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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

Free Parking: 1937

Free Parking: 1937

September 1937. "Drugstore in Washington, D.C." Marked down from 35¢: Vince, now just 29 cents. Medium-format negative by John Vachon. View full size.

 

Child abandonment

Those who grew up in the 1950s and before were left outside on the pavement in our strollers or prams whenever our mothers shopped. As well, it was considered very healthy for a baby to sleep out in the pram, even on brisk days, well wrapped up. Not just for general health but to prevent Tuberculosis.

When I was crawling, my mother also put me out in the back yard in my harness which was tied to a large screw into the lawn so I couldn't wander off. She would come out periodically to check on me and to move my toys back into reach.

Leaving the children out unattended in the pram stopped after the time when we went to the local indoor swimming pool one sunny summer day in 1964. My mother pushed the stroller in under the shrubbery with my baby sister, just a few weeks old, in it and started up the stairs. I was horrified! I made a big fuss because I was worried someone would steal her. "Who would do THAT?" My mother asked. I made such a stink that my mother went and got my sister and brought her inside with us.

When we came out, we discovered that there had been a flash rainstorm and the pram, one of those deep British ones, was full to the brim with water. Neither of us said a word but neither me sister or my brother who followed two years later was ever again left alone in the pram.

Prams in East Berlin

We were in Germany for the last three years before the Berlin Wall came down. Being a military family, at the time, we had special privileges there. One thing I noticed right away was all of the baby carriages parked outside of stores. Most of them had the babies still in them. In the 80s, no one in American, or even in West Germany, would have left babies unattended. But, there were a few advantages over there and one was a low crime rate, so people were safe leaving their babies alone in their prams while they went inside to shop. Of course, there were also many disadvantages to living there. I know that people in some parts of America did that, at one time.

Babies receiving benign neglect

DavidK, your comment hit home with me - my first summer was also in 1958, and my parents were building an addition to our house. They parked my carriage under a shade tree, and the neighbor lady would come and get my Mom if she heard me crying too much! Times were different, indeed.

Tony's Place

Good Hope Pharmacy was located at 1400 Good Hope Road, S.E. The pharmacy survived till the 1960s. It looks to be the same building today. Later uses include the Southeast Neighborhood Action Board (1970s), a methadone clinic (1980s), and Good Hope Seafood (1990s).


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Those Modess Boxes

Eastman Kodak also provided oversize film boxes for use in drug store display windows. I suspect that the Modess advertising department had the same idea.

Ice Cream!

I have Googled and searched, but can not make out the brand of ice cream. It does seem to have some type of AAA approval!

[Wadrex Ice Cream was a brand name owned by Colonial Ice Cream Co. of Washington, D.C. -tterrace]

Overstock?

Seems like the good druggist may have bought more feminine products than he had room for in the stock room.

I see Sal Hepatica is on sale. That company along with Ipana Toothpaste sponsored Fred Allen's Town Hall Tonight in the late '30s. "Ipana Toothpaste for the smile of beauty and Sal Hepatica for the smile of health!"

Modess-because

Does anyone remember the ads for this product in 1950s and 1960s women's magazines, like McCall's and Ladies Home Journal? They featured a photo of a glamorous fashion model dressed in a designer gown, standing on the balcony of a Mediterranean palazzo, gazing at the stars. Below the photo was the line, "Modess-because." At the age of 6 or 7, I had no idea what they were advertising, but if you got to wear a dress like that, I wanted to buy it! A few years later, I discovered that the reality was MUCH less glamorous.

Re: Times have changed

In the first summer of my life, in 1958 in Winnipeg, my mother would leave me in a carriage outside the neighbor's window while she went downtown. If I cried or fussed, the neighbor would hear and tend to my needs. (This is the story I was told.)

My guess

Vince Tooth Powder

[A definite possibility! -tterrace]

So what WAS Vince?

Or, what IS Vince? Never heard of it.

And there's no reason to google it since so many Shorpy-ites probably know the answer already.

[Class? Anyone...? Anyone...? -tterrace]

Times have changed

Today it would be completely unthinkable (not to mention illegal), but back in this photo's era it was quite routine for a parent to leave an infant outside in the carriage while the parent went into a store.

Good Hope Road?

I'm guessing this was somewhere on Good Hope Road, SE, which runs from what was then Nichols Avenue, and Naylor Road, or maybe Alabama Avenue.

Kind of surprised

to see Modess prominently displayed in the front window like that. And what's that bottle cap doing there on the sidewalk? A possible refugee from a game of Skellies?

Young Mickey

On display is an Ingersoll Mickey Mouse watch for 3.25. You can get one on eBay for about that much today!

Someday I'll Find You

Mr. Keen Tracer Of Lost Persons, brought to you on this CBS Radio Station by Kolynos Toothpaste. The headline was the show's theme song. It was on the air from 1937 through 1955.

 
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