Mary Willumsen took scanty photos of women at the Danish bath Helgoland and sold them as postcards in the early 1900s before police began to show interest in the kiosks that sold them. Working since the age of seven (she was a papergirl), Willumsen grew up around Copenhagen. She began taking photos of women, who always had their identities concealed (even when their nipples were not), at the bath in 1914 and stopped when she was arrested in 1920. Though they were deemed pornography, most of them were not—women at the bathhouse were behaving naturally, not erotically.
After her arrest in 1920, Willumsen gave up photography and pursued the equally as lusterous career of buying and reselling antique furniture. Mmmm, saucy. Here are nine of the photos that were so steamy, they were considered illegal until a court ruled the postcards were safe and dropped the charges:
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