The following is a guest post for the Feast Your Eyes series by Marilyn Ibach, Reference Specialist, Prints and Photographs Division.
The latest installment in the Feast Your Eyes series features a perennial favorite: the doughnut. The constant in these images of doughnuts is their appeal – seen in the smiling faces of soldiers, society ladies and beauty queens, and dare we say it – bears?
“Did you say doughnuts?” Everyone loves doughnuts. Even this bear!
This photo proves one can see strange things in early 1900s Alaska, where photographers Frank and Frances Carpenter ventured. Both sentimental, and a bit scary.
This George M. Richards poster for the 1918 United War Work Campaign shows a soldier who is quite enthusiastic about the comforts provided by the Salvation Army. Since the days of World War I, when the Doughnut “lassies” fried doughnuts – sometimes in soldiers’ metal helmets! – on the front line in France, the doughnut has become associated with the Salvation Army and its social services.
Yes, there were even doughnut eating contests. This one was sponsored by the Salvation Army in 1922. Four boys – no hands! – lean over a table. Is the big drum on the platform used to announce the winner?
Does it count if it is not a real doughnut? What appear to be tires covered with painted spots to resemble doughnuts are being rolled by these well-dressed society women in the President’s Park (see the White House in the distance) as part of a contest captured by the Washington D.C. photography firm of Harris & Ewing.
Who knew that you could be a doughnut queen? And, that doughnuts could be worn as a crown?
The doughnut continues to be honored by a National Doughnut Day, which was begun in Chicago by the Salvation Army in 1938. A new beauty contest was born that lasted into the 1950s.
The unpretentious doughnut has an all-around appeal: at breakfast, with coffee (“joe”), as a snack. In all its variety – doughnut holes, crullers, fritters, Long Johns, cream- and jelly-filled, this fried dough treat remains an American favorite.
- Check out more photographs of the girl and her bear cub companions in early 1910s Alaska.
- Enjoy more photos of the Salvation Army doughnut race in the Harris & Ewing collection.
- Sample further doughnut-related images from the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.
- Revisit a Picture This blog post entitled: Coffee and Donuts, Anyone? to see The Donut Hole, a California doughnut stand shaped like the treat itself.