Need an idea for Halloween? See the photograph below from a costume party in Turkey, ca. 1920-21, except for the French soldiers, who are real and probably on duty (which doesn’t rule out their garb for your party purposes). The other men are in “Pierrot” costume, perhaps inspired on this occasion by the popularity of “Yama Yama Man,” a strange song and dance routine not to be missed for your daily dose of weirdness from another place and time.
The photograph is from an album formerly belonging to Dorothea Nesbitt Chambers (Blaisdell), daughter of missionaries William N. and Cornelia P.W. Chambers. Dorothea, a Bryn Mawr graduate, was a hardworking but fun-loving woman who grew up in Turkey and worked there for the YWCA before her marriage in 1926. She is probably the photographer here.
That the Yama Yama dance was popular is clear from this photograph of the 10th reunion (in 1912) of the Class of 1902.
Yama Yama Man continued to appear through subsequent decades, including in this album’s title and in one of its tracks.
If anyone ever wanted proof that our small college’s archives has everything from soup to nuts, here it is, our own Yama Yama Man costume (or most of one), a gift from the family of Arthur F. Ells, Class of 1902, who owned it originally and is no doubt in the reunion photograph above.