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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 • KEEP CLEAN WPA POSTER, 1939

Breaking News: 1961

Breaking News: 1961

My father, in his comfy leather chair, and our houseguest Bob have their eyes glued to the TV, almost undoubtedly watching the news. We don't know what that news was or its import, but a headline in the San Francisco Examiner reflects an epochal moment: "7 Men Ready for First Space Flight." Three months later Alan Shepard was the one of those Project Mercury astronauts to do it. This 127 Ektachrome transparency has a processing date of February 1961 on the mount.

Bob, a Cal Poly classmate of my brother's, lived with us for a bit while apartment-hunting. Father's clip-on bow tie is actually part of his Jolly Store grocery clerk outfit, indicating he probably just got home, pausing just long enough to slip into his slippers. We also continue the saga of Mother's window treatment, with different-but-similar drapes and curtains. Her love/hate relationship with African violets appears to be in the hate phase at the moment as there are none to be seen. I was standing on the stairway landing, thus the high angle. Man, that leather chair was comfy. View full size.

Where are the sweat pants?

These people are entirely TOO well dressed to be loafing about,watching TV.

Oh, I forgot, it's still the early 1960s.

Zzzzz?

Is it possible Dad was snoozing?

[He's definitely wide-awake, watching TV. - tterrace]

Father's gaze

He's looking over the top of his bifocals. Any of us over 50 knows that.

He ain't "tube'n" he's my Father

Looks to me that Pop's chin is too low to be viewing the TV and his eyes seem downcast. Bob on the other hand is debatable due to glare. Mom's got the right idea with the dried arrangement, cannot do any harm to them except let the dust accumulate.

[That's definitely my father's watching-TV posture. And there was nothing else to capture attention down at the other end of the room. - tterrace]

Choice of Newspapers

In 1961 Marin County you would have had your choice of four daily newspapers:

S.F. Chronicle
S.F. Examiner
S.F. Call-Bulletin
San Rafael Independent-Journal

[We always took the I-J and one SF afternoon paper. At this time, the Call-Bulletin was called the News-Call Bulletin following its 1959 merger with the SF News. - tterrace]

They thought themselves happy

Save for a couple of incandescent globes and a tube-chassis TV set, there's not a single electrical (let alone electronic) device in the room, and certainly none that could be called "personal." How ever did we get by?

Every Dad's Chair?

There was only one leather chair (recliner) in my house too, and ONLY Dad sat in it (when he was home). During the day, when he was at work, it was first come, first serve; the minute he walked in the door, the chair (if occupied) was immediately vacated.

Would that happen today? There seemed to be a great deal more respect for parents when I was a kid....

Mine are both gone, and I miss them terribly. I would give up my leather chair in an instant if Dad could walk through the door today.

No violets...

...but that is a mighty fine teasel arrangement

Oh, what News!

What ever's on tv must be pretty interesting because the newspaper is dropped instead of set aside. Your comment of the love/hate relationship really cracked me up tterrace. I've killed many violets but I still think they're beautiful. Maybe I'll get more this spring?

Is that tape on your glasses?

Or are you just glad to see me?

Does Bob have the too-cliche-to-be-true 1960s Cal Poly guy masking-tape-glasses thing going on?

[Reflection/refraction of camera flash on the edge of one lens of his glasses. - tterrace]

 
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