100-Year-Old Photographs Depict Some Of The Most Beautiful Women from all over the World

100-Year-Old Photographs Depict Some Of The Most Beautiful Women Of The 20th Century
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100-Year-Old Photographs Depict Some Of The Most Beautiful Women from all over the World

Throughout history, the idea of female beauty has changed.

From celebrating maternal curves to imposing ideals of skinnier women’s representation.

While the standard has changed, we are safe to say that some beauty is considered timeless, no matter the period.

The first 2 decades of the 20th century was a period when the image of female beauty was going through a transitional period.

Influenced by the emergence of photography, cinema, and the mass media.

It was the time when the belles of the silent era reigned supreme, challenging stereotypes about women while sporting some of the most iconic looks in history.

Maude Adams as Phoebe in Quality Street (1901)
Maude Adams as Phoebe in Quality Street (1901)

Elegant, feminine, but also capable of succeeding in a man’s world, some of these women were at the forefront of the liberation that was taking hold, changing their position in society.

What adds to the charm of these photographs is the fact that most of them were taken more than a century ago.

They continue to inspire the fashion trends of today while nurturing the eternal beauty of original divas of the silver screen.

However, among them are not only movie stars but also opera singers like Lina Cavalieri, or members of royal families.

Such as the oldest daughter of Nicholas II Romanov, the Grand Duchess Olga, who met her tragic end with the rest of the Romanovs during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina
Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina

 

Seeta (or Sita) Devi (1912–1983), born Renee Smith, was one of the early stars of silent films in the Indian film industry.
Seeta (or Sita) Devi (1912–1983), born Renee Smith, was one of the early stars of silent films in the Indian film industry.

 

Ethel Warwick (1882 – 1951), British actress
Ethel Warwick (1882 – 1951), British actress

 

Carolina “La Belle” Otero, Spanish actress, dancer and courtesan, circa 1890
Carolina “La Belle” Otero, Spanish actress, dancer and courtesan, circa 1890

 

Cléopatra Diane de Mérode (27 September 1875 – 17 October 1966) was a French dancer of the Belle Époque.
Cléopatra Diane de Mérode (27 September 1875 – 17 October 1966) was a French dancer of the Belle Époque.

 

Pretty Nose (c. 1851 – after 1952), Arapaho war chief
Pretty Nose (c. 1851 – after 1952), Arapaho war chief

 

Miss N (Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit by Gertrude Käsebier), 1903
Miss N (Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit by Gertrude Käsebier), 1903

 

Lily Elsie (1886 – 1962), English actress and singer
Lily Elsie (1886 – 1962), English actress and singer

 

Lina Cavalieri, Italian operatic soprano
Lina Cavalieri, Italian operatic soprano

 

Lone Bright Eickemeyer, Broadway actress, photographed by Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. 1912
Lone Bright Eickemeyer, Broadway actress, photographed by Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. 1912

 

Camille Clifford, Belgian actress
Camille Clifford, Belgian actress
Gladys Cooper in fancy-dress costume
Gladys Cooper in fancy-dress costume

 

Marie Doro, American stage and film actress, in 1909
Marie Doro, American stage and film actress, in 1909

 

Marie Doro (1882–1956)
Marie Doro (1882–1956)

 

Mary Pickford, American-Canadian film actress
Mary Pickford, American-Canadian film actress

 

Postcard of Maude Fealy as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet Source
Postcard of Maude Fealy as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet Source

 

Ethel Clayton, American actress of the silent film era
Ethel Clayton, American actress of the silent film era

There are also theatre actresses and ballerinas, together with women hailing from exotic parts of the world, like the Philippines.

Contrary to their European and American counterparts, the woman of the Philippines has no make-up, reflecting the cultural differences and providing an insight into the ideal of beauty among the peoples of the Pacific.

Lehnert Landrock – Ouled Naïl Girl – Algeria – 1905
Lehnert Landrock – Ouled Naïl Girl – Algeria – 1905

 

Maude Adams (1872 – 1953), American actress
Maude Adams (1872 – 1953), American actress

 

Maude Fealy, American stage and silent film actress
Maude Fealy, American stage and silent film actress

 

Portrait of photographer Rita Martin by her sister Lallie Charles, c. 1907
Portrait of photographer Rita Martin by her sister Lallie Charles, c. 1907

 

Publicity photo of Anna May Wong
Publicity photo of Anna May Wong

 

Theatre Magazine pub. 1913
Theatre Magazine pub. 1913

So, feel free to scroll through these early photographs that formed the beauty standards of an era that might be long gone, but still echoes within our time.

Let us know in the comments what you think about the trends that shape our view of beauty and how they change and correspond with the times we live in.


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John Smith has been with Histecho since 2017, A Senior Editor & Writer for Histecho. his work has been featured in outlets such as Scientific American, The Washington Post, NBC News, and Fox News. John grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York.