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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Yosemite Visitors: Mid-Fifties

Yosemite Visitors: Mid-Fifties

Here we are in Yosemite National Park again, with Bill Bliss standing there on the left. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Water Fall

Pretty sure this is Bridalveil Fall.

Self assuredness is a good thing


I used to smoke

But I was never able to light up from a match while walking, especially without using a hand to cover. My mother could do it, my father could do it, but I could never get that down.

A side note, I am pretty sure the camera over the shoulder of the woman in from of the smoker is an Argus Seventy-Five, just in case it comes up.

Fifties fashion

Capri pants, cateye glasses, cigarettes.

Lighting up

while she walks. Old pro.

The car at left

is a little hard to identify since much of it is hidden, but I'm guessing a 1948 Nash judging from the front fender shape and the side-by-side door handles. The image is a bit fuzzy, but I can't detect a chrome strip running along the side between the windows and door handles that Nash had in 1946 and 1947.

The other car

The car on the left side of the picture, what might it be? My money says a 41-48 Nash, the model being up for grabs. The high, trailing edge line of the front fender which suddenly drops straight down betrays the identity, I believe.

Dating Bill

Another of Tony's Bliss-ful Yosemite shots has a 1954 Ford in the background. I have to wonder if those jeans lasted long enough for Bill's growth spurt to take care of those cuffs.

In a strange quirk of fate, Bill and I seem to be almost exact contemporaries, first wave Baby Boomers. My best friend at the time was also tow-headed Cub Scout.

Inspiring Name

Yes, "The Saga of Billy Bliss" would make a great title for a book, a movie or a song. Although Billy looks carefree and uninhibited on the outside, much like the "Opie" character in "The Andy Griffith Show," there is an unmistakable inner sadness coming through his eyes, as though all the troubles of the world rest upon his child's small shoulders.

I cannot help but notice the turned up cuffs about a foot high at his ankles which may have hindered his ability to walk quickly. My father used to call this method, which we all used, "Polish alterations" and he could do this because he and we were all Polish and do laugh at ourselves. Sleeves often got the same treatment (just turned up) because our clothes had to last a few years before we could buy new ones.

Can anyone identify the car? My neighbor had a very similar one, but hers was a brown Hudson with whitewall tires and I do not think this is that.

[1954 Chevrolet Bel Air. - Dave]

Billy Bliss

How could you NOT be happy with a name like that? Looks very 1954-1955 to me. What year was Bill born? Love the lady lighting up behind him.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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