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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 • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Mrs. Gladski: 1938

Mrs. Gladski: 1938

1938. "Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Joe Gladski, wife of a coal miner at Maple Hill." Photo by Sheldon Dick, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

 

Floor lamp base

Note the sturdy base on the floor lamp. Unlike the floor lamps of recent years, it would be nearly impossible to knock it over. My grandmother had a similar one with solid brass stand and pole and an adjustable shade so that you could direct the light exactly where you wanted it. Some things have not improved, (especially stuff that was made to last) and it seems as though most things now are temporary and disposable, even furniture and fixtures.

P.S. Is there a Mrs. Sadski, Madski and Badski somewhere?

Chair Rivets

We had an armchair or two from that vintage when I was a lad. If you threw a golf ball at the chair when Mom wasn't looking and hit one of those rivets dead-on the ball was coming back nine times faster than the speed you threw it. Those rivets could hold a battleship together.

[Those are upholstery tacks. -tterrace]

The rest of the story

Per the 1940 Federal census, the Gladsky family (Joseph and Sophia, their three children, and Joe's father, born in what became Poland but was then the Russian Empire) occupied 422 West Lloyd Street in said town, Shenandoah Borough, Schuylkill Co, PA. Sophia is about 31 in this photo. Joe's job was as an organizer for the coal miners' union (at $2500/year), so he may have been out getting beat up by company goons when Sophia's photo was taken. Joe died in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1961, age about 57. His son, Joe Jr., died at 73 in New Jersey. Sophia herself died in New Jersey in 1996, aged 89 years.

Some interesting touches in this shot are the rather worn armchair with faint shadow of an antimacassar on the back and the apparently new widow casings and baseboard.

Future life of furniture

Mrs. Gladski, where have those shoes been that you feel perfectly comfortable putting them up on the furniture?

Cottage time lag

It would be an interesting project, to study the interiors of summer cottages and see the average lag between their furnishing and fulltime homes.

It would also be useful because it would give you a longitudinal study in which furniture held up the best, especially those which held up long enough to go full circle from
home >> cottage >> antique shop >> much more expensive home.

Future lives of furniture

I wonder how many summer home interiors of the 1950s, like ours, wound up looking like 1930s time capsules?

 
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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