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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Birthday Boy: 1957

Birthday Boy: 1957

September 1957 somewhere in Pennsylvania. In the prequel to this slide, we have Big Brother's second birthday. Let the anthropological analysis and cultural deconstruction begin! 35mm Kodachrome transparency. View full size.

Younger siblings do get the raw deal

OTY is right... I come from a family of four children. My oldest sister has a complete baby book, and my second oldest (who came 18 months later) has a baby book with about four pages filled in and various memorabilia tucked inside the pages.

I am the third daughter, born five years later. My baby pictures and assorted baby memories were kept in a Kraft envelope with my name written on the outside.

My little sister's few baby pictures were stuffed into my envelope.

And, by the way... I think the wallpaper is FABULOUS!

Laneko Still Around, the Wallpaper--I hope not

Am I the only viewer who thinks that wallpaper is hideous, not in and of itself, but placed in that tiny room? In a spacious room I can see those huge flowers working, but in this suburban Philadelphia home it overpowers everything.

You can tell the house was built in the 1910's or 1920's by the push button light switch on the far side of the thermostat. You can also tell this room is tiny because in the later photo they had no place to put the playpen but under the window on the right, blocking where somebody would walk. And in both photos there is no space between the people we see at the table and the wall.

But the Laneko calendars, centered so utilitarianly on that far wall, are a treasure a half century later. Clearly there was some connection between these people and that tool and die company to have put their calendar, and not a bank calendar, or a dry cleaner's calendar, in that spot both years. And Laneko is still a thriving company. They might even have done a 2012 calendar.

Marketing

And let's not forget the birthday tablecloth featuring Raggedy Ann and her brother Raggedy Andy. Less than five years after this image was taken my sister and I had Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls that were our constant companions. Well, at least until my toddler sister chew the yarn hair off both of the dolls...

Never dyed, never permed

Look how shiny that braid is.

Phonograph

I have a Silvertone table radio with knobs identical to the ones on the record player in the photo.

3rd birthday

I see, from the calendar on the wall, that my third birthday was on the third Saturday of the month, that year.

I love the wallpaper, too! I vaguely remember the wallpaper that was on the wall of my grandparents' living room, at that time, and it was similar. It was painted over a few years later, though.

PS
Aenthal, if you think this wallpaper is hideous, you should have seen some of the OTHERS that were popular during that time!

More kids, fewer pictures

It is funny that when the first child is born, his picture is taken every day. The second child gets a photo on special occasions. I was a third child and my baptism and h.s. graduation were on the same roll of film.

P. S. Furthermore, and even worse, my brother married a girl who was the last of 8 children and when her high school class was having a contest to guess kids from their baby pictures, her mom could not find one of her, but told her to just use her older sister's baby pic because "you all looked alike anyway." (So much for the unique snowflakes we are supposed to be).

American Gothic

An old fashioned Grandma, complete with braided bun and no makeup. The radio-phono combo probably had an AM radio and a Webcor record changer. Try as I may I can't remember who made a table model in that highly polished wood cabinet, most of the units we sold looked like luggage.

Thermostat

I have a very similar "thumbwheel" thermostat sitting on laundryroom table downstairs. It was new in 1947 and I finally replaced it with digital gizmo that doesn't work worth half as well. My old thermo is labeled "ESSO" (for Standard Oil of New Jersey).

Well, whaddaya know

It appears that Laneko Engineering is still in business.

Honeywell

I have an old Honeywell thermostat! Still controls my ancient Arco boiler. Kodachrome is so beautiful; thanks for finding these.

How DO you do it?

What do you use to scan these slide transparencies for reproduction online? They look fantastic.

[A Nikon film scanner. - Dave]

Oh! The wallpaper!

Not only that, but the Honeywell wall thermostat and that indescribable radio just sitting to the left of of Junior's shoulder. One second after this photo was taken, maybe Junior's only take on this situation was to dive headfirst into the cake that was presented to him! Fun for him, a slicing nightmare for everyone else. Maybe Mom and Dad were enjoying a libation out on the porch -- let the grandparents deal with this. They've been there, and have done that.

 
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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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