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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Sleigh Ride: 1951

Sleigh Ride: 1951

          When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

"Centerpiece Christmas Day -- Dec. 25, 1951." 35mm color slide by Grace or Hubert Tuttle, our latest episode of Minnesota Kodachromes. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

By the early 60's. . .

. . . bits and pieces of family early 50's decor was broken and bits merged into a wonderful family muddle. I think we used leftover plastic reindeer in our early 60's nativity displays.


PS Are those little red lights?

No, those are "cranberries". Little red lights hadn't been invented, yet.

When I married 47 years ago, along with my wife I also got a 12 oz. can (the can itself had originally been used for packaging de-pitted black olives) filled with several dozen of these "cranberries". They are painted plaster balls, on wire.

Our first Christmas ornament.

I still have that can, and it's cranberries. We proudly display those "cranberries" on our tree - as we have every year - and they are this year.

I identify strongly with the Tuttles.

More like Devil Hair

Long a staple in our Christmas decor, until the year my brother dropped a wad of it down my back, giving me a good hearty slap and a vigorous rub.

Next year was spray snow in a can.

Small Centerpiece

Leaves more room for the glorious Holiday feast. I'll wager that table was filled to groaning shortly after this photo was taken.

Angel Hair

That fluffy white stuff around the centerpiece was Angel Hair, made from spun glass. It was very popular for decades, but since it was really made from glass, it could cut or scratch you! We used it for Christmas in the 1950s, and I always remember my Mom telling me to be careful when touching it. I was scared to death to touch it, I imagined a thousand tiny cuts all over my hands! It looks amazing, but eventually was replaced in popularity by other types of fake snow. You can still find it today on the internet, and in some decorating stores.

Does anyone know

which one is Olive, the other reindeer?


What a beautiful centerpiece; I would love to have one of these for my table.

My folks had that sleigh!

But their reindeer were white plastic, not chrome plated.

Another Home

Another home of the 50's was my parents who had the same Santa sleigh and reindeer.

Beautiful Centerpiece

The creator of this beautiful centerpiece was motivated, bold and courageous. This Minnesota family definitely has artistic talent. From photography, to dressmaking, and an obvious zest for life; this family is admirable.

PS Are those little red lights?

[No. - Dave]

My Mom Still Has These

...and I have seen them every Christmas since 1966, though they clearly date from an earlier decade.

Glassware ubiquity

Grace and Hubert have my mother's tumblers. I have the last surviving one of hers.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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