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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

A Sandwich for Junior: 1955

A Sandwich for Junior: 1955

May 3, 1955. "Family picnicking and barbecuing outdoors." Color transparency from photos by Arthur Rothstein and Bob Dierks for the Look magazine assignment "America Is Bit by the Barbecue Bug." View full size.

 

Red checkerboard picnic blanket

I had similar outings with my family in the 1960s -1970s, sometimes with relatives or family friends, going to local and state parks and picnicking under a shade tree. The red checkerboard picnic blanket and wicker basket were always with us. All the food was precooked and cold, but getting warmer. Cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, bread, potato and macaroni salad, boiled eggs, meatballs or meatloaf, and sometimes prepared sandwiches, along with either punch or soda. The kids spent most of the time playing ball, or frisbee, while the parents sat around and chat and had a nice time out in nature. It was a simpler time, and it was always worth the time it took to get there. Being idle was part of the charm. Lots of pleasant memories of simpler times.

So Fifties!

That's so mainstream '50s, it's hard to bear. The upside may have been that maybe, just maybe, they didn't litter their picnic site.

Besides, I can never help but wonder how the contemporary non-"mainstream" other half lived and what it looked like.

Where's the barbecue?

I'm accustomed to those unfortunates who think anything cooked outdoors is barbecue but there is no sign here of cooked or hot food or means of even warming it.

[That would be in the other photos. - Dave]

Tastes like wax!

What do you think the chances are that ANY of the fruit in that basket is real?

Men wear plaid

Women wear stripes.

Low-tech day out.

Kids actually looking around instead of having noses glued to smartphones. Hooray for that! And Dad has discovered another use for the lawnmower gas can.

 
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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