The Shorpy Gallery
 
5000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Mother's Little Helper: 1942

Mother's Little Helper: 1942

January 1942. "Bantam, Connecticut. Defense homes. Little Ann Heath is eager to try out all the facilities of her parents' new four-room defense housing unit, after spending most of her life in a single furnished room. Here she pushes her footstool to the sink in order to help her mother clean up the dinner dishes. Mrs. Heath, a native of Winsted, a city some 25 miles away, is delighted with her new kitchen -- the first she's ever had which she actually considers as a kitchen, and is trying out all the recipes she has collected in five years of married life. The Heaths pay $30 monthly for their apartment." Medium format nitrate negative by Howard Hollem for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Housewife propaganda

To answer an earlier poster's question about why the OWI was taking photos like this so soon after the US entered the war, I imagine photos like this (and their accompanying captions) were very deliberately intended to appeal to women like Mrs. Heath who were used to living in those one-room apartments. See what you can get if your husband works for the war effort?

In other news, I had never seen high-heeled saddle shoes before - love them.

See Fred Heath fueling the stove/heater

Shorpy picture: http://www.shorpy.com/node/2297

The caption has a few additional bits of information.

E_R

I want the kitchen, and the shoes

Mrs. Heath's kitchen gear is highly desirable right now, but, sadly, her saddle shoes aren't. And that's a shame, because I love saddle shoes and I'd wear 'em with skirts and socks if I could.

Cupboard

Today we just call these shelves but it is infact where the term cupboard came from and it was two words "Cup and board" meaning a simple board on a wall for the purpose of placing cups or other dishes on. People today often refer to cabinets as cupboards but they are in fact not cupboards at all.

Likely Mystery Explanation

From the very beginning of WW2, all Americans were expected to assist our nation facilitate the production of goods and services necessary for winning the war. Aircraft, shipbuilding and munitions factories were pushed into round-the-clock shifts of production requiring thousands of workers, all of whom required adequate housing. Here in San Diego, large old homes in neighborhoods including North Park, Hillcrest and Golden Hill were subdivided into multiple units for the huge influx of this new military and war production labor force. Local housing projects (for example the community of Linda Vista) rapidly appeared where only indigenous wildlife had lived months before. Affordable housing units were a timely necessity, and often newly constructed ones even as basic as Mrs. Heath's were a genuine improvement over those many had occupied shortly before.

Fitzgerald Magic Maid

The mixer appears to be a Fitzgerald Magic Maid from the 1920s or '30s. Probably a lovely Jadite Green color with bowls to match, a popular color in that era, as well as now among collectors.

Dime-Store Demographic

I'll second everything OTY has written about this 1942 kitchen. The apple-shaped container was made by my favorite glassware company, Hazel-Atlas, and I often stared at one like it in my grandmother's shadowbox in the 1950's. These glass apples didn't fall far from the tree, and can be readily found in antique malls now. Note that the large tumblers just to the right of the Heaths' clock are decorated with Mickey Mouse images, which would make them very collectible today.

Alarming

Is the size of the alarm clock over the sink.

Worker housing

It's from a series of pictures depicting home/work life of employees at the Warren McArthur plant. They made bomber seats, among other things. Library of Congress site has more.

Something in the Oven?

Seeing the temperature gauge on the stove almost pegging, I thought something was baking. However, I searched Shorpy and sure enough I found Dad fueling the combo stove/boiler ("Coaling the Stove: 1942"). Since it's January in Connecticut, the heat must be on.

Memories of my childhood

Where do I start here? The high heels worn with socks was very common as nylons were not available. House dresses and aprons were every mother's uniform. The E-Bay paradise of supplies on the shelves are all familiar, the tin canister sets, breadbox,matching cake keeper, 1940's pyrex ware, the old clock, painted glass apple with lid (we had the identical one), lidded refrigerator storage dishes, the large motor-driven mixing bowl on stand and the vintage patterned china, just about every item in this picture were props in our kitchen. It really does something for a soul to be able to step back in time and go back seventy years to their infancy. I feel lucky to still be here and thank Shorpy for their mental refreshment. This is my favorite spot on the interweb.

What a difference

What a difference compared to what the wartime defence workers in other countries reportedly had to put up with.

Upgraded housing was definitely out of the question and unheard of elsewhere in the world, even in places that did not suffer from air raids.

And the the jump from a single room to a complete four room apartment, with kitchen, hot and cold running water, and, I should be quite bold enough to guess, its own bathroom and toilet. And the heating would not be based on individual wood and coal stoves, either.

Other places in the world took 20 more years to get there. Some even haven't arrived there yet. The former workers' paradise still has some kommunalkas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kommunalka) going 70 years later.

All the Amenities

By the end of the 1930s, Americans may have enjoyed the highest standard of living in the world, as was often claimed, but it's easy to forget how low that bar was set. It looks to me like Mrs. Heath's wonderful new kitchen includes a new wood- or coal-burning kitchen range and stove and a built-in ice box, the kind with an exterior access door on the side of the house, so the ice man could add more ice without tracking mud onto the linoleum.

It's A Mystery

It's one month after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the "Office of War Information" is taking photos of a private apartment?

I wasn't born yet so maybe someone a bit older can explain.

Yeah,

I want that kitchen too.

Try To Remember

Can that last base cabinet on the right, withe the 2 snap latches, be an Ice Box?

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.