Caught Our Eyes: Swan Dive

As I swelter through the dog days of summer along with my fellow Washingtonians, my overheated mind called forth a favorite print from our Fine Prints collection. The grace and simplicity of this lithograph are compelling enough, but the promise of a refreshing splashdown and a cool breeze on the way down is what caught my eye and imagination:

Swan Dive. Lithograph by Mabel W. Jack, 1939. //

Swan Dive. Lithograph by Mabel W. Jack, 1939. //

Woman diver. Woman diving, in mid-air. Photo by Theodor Horydczak, between 1920 and 1950. //

Woman diver. Woman diving, in mid-air. Photo by Theodor Horydczak, between 1920 and 1950. //

Swan Dive was created by artist Mabel W. Jack in 1939 as part of her work with the Federal Art Project in New York. Searching through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog for more divers, I found the unrelated photograph (right) by Theodor Horydczak. The unnamed subjects in both images wear a common bathing suit style and cap of the time, and are captured at nearly the same moment in a swan dive. Both make me crave a refreshing dip in the pool!

Learn More:


Puttering About the Yard

One of my favorite memories of visiting my grandparents’ house during summer vacation is my grandpa teaching me to play croquet in the side yard. I became nostalgic for those summer days when I came across this Civil War era photograph of a group playing croquet in Washington D.C. I decided to search the collections […]

Spectators Pictured “Fanning” the Flames of Baseball Passion

The mid-season All-Star Game break provides baseball fans an opportunity to assess their team’s progress thus far, taking stock of strengths and areas for improvement, successes and failings. But, I’m going to take a much further distant historical look at baseball spectators and fans enjoying the game. Going back some 150 years to October 1865, the engraved […]

Summer Looking Challenge–Touring the Collections with Azure Allure

As summer gets into full swing, I’m recalling how much I enjoyed my public library’s summer reading club challenges when my children were younger (shout-out to all the public libraries that run summer reading clubs for children and adults!). One thing I loved about the challenge was the “randomizer” techniques library staff designed to inspire […]

Land and Lives Turned to Dust

In the 1930s, agricultural practices that replaced native prairie grasses with cash crops such as wheat and corn, combined with overgrazing cattle by ranchers, turned out to have devastating consequences for farm families, centered initially in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. An extended multi-year drought prompted wind erosion that sent topsoil blowing black-dust clouds across the […]

Roll Call Photographs: Glimpsing Congress and Capitol Hill, 1988-2000

The following is a guest post by Arden Alexander, Cataloging Specialist in the Prints & Photographs Division. The U.S. Congress has always been a popular research topic for Prints and Photographs Division patrons. The recently processed Roll Call Collection offers a wealth of photographs that pick up where our other collections leave off, covering the […]