Maiden Voyages: August 2023

Your Nickname: Understandably, many readers of this site prefer to write comments and articles under an alias. Many of you have requested that a nickname appear when making comments. Members can do this themselves by logging in then selecting ‘users’. Your profile should appear. Under ‘nickname’, you can enter a new name and then just below it, select that new nickname under ‘name appears as’. From then on, your alias will appear when you make comments.

150 Years of Photographing Children: A reader came forward with an interesting link to a project dedicated to the photography of children from 1865 to 2023. Some of the names will be familiar but many will undoubtedly not be. Images are categorized by date, by artist name or by theme.

Nude in the News: One of our Russian readers gave me a lead years ago about a newspaper that actually requested pictures of naked children from its readers to publish. I planned to do a post on this because a website actually posted the relevant images. Now there is a new site with a little more detail about the context of this promotion. Because these images were scanned from a newspaper, they are of low fidelity, but still one can get a clear idea of the range of ages, poses and props in the photographs submitted. In addition to extensive details about this story, this website has pages covering numerous portrayals of nudity with a number of items clearly gleaned from Pigtails. I am told that many other leads came from this site which focuses on female underage nudity and makes a special point of only sharing examples which are not lascivious.

Brooke Shields’ Attitudes: After reading the post on Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby starring Brooke Shields, a reader did some additional research which I thought would be of interest to others. I have appended this material to the end of that post. We also received a nice testimonial from that reader which I reproduce here:

In the first instance, I am writing to compliment you on your splendid website, which I have followed for some time now. I enjoy seeing the beautiful artwork and reading the thoughtful and well researched articles. You tackle topics that are often neglected and avoided by others. Your dedication and resilience in keeping the site going in the face of attacks from a number of quarters is also really commendable. I’m sure it can’t have been easy, and you must have had dark days of doubt. I hope you will be able to continue.

Follow Up on Goebbels Children: I did a post based on a Graham Ovenden poem regarding the group suicide of the children of Joseph and Magda Goebbels during the defeat of Nazi Germany during WWII. A reader did a little digging and offered more details which were appended to the end of that post.

Digging into Divine Forms: A woman who runs a web page was drawn to our site in the course of researching Azuma Itsuko. One of the discoveries was that the books of this artist were published by Sanrio Co., Ltd. who also publish the famous Hello Kitty materials. The Sanrio fan page can be found here.

On the Store Shelf: I have often wondered about the models—babies, toddlers and very young children—on the packages of diapers, training pants and the like. Are these real people? Or a photo-realistic rendering of an artist? I ask these questions because I imagine that being known as a diaper model might attract ridicule later in life and one would not want images of oneself on the packages in the local store. Well, it appears that these are images are of real people and I came across a story of a little girl being filmed while discovering her image on packages in a local store. Perhaps these name brands are responsible enough to move on to other models after a little while, but now there’s another problem: now that this video is on the internet, will this girl ever be able to genuinely put her past behind her? Or will she continue to harbor a kind of strange pride about this stage in her “career”?

Random Images: Zippo Lighter Ad

It’s fascinating to learn what used to be considered wholesome and what is considered wholesome or admirable today. This ad was collected and posted on Instagram which includes many other ads in this style featuring young girls. It would be nice if someone could find out the date of this item.

Zippo Lighter Ad (1949)

Thanks go to the readers who did the digging and found out the publication date. -Ron

Barbara Bradley, Queen of the Perkies and Cuties

Barbara Bradley was one of the most popular illustrators of the 20th century, but her name is not well-known by the general public. Artists recognize her as one of their profession’s greatest. She was born in 1927 and developed an interest in drawing while still a child. In a 2008 interview for femaleillustrators.blogspot she said that she was influenced by comic artists Hal Foster and Milton Caniff. She drew the illustrations for her high school yearbook. After high school she attended college for seven years, but did not get a degree. Later she was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1951 – 1957)

In the early 1950s she was working as a professional illustrator. Bradley was well-known for her illustrations in Polly Pigtails’ Magazine for Girls. Below are three of Barbara’s illustrations featuring Polly Pigtails and her dog. She said that the dog was one of her best models.

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1953)

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1950s)

Bradley also worked for the Merrill Publishing Company. Four of her cover illustrations for Merrill children’s books are shown below. The books were for both boys and girls, and so a typical cover illustration included children of both sexes. However, Bradley’s main interest throughout her career was to draw girls. Barbara Bradley referred to herself as “Queen of the Perkies and Cuties”.

Barbara Bradley – Read Write Count Color (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Busy as a Bee (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Sound and Say (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Bobby and Betsy’s Easy Coloring (circa 1950s)

Advertising illustrations were another important part of Barbara’s work. Below are two of her advertising drawings. The Carter’s ad has a boy, a girl, and a dog. Note how often Bradley has animals in her drawings. The other illustration is for a Dole’s Pineapple advertisement. The style is entirely different than her other drawings, proving Bradley to be a very versatile artist.

Barbara Bradley – Carter’s Advertisement (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Dole Pineapple Hawaiian Kids (circa 1970)

Barbara Bradley – Two Girls (date unkown)

Barbara Bradley – Two Girls and Two Boys (date unkown)

The next two illustrations show a helpful sister, and girls getting attention from boys. I thought these illustrations were particularly effective in evoking a mood. The last picture is the cover of her book, Drawing People. This book has been acclaimed by artists as one of the best instruction manuals for drawing the clothed figure. When Bradley began the book she went at it as a perfectionist. Then her granddaughter was born, and the book occupied a much lower priority. Her book was published in 2003, and Barbara passed away five years later.

Barbara Bradley – Drawing People Cover(2003)

Random Images: Waltham Watches

This item has been on my radar for a while and I keep hoping that a better-resolution image will appear on the internet. So perhaps someone out there has a good scan of this because I have seen this ad many times on the secondary market.

There is a long tradition of using the images of children to sell things and when the children are naked, it helps emphasize something specifically. In this case, the idea is that the watch will last a long time and this sweet little girl will still be using this reliable device even when she is grown up.

Waltham “Bare Facts” campaign ad (1968)

[20211231] A couple of readers have located a slightly-better version of the image which I have replaced above. Thank you, -Ron

Random Images: Tattoos and Baby Food

Continuing on the theme of podcasts, another one from Decoder Ring: Tattoo Flash had an interesting coverage of the practice of tattooing. One story is about Gemma Angel who was examining an archive of tattoos taken from French prisoners around the beginning of the 20th century. One tattoo in particular seemed out-of-place and oddly familiar.

French police archival tattoo photo (1901)

The authorities of the time assumed it was of a girl who had some close connection to the prisoner like a beloved niece or neighbor child since it was positioned near the heart. That explanation did not make sense to Angel so she did some investigating. After nearly giving up, she suddenly came across this image while playing a documentary.

Ridge’s Food advertisement (1893)

It was an ad for baby food and had a peculiar composition seen in ads of children of the period. Being an advertisement, it would not have been hard to have a copy for the tattooist to work from. Why the man selected this image is now lost to history but I believe it at least demonstrates how compelling the pictures of girl children can be.

Ridge’s Food ad (full size)

Some Travel Postcards

Just clearing up a backlog of archived images here. I have no idea why these particular cards caught Pip’s eye, but it has been well established that images of children sell. On the one hand, their charm is disarming while subconsciously suggesting that these are safe stress-free family destinations.

Herman Verbaere – Oostende Belgium (1952)

Atelier Hofmann – Winter in Austria (1940s-50s)

White Star Tours to U.S.A. & Canada (1930)

Random Images: Carter’s Spanky Pants

In the early days of advertising, it seemed logical that the product in question should be displayed along with a glowing description of its features setting it apart from its competitors. It certainly led to a lot of voyeuristic fodder but also bittersweet memories of a bygone age of innocence for both children and grownups.

Carter’s Spanky Pants Ad (1963)

I was recently informed that since about 2000, film directors consistently pay special attention to avoid shots that might accidentally show a flash of panties out of concern over the wrong kind of attention.

Random Images: Corset Ads

It seems like such folly today but, in its day, corsets were considered an acceptable way for girls and women to feel attractive by maintaining their figure. Girl children were often featured in these ads, sometimes in the form of cherubs. Is this some kind of endorsement from heaven? So the manufacturer/retailer would have you believe.

Warner Bros. Coraline Corsets Ad

There are many other possibilities for why little girls should appear in such an ad. Perhaps it was a way to indoctrinate the next generation or a cruel taunt about the bygone days of the perfect child-like figure.

Warner’s Rust-Proof Corsets Ad (1909)

Polder Girl or Girls in the Polder?

Photographer unknown – Girl on skates in the Duivenvoordse-Veenzijdse Polder (1960-70)

Here are some more images of this polder and girl in blue jacket. It is probably all three times the same girl named Erna Verhoeve.

Photographer unknown – Dogs are welcome in the Polder of Kruibeke (around 2018)

Here is a somewhat funny explanation that dogs are thus welcome in this polder, but not everyone feels comfortable with dogs, and also polder animals (like cows, sheep, horses) can be frightened by “our four-legged friends” although dogs do “nothing” so keep dogs on a leash, and do not forget to clean up their poop.

A polder is the kind of typical Dutch landscape, drained, won from the sea, or nearby rivers, by dikes and pumps. Recently I came upon two stories about two girls. The one about Sofie happened in a polder without particular reference to that term. What happened to Sofie could have happened anywhere, where traffic bars can go high. The story about Floortje actually plays with the word ‘polder’: Maseratis in the Polder. First I wrote two posts by themselves, about Sofie and about Floortje. Later on I wanted to illustrate the word ‘polder’ (with girls) and wrote this post or is it ‘Girls in the Polder’? Is there such a thing as a ‘Polder Girl’?

I found a Fashion Brand named Polder, with a line for women, and one for girls, named Polder Girl. And I got the idea to add some rather traditional Dutch images of girls connected to polders. The Dutch word has no other translation into English than ‘polder’. I would say, it is a landscape. But in Holland, in the Netherlands, one can also call it a so-called ‘Heimat’ or terrain like forests in Germany, mountains in Austria, moors in England and prairies in the United States. As a noun ‘polder’ can also be seen as a metaphor for the Netherlands.

To polder is also a verb, namely, creating these landscapes. And figuratively speaking, it has become a way of doing and governing: doing it together, governing in a democratic and rather egalitarian way and making decisions or compromises by deliberation—The ‘Polder Model’. Maybe it was inevitable that girls should join this model.

Polder Girl. About this fashion brand I cite as I could not say it better myself:

Polder was created by two sisters, Madelon (Lanteri-Laura) and Natalie (Vodegel), who were born and raised in the Netherlands. They spent their childhood living in an area where they overlooked polders that stretched out as far as the eye could see. In January 2008, in Paris, they presented “April showers by polder”, which is now known as Polder Girl. This label shows a mix of a Nordic spirit, with a French touch of vintage. The handmade components, bring a unique and hand-crafted quality to the collection. Shapes are extremely pure, and the prints, materials and finish make them a strong and acknowledgeable product.

Polder Girl was first named ‘April Showers’, changed in 2017 (or 2016). The two sisters’ own site is here. But there I could not find anything about Polder Girl. Using Google images I found only this, presumably a part of their site, but seemingly not reachable through their homepage.

The clothing line is described as:

sophisticated and modern. Strong minimalist design. Very contemporary and with a bohemian spirit.

And as

the typical effortless style that we love so much of French fashion.

And here with a

cool, laid-back Parisian chíc


a little Dutch touch.

Has the polder in the mean time been left behind? What is there in a name? I would say, “what does it matter?” I would not say that something is typically ‘polder’ or that this is ‘polder lookalike’. It is as if these girl models come directly from some polder in Holland. But then, these girls could be seen in the polder, as well as in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Paris, Lille, Cannes and the Belgian mass-tourist coach. The clothes are not too expensive and to my eyes ‘western’ in general. One cannot expect that the two couturiers would really create some ‘polder look’. What would that be? And it would probably hamper their creativity and what is fashionable at the moment. So, this kind of ‘Polder Girl’ does not really exist. Let’s just have a look at their work and models. These pictures are most probably taken in a studio, with a soft light, which gives it a kind of soft, ‘natural’ touch, which may have helped create the kinds of impressions mentioned above.

Photographer unknown – April Showers (Summer 2014)

Photographer Unknown – April Showers (Summer 2014)

Photographer unkown – Dress Dune Sand (around 2017)

Photographer unknown – Dress Dune Sand 2 (around 2017)

Photographer unknown – Caroline Mustard Poldergirl Dress (around 2017)

Photographer unknown – Polder Girl Dress Caroline Mustard (around 2017)

Is anywhere the Polder Girl, really in the polder, to be found in tradition, in costume, as if from a movie? In Polder Costume? There was and there still is in Holland. More or less like the USA has its Amish and Germany their Dirndls, with that difference that these ‘traditional’ way of dressing can still be seen now and then in Germany or Holland, perhaps mainly within still-existing (or in recollections of)  ‘traditional communities’ such as the Amish in the States. I would not be surprised if in the US, at certain celebrations, people dress themselves as in the time when ‘the West was won’. Dressing in costume at special occasions is a popular western pattern. These are topics for another post.

Has Dutch (polder) costume been given a new, better life? For instance, here at the Keukenhof, a yearly Dutch grand garden in the spring, or as a set of dresser drawers at the Zuiderzee Museum.

Photographer unknown – Dutch Province of Zeeland Isle of Walcheren (year unknown)

Photographer unknown – Young generation in costume during Tulip Weekend in the Keukenhof (2009)

Photographer unknown – Dressing up Cabinet (year unknown)

Photographer unknown – Mill Sight Volendam (year unknown)

Dutch Maserati-Girl

One day there was this Dutch girl, Floortje, who got an “internship” at the company ‘Italy in the Polder’, selling Italian cars and scooters in Holland. A polder is a phenomenon peculiar to the Netherlands referring to land that has been reclaimed from the sea and low-lying rivers. ‘The Polder’ has also become a term to indicate the Netherlands generally. This was what Floortje did and thus sold her first Maserati within 4 hours. This second video’s title is ‘Floortje verpatst Maserati’. ‘Verpatsen’ is the typical Dutch way of saying that something is very easy to sell—almost too easy!

(Unknown photographer) – Floortje (2018)

The context of this first video is unusual in that it is not strictly a proper commercial. It may simply have been Floortje’s audition performance. Actually selling a Maserati in this fashion, as can be seen in the second video, is a news item about the unexpected continuation of that performance. The story is essentially this. There was this guy, Sam, who is the entrepreneur of ‘Italy in the Polder‘. And Sam also has creative ambitions of making videos and singing in them and so makes commercials he also calls ‘Italy in the Polder’. His neighbour girl Floor asked him several times whether she could act in one of them.

(Unknown photographer) – Floortje and Sam (2018)

In her first clip, Sam tells her that she has a very interesting approach but how does she expect to sell a car? Floor answers that the car will sell itself! In the second clip Sam comments that there is a whole shop dedicated exclusively to these cars but to sell one in 2018 one needs to do something special. Floor put together these dances probably from things she has seen before. In answering a question from a reporter, she simply explained that she did some kind of shuffle and something called ‘swish swish’ and then she danced (as if the shuffle and swish swish were not dances themselves). Here is an example of shuffle which begins at the 31 second mark. The swish swish comes from the so-called ‘Backpack Kid’ which is connected to Katy Perry. I was able to find some girls doing these two dances and even found one that combined both. But what the originals may have looked like must be left to the imagination, as I could not find any clear example on YouTube.

After being questioned about making a sale in just a few hours Floortje says only, “we have sold it!”, in a tone of surprise. She did not think that the clip would have been watched by so many people.

So, it is quite possible to drive a Maserati over the Dutch dikes. And one day Floortje herself may drive one, if ‘the Polder’ can manage to stay dry until then.