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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Lust Babies: 1920

Lust Babies: 1920

Washington, D.C., 1920. "Lust baby show." Which is probably not what it sounds like -- a baby contest at Poli's theater organized by cinema impresario Sidney Lust would be our guess. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

 

Washington's Prize Baby

A baby contest, indeed. See the clipping below from the June 21, 1920 Star. ("Kafka's" refers to a prominent local retailer of children's clothing.)

From the Library of Congress, we also have a photo of the judges sorting through photos of entrants.

Transparency

One thing I love about little kids candid pictures is that they have not yet become trained to put on fake happy faces to conceal their real moods and thoughts and seeing their expressions and creating a caption can become a humorous and amusing pastime. The boy in the Columbo trench coat stands out with his attire. Who knew they came in such small sizes?

When I was 8 and my brother was born, my two older sisters (ages 12 & 13) just adored him and he was our very own crown prince. At the time a N.Y.C. Sunday newspaper (I'm thinking it was the Mirror) was running a "Charming Child" contest, for several years, where people could send in kids' pictures just to have them published in the Sunday magazine section. Well Sir, we sent in frequent submissions week after week because we all thought he was amazingly gorgeous and would definitely be in the paper since he was so irresistibly adorable but after 3 yrs. and countless pictures, he never made the cut, not once. Looking back I suppose he had a face only his family could love, but eventually he grew out of it. Sorry bro but we tried.

The children are unhappy

Because they're missing out on the Roaring 20's. The drab, dreary 40's will be their decade.

Stink Eye

Love the expression on the little girl at bottom left. It casts doubt on her enthusiasm for participation. I think she has a point.

Happy-kid-count

I really tried, but the highest happy-kid-count I could come up with on this photo was 1.5.

 
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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