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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Jack's Birthday: 1956

Jack's Birthday: 1956

Pennsylvania circa 1956. A birthday party for my older brother, lower right in the red cowboy boots. He looks to be turning 6 or 7, which would make this near the end of January 1956 or 1957. My mother served spaghetti because it was his favorite meal. Today she'll tell you that she must have been out of her mind to serve spaghetti to all those boys. There were no expensive "thanks for coming" goody-bags like kids get today. They were given a couple of noisemakers (which, knowing my mother, were left over from New Year's) and sent home to drive their parents crazy! View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The 50s!

My mom threw an 8th birthday party for me in December of 1954, which must have been just like this. I remember she rented a 16 mm projector and some black and white movies, which as I recall, mainly consisted of chimpanzees playing. That was a BIG deal of a thing for a kid party in 1954. She also did something really appalling. She succumbed to a fad among her friends and made a non-cake cake. It was a recipe probably put out by a creme cheese company. You took two unsliced loaves of bread , one white and one whole wheat. You sliced them horizontally, and stacked them up with creme cheese in between the layers. This is what was served for my birthday. GAK.
This picture also makes me think that it was definitely NOT JFK who killed hat wearing among American males.

[I particularly like the kid with the cherry Jell-O mold on his head. - tterrace]

Birthdays of yesteryear

I also remember birthday parties that consisted of cake and ice cream and those little nut cup things filled with candy. A lot of fun was had and no loans had to be taken out to pay for some huge extravaganza!! Fun memories!!

What a keepsake

This is a really special photo of all these young boys having fun in the most carefree days of their youth fifty six years ago. The assortment of hats cracked me up. If you wanted to look up all these kids and send them a copy of this, I'm pretty sure they would treasure it forever. My childhood neighbor sent me a photo taken at a Polish-American Club Christmas party from 1947 which I didn't even know existed. The Santa Clause was an "old country" (from Poland) St. Nicholas and was the skinniest, most depressed Santa ever filmed. I keep it with my most precious pictures as it is hilarious, rare and one of very few I have from the old days.

Leather Shoes

Note how the other kids in the front row are wearing leather shoes, not tennis shoes. People like my parents believed that tennis shoes were for athletic purposes only, and that wearing them for general use would damage your feet. I wonder how many of these boys' parents were of the same opinion?

Party favors

Your guests got more than mine did.
We'd have a small prize for a couple of games, and then there'd be one of those little baskets covered with crepe paper, with candy in them, for everyone to take home.
I don't think my mother ever did kid parties at meal time, either.

The before picture?

This must have been before the Spaghetti was served,I feel bad for the two boys in the white shirts, they must have caught it good when they got home.

Hats Off To Jack

I wonder if they were given the party hats or asked to bring their own.
And Happy Birthday, Jack!

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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