An exhibit at the University of Missouri-Columbia documents 50 years in the history of the bathing suit. Early outfits, which included a cap, stockings, shoes and knickerbockers, covered nearly every inch of a woman's body.

"Swimming really didn't start until bathing suits became less cumbersome," says Dr. Laurel Wilson, assistant professor of textiles and apparel management. "It wasn't until around 1923 that the simple, pretty, bare suit became common."The women's, men's and boys' suits on display were worn by members of the Jennings-Marshall family of Moberly, Mo., in the first half of this century. Members of the Marshall family found the outfits last summer while moving possessions from a cabin in Grand Lake, Colo., where several generations had summered since the early 1900s.