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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Trinity Bootblacks: 1924

Trinity Bootblacks: 1924

July 25, 1924. "Some of the young bootblacks working around Trinity Church, New York City." View full size. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

 

Close Cropped Kids

When my son was growing up in the 70's-80's, he liked his hair cut this way. My dad always wore a crewcut, he preferred it to longer hair. I think I have a picture of my grandfather taken when he was a teenager around 1913 with a haircut like this. I just think it is an easy way to maintain a boy's hair. They seem to like it because they don't have to do anything to it but wash it. Kinda like a lot of men shaving their heads now.

Haircuts

Keeping hair cut short at that time probably kept the head lice problem at a minimum. At least, if an infestation were to occur on a boy, it could be seen faster and treated with the 1920s era medicines.

Hair length more a health matter than a style matter, I'm a thinkin'

Close Cropped Kids

I know that when you join the army or the marines, regulation hair is either bald, butch, or a crewcut, but I was not aware that this was evidently also mandatory for shoeshine boys. The title of this would indicate that they are somehow affiliated with the church, whereas the caption implies that they all merely work in its vicinity. Which is it?

 
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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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