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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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Blue Plate Special: 1940

Blue Plate Special: 1940

June 1940. Washington, D.C. "In the cafe at a truck drivers' service station on U.S. 1." The truck stop menu starring "Blue Plate Lunch," with cameos by Dr. Pepper and Cold Liver Loaf. 35mm negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

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Today's Top 5

Mmmm, the aromas!

What a tantalizing menu! I'd love to eat there, but even going inside of it and just smelling the food would have been a treat!

I don't know what a pork roll would have been, but I do know what fresh ham was, the same part of a pig as smoked ham, but not smoked or cured. More than 30 years ago, I prepared one for a Christmas dinner, for 17 people. It was delicious!

Cheap Eats

The menu price of 30 cents in 1940 is equivalent to $4.91 in today's dollar. Still not bad for a Blue Plate Special.

No fast food here

And no misspellings, either. The cold liver loaf was probably very much like liverwurst or braunschweiger. Everything on the menu was probably cooked right in the kitchen. Pretty heavy lunches, but I don't see a single overweight diner.

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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