PhC_237_006 Ladies with unidentified sports equipment

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Black and white carte de visite depicting four unidentified ladies with some sports equipment (?) perhaps, c.1880, eastern North Carolina or Virginia. From the Friends of Virginia Beach Public Library Photograph Collection, PhC.237, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.


Owner: State Archives of North Carolina
Source: Flickr Commons
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    • 02/Dec/2016 01:56:56

    Could part of the equipment be jousting lances and rings from foot tournaments that were popular during the 1880s and 1890s?

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    State Archives of North Carolina

    • 02/Dec/2016 22:47:42

    Thanks, Victor - and I missed seeing you in New Bern when I was down in October! I think we have determined that the ladies are gymnasts of the time pictured with exercise equipment - dumbbells, rubber or wood rings, and poles. I have since seen other photos and illustrations of Victorian era women 'working out' in a gymnasium setting holding poles like this but have not yet found an explanation for what the poles' purpose was. Still investigating...