The Jersey Shore – The Swimsuit Edition

Capewell and company are back down at the Jersey Shore although this time it looks like they are more appropriately dressed for the weather and the water.

John B. Capewell of Westville, NJ is in Atlantic City with most of the same gang that was in last week’s photograph and the one from the week before. From left to right is John’s brother who I assume is James George Capewell, Ella who is John’s wife, John B. Capwell and three people on the right I’m not sure about. The woman on the far right may be one of Capewell’s sisters. I’m guessing that the fellow next to her is her husband (he was wearing glasses in the other Jersey Shore images) and the little girl is probably their daughter.

The pier behind our bathers is Young’s Pier that had attractions and a theater. You can see the sign of the current show above our gang’s heads.

A Milk White Flag was a musical farce by Charles Hale Hoyt. Hoyt had written a string of comedies that were very popular in the Gay ’90s. His plays smashed records on Broadway and went on very successful road tours.

An interesting tidbit is that a filmed portion of A Milk White Flag along with a number of other clips featured in the first Vitascope exhibition at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in April of 1896. The Vitascope was a movie projector device played up in the press as Thomas Edison’s latest marvel, but Edison didn’t invent it. Arrangements were made and “by mutual agreement Edison’s Kinetograph company acquired, manufactured, and marketed the Vitascope, and presented it as having been invented by Edison.”

Another curious sign in the background of this week’s glass negative may be of interest to fans of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire

The Infant Incubators were the invention of German-born Dr. Martin A Couney. He was a pediatrician and a leader in the field of neonatology. Premature birth was one of the highest causes of infant mortality at the time. Couney’s own daughter was born prematurely and lived to adulthood thanks to her father, but his incubator and his methods faced skepticism in the medical community. He wasn’t taken seriously and couldn’t secure financing for his invention. He set out to prove he was right and put his incubators in expositions and exhibits . Atlantic City was one of the places with an exhibit. At first hospitals let him have the premature babies figuring they were doomed anyway. Gawkers paid $1 to see the babies being cared for and to hear a lecture. As word of Couney’s success with his incubator spread, hospitals across the country referred patients to Couney who took them free of charge.
By the 1940s, hospitals had accepted Couney’s techniques. Couney declared his treatment a success and closed the exhibits.

The portion of the negative gives us an indication of when the picture was shot. There is a poster that reads Monday July 31st. Using a site called What Day Of The Week we found that the picture is from 1905. It could have been 1911 which also has a Monday, July 31st, but both of John and Ella’s sons were born by then and would have been on the beach with the rest of the gang. John and Ella look fairly young – either newly married or courting. This is 1905.

In March of 1912, a fire started in Young’s Pier Theatre taking the pier and the lives of three firemen with it.

As with all of the photographs in the Capewell Collection, I placed the 5″ x 7″ glass negative on a lightbox and shot them with a digital camera locked down on a tripod. The “processing” was done digitally on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop.

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5 Responses to The Jersey Shore – The Swimsuit Edition

  1. Dan Love says:

    Best one yet, nice research Willceau.

  2. Joe_Williams says:

    Thanks! It’s nice when there’s an element in the shot or something in the background you can sink your teeth into. Otherwise it’s anybody’s guess!

  3. Tina says:

    Did you notice that the men are all wearing the same suit?

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