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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 • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

The Birthday Party: 1957

The Birthday Party: 1957

September 1957 somewhere in Pennsylvania. Our young man's second second birthday party, the first one seen here last summer. From a batch of 35mm Kodachromes I found on eBay. Who wants ice cream? View full size.

A little closer, a little closer...

Just lean your heads with their tissue paper hats a little closer to the lit candles on the cake, and watch the fun begin!

Let's face it...

At least the first three birthday parties are strictly for the adults because the child is too young to care or remember anything about them.

Yes, Mr. Guinness

This is a partial view of the largest number of people ever to attend the birthday party of a 2-year old.

Cake Topper

There appears to be a Hummel figurine on the top of the cake so maybe these people, like me, are of German descent. We had Hummels all over the place (but never on top of a cake). That one with the accordion looks similar to one I have but is attached to an ashtray.

Uncle Claude's Take

Do you like children Mr. Fields?
Yes, parboiled, parboiled.

Pretty in Pastel

This may have been primarily an adult party, for the washed-out aqua motif is a bit subtle for kids, I think.

Christmas Crackers

We actually refer to them as "crackers"; a word with several very different meanings in your wonderful country. Most are as cheap as previously described, but "Tom Smith" is a specialty company that produces crackers of very high quality that we thoroughly enjoyed this past Christmas. Credit where its due!

Thanks again for the great memories, Dave. And congrats on the "Time" article.

Ersatz Paneling

If you look at referenced picture from last summer, perhaps the mother's relatives got to sit in the good dining room while Dad's relatives were relegated to the finished basement or den with kitchen chairs, or vice versa. Those cheap tissue paper hats used to come in what the British call "snappers" (used at Christmas) which is a decorated cardboard tube that snaps like a cap gun when one pulls the end off and contains a cheesy little prize and a tissue paper hat. Those and the little crepe paper covered candy & nut baskets used to be obligatory at every birthday party. Good times.

 
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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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