Fact Check: Picture Is NOT Of Finalists From 1919 Men's Beauty Contest

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Picture Is NOT Of Finalists From 1919 Men's Beauty Contest Miscaptioned

Was a photo of six men in striped bathing suits from a men's beauty contest in 1919? No, that's not true: The photograph is actually of several central European men around the year 1910. The photo can be traced back to a German website that sells postcards. The caption for it on the site is roughly translated to "nicer through stripes Central Europe around 1910."

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) by History Daily on April 26, 2021.

It opened:

The finalists in a men's beauty contest, 1919.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on April 29, 2021:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Apr 29 14:36:50 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories found the same image for sale at Winkler Postkarten, a German postcard website. We emailed Sebastian Winkler, the owner of the Winkler Postkarten, for a comment on April 30, 2021. He responded the same day: "It's true, it's a postcard of my store, this photo is part of my archive."

A blog post from Angus Trumble, former director of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia in Canberra, provided a bit more information. "Last evening over an early dinner in New York a dear old friend visiting from Australia gave me this postcard which he found lately in a museum bookshop in Germany," he wrote on May 19, 2012. "The caption reads Schöner durch Streifen. Mitteleuropa um 1910."

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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