I presented a Filson Friday lecture on Melville Otter's life in "Old Louisville" (1911-1916) a couple of weeks ago, and will be sharing some bits from it here on The Filson blog. Even in the ninteen-teens, Louisville youth were looking for ways to keep cool in the hot days of summer. Young Melville Otter and her friends turned to swimming!
Over the summer 1913, a friend of Melville's sees Miss Hazel Cornell, their much-admired teacher from Semple's Collegiate School, at Fontaine Ferry Park and sketched this image of her, sending it to Melville who summered out of town. Melville pasted the sketch in her memory book, writing: “Mary said she wore a black bathing suit trimmed in white with black spots. Wild?” One of the girls wrote the caption “Hazel! May! The Diving Venus!”
Melville herself knew that bathing was the way to stay cool during the dog days of summer! For more on Melville's life, please visit us at The Filson's Special Collections Department to view her three "Memory Books" - available in the Melville Wortham Otter Briney Papers.