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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Backyard Picnic: 1960

Backyard Picnic: 1960

June 1960 somewhere in Maryland. "Picnic in yard." Janet, of Kermy and Janet, pointing at the camera. Who wants more potato salad? View full size.

How about some Kool-Aid?

Looks like what's being ladled into those Dixie cups is red Kool-Aid. The favorite drink of kids from the era.

Scalloped Seating

I sold a set of four of those and a matching round table on Craigslist last year. Same color, probably about the same vintage.

Dixie vs Hard Plastic

Notice a stack of Dixie Cups on the table, but we are drinking from the durable, washable plastic tumblers. The two "Dixies" that are upright have spoons in them. Maybe to serve Aunt Dora's special homemade relish? From the way they are stacked, I'll bet the plastic utensils get washed too.

Seating

I love the variety of chairs: the plastic web loungers, the wooden-frames with canvas backs & seats and that metal one that most likely leave a scallop-shaped impression in your back.

By the way, the ketchup is "Ideal," the house brand of the local Acme Market.

Tables

Hubby and I have two of them out back, both gotten at auctions.

Not just had, but burnt

When our parents' picnic table reached the age of about 40 years and had rotted to the point that it was structurally finished, my youngest brother and I threw it on the bonfire and watched the flames leap higher than a man, a long-suppressed wish of ours. Bonus treat was the unexpected sight of it burning: looked like a giant BBQ grill on fire. Nice smell, too, the cedar.

Sheesh, that's unusual ?

When I was a kid everybody had that table.

Picnics are made of

tasty Heinz pickles and some kind of generic local-brand ketchup. Otherwise, everything else seems homemade, as it was back then.

And don't forget real Dixie brand cups, the only kind being sold then.

[There were many brands of paper cups. A major competitor starting around 1920 was the Lily Cup. - Dave]

Table Still Going Strong

My father bought an identical solid redwood picnic table in southern California, in 1960 no less (a year before I was born in LA). We moved back to northern Missouri in 1963 to be closer to Mom's parents and that was one of the very few large items that made the move. It served as our kitchen table for a few years. It's been refinished a few times and is showing its age (Missouri winters are rough compared to LA's) but is still in use up on my deck and I hope to pass it on.

But me,

I'll take the radio.

 
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.

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