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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Christmas in Miami: 1954

Christmas in Miami: 1954

"Christmas 1954." My grandmother in her living room in Miami Shores four years before I was born. She made the mantel decoration, which saw service for many years, with Brazilian pepper berries from a big tree in the backyard, mixed with pine cones, all attached to a chicken wire frame. Grandmother, handy with a needle and thread, also made the curtains herself. She was, needless to say, big on Christmas. Scanned from a 35mm Kodachrome slide. View full size.

Can't beat 35mm Kodachrome

Beautiful classy lady & home. I love the white dipped pinecones. I too have many 35mm slides my grandfather took the colors are so crisp on them when developed into pictures.

Pickles

I was a month old at the time this photo was taken. I am so impressed with this beautiful room. Seems to me that in that time period, white walls were the norm so she was really going new places with that lovely color. I also like her collection of cranberry glass, especially the pickle caster on the left. Hope it's still in the family. Thanks for sharing, nice to see how things looked at the time I made an appearance.

Your turn

It's great seeing your grandmother, Dave. Now can we Shorpy fans see our Shorpy webmaster?

[We've already seen me. - Dave]

Class act

Dave what a beautiful grandmother and setting. I was born earlier that year. Thanks for all you do and Merry Christmas!

A Beautiful Lady

... who kept an immaculate house.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

Understatement

"Big on Christmas' indeed! A very, very Merrye Christmas to all the Shorpy "family"; it's been a fun ride once again, and I look forward to splendid new adventures in 2012.

Stylish Grandmother

Dave some people have it and some don't, your grandmother had plenty. What a beautiful home I especially love the table on our left. We can all see why you love photography this shot may have been your genesis.
Merry Christmas and thanks again for our favorite web site!

Nice Antiques

Merry Christmas, Dave, and let me join the others in admiring your grandmother's great taste and sophisticated decorating talents. That's a smart and very urban color scheme for 1954. The tailored curtains are revivals of a Federal period window treatment, seldom done with this degree of precision. And the antiques are like familiar neighbors to me. Out of curiosity, were they mostly family pieces from up North, or did she collect them? The little sofa and round parlor table are 1860s; the fancy side chair by the fireplace is Boston or Philadelphia, about 1845; the worktable at left is probably late 1830s; and the molded clear flint glass lamp bases are probably Sandwich or Cambridge whale oil lamps of about 1850. Here's a similar pair with their old pewter wick holders still intact.

Pine Cone Thing

She made her own curtains lined in contrasting colors and she also made the amazing mirror surround? I am totally in awe.

Merry Christmas to Dave, the mysterious Ken, and unacknowledged contributors whose photos are buried in the Member Photos Section. Best regards also to Canada, tterrace and the Farkers whose work makes me gasp with laughter.

Thanks, Shorpy!

[Grandmother also made her own clothes. Not to mention togs for the grandkids. And then there was the crocheting -- much crocheting. Shorpy says you're very welcome! -Dave]

Kodachrome mastery

The technical details of this shot interest me. First of all, it looks like it was illuminated by photoflood, with both main and fill lights. The main is indicated by the sharp shadow on the marble of the fireplace; the presence of a fill somewhat off-angle from the main is shown by the double shadows on the bric-a-brac shelf and the pine cone thing around the mirror. The distance of the photofloods was accurately calculated so as not to overwhelm the regular bulbs in the lamps. The white balance is right on, indicating a probable use of Kodachrome Type A, or tungsten-balance photoflood emulsion, ASA 16. Using my trusty Kodak Master Photoguide from 1962, when the original Kodachrome was still available, the exposure calculator for the film and two bulbs at roughly the apparent bulb-to-subject distance here indicates an exposure in the area of f2.8 at 1/5 second or the equivalent. In other words, a carefully set-up shot by someone who knew what he was doing. May even be professional; at the very least, an advanced amateur. (Still, exposure bracketing would have been advisable; do any other shots survive?)

Wow, just wow

Awesome, Dave. Your grandmother was quite a seamstress, decorator, and had great taste in furniture. My grandmother was a great seamstress, too. She sewed clothes, quilts, sleeping bags, doll clothes, costumes, you name it. She had all kind of gadgets, like a eyelet press, for making belts, and a hem marker, a thing that combined a yardstick standing vertically on a base, a bulb and hose, with a container filled with talcum powder. The container slid up and down the yardstick, and when the bulb was squeezed, it would make a nice horizontal line (to mark the hemline) about an inch long. And of course, I enjoyed playing with that.

Beautiful

That's all; just beautiful! Merry Christmas!

Martha Stewart was only thirteen

Your beautiful grandmother was way ahead of her time in creating an exquisite home environment through her own resources of sewing, collecting and impeccable taste. The atmosphere in this room is timeless and the decor is of superior quality and subtle uniqueness, but the sparkling antique crystal and ceramics are showstoppers. The polished marble, shiny mahogany and immaculate order of her living quarters is very impressive. I could never live in a place like this because I'm basically a hopeless slob and have been told by most of my close relatives that because of me "we can't have anything nice." This is nice. And by the way Dave, you are SO YOUNG. I figured you to be about 80 yrs. old up until now, so Shorpy has a long life ahead of it as long as you keep it going. Merry Christmas and thank you for spreading so much happiness around.

Creative and Classy

That is a seriously tasteful room. The tailored window dressing helps to tone down the old style furniture. The subdued red and white decorations and lights with natural elements look almost modern. I absolutely love the fabric on the sofa.

A lovely lady

and a tastefully decorated room!

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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