s view of a woman’s reasons for bathing in the sea before an audience…or not. A romantic tragedy on Coney Island in 1875 illustrates the dangers of the Victorian’s passion with immersing themselves in the sea.