I’ve recently seen a few color photos from World War II, but I thought that must have been a rare, expensive, and exceptional technology. Today I found a small (2¼ by 3¼ inch) color photo of my grandmother, Harriet (Askew) Prettyman, from around 1942.
The photo is of Harriet (on the right) and an unidentified woman (perhaps Valborg Marie “Vollie” Berdahl) with an unidentified man (perhaps Harriet’s half-uncle and Vollie’s future husband, William Leighton “Bill” Askew) between them, sitting on a sandy beach. The women are are barefoot and are wearing two-piece swimsuits, and the man is wearing trunks, a white t-shirt, sandals, and has a towel over his neck. The two women are each holding a slice of watermelon. There’s a bottle of what is presumably tanning oil next to Harriet’s feet, and a pair of sunglasses to the left of the other woman.
There’s no date on the photo, but there are a few clues:
- The photo was taken at a sunny, sandy, presumably Pacific Ocean beach (Harriet first came to California in 1941);
- Harriet’s hair is done in a style I’ve only seen her wear in photos from 1941 to 1943;
- It looks like Harriet is going for the look Betty Grable had in one of her promo shots (from the 1942 Song of the Islands, I believe—see below);
- The back of the photo states “This is a MINICOLOR PRINT made by EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY”—a format offered by Kodak beginning in 1941.