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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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Thanksgiving Maskers: 1911

Thanksgiving Maskers: 1911

November 1911. Before Halloween came into its own as a holiday in this country, there was "Thanksgiving masking," where kids would dress up and go door to door for apples, or maybe "scramble for pennies." View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Links: Yahoo Xtra |

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Goin' beggin

I have a few church members that say they used to "go beggin", as they called it, in the fall (1940 era). They would dress up in old clothes and put on a mask they made out of a paper bag. They would knock on doors and would be invited inside. They would get food items such as cake and apple cider.

I thought it was just perhaps the beginning of trick-or-treating but they both said it was different. Perhaps it was Thanksgiving masking.

Hello Clarice

The little girl at the end looks like the spawn of Hannibal Lecter in that mask thing of hers!

And the old folks say....

I just wonder how many really old folks have remarked that they remember going Thanksgiving masking and nobody believed them, just winked at one another that the old guy or gal was obviously senile. I just wonder. Sadly.

Thanksgiving Maskers

Growing up in the Bronx in the 1940-1950s, we also had kids in homemade disguises, singing for pennies in yards behind the rows of five-story apartment houses. This was like a holdover from Halloween.

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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