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About the Photos

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 • LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Summer Games: 1938

Summer Games: 1938

Summer 1938. "New York street scene -- boys playing." Photo by Jack Allison for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

 

Kings County

Brownstones with large elaborate stoops like these are more characteristic of Brooklyn than of Manhattan. There's a good chance that the picture is from one of the older Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Prospect Heights or Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Those shoes!

3 of the 4 visible boys appear to be wearing Frye athletic shoes. Founded in 1863, Frye's was the oldest shoe company in America, and one of the most popular. A pair of Frye athletic shoes like the ones these boys are wearing, now cost about $150. The other lad appears to be wearing plain toe dress Oxfords, which also never seem to go out of style.

Skully

I grew up in the Bronx in the 50's. Skully was a common summer pastime. We used to draw the box with old plaster we found in the vacant lots and true to the name of the game we would put a skull in the center box which was # 13.

More to the picture

One of the most-fascinating things about Shorpy pictures is that there's always something more to so many scenes than we first visualize.

For instance, I wonder why the center youngster has an eye patch over his left eye? I doubt they treated many kids in this neighborhood for "lazy eye" in 1938. Maybe he suffered an injury.

Plus, the ornateness of the porch stair bannisters shows a true artist's touch. Today, they're molded in a factory and placed, with darn little creativity.

Killer Diller

Those boys are playing Skully or Skelly. A great game. "I am the killer diller of this game!"

 
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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