SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
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About the Photos

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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More Mid-Century Modern Lessons: 1956

More Mid-Century Modern Lessons: 1956

Just about every family has a picture of their kidlets playing with adult shoes. What makes this picture worth sharing is everything in it that isn’t me and my mother’s shoes. Specifically it is a picture of the floor to ceiling windows that ran along the fronts and backs of the “Levittowner” model of ranch house built in 1953, the very mid-century modern coffee table that my parents bought to furnish this trendily modern post-war tract house, and the fireplace which was central to the living area.

The Levittowner houses were open concept sixty years before anyone coined that term. Half the house was three tiny bedrooms with one bathroom. The other half was one big room with this modern brick behemoth down the center. In one corner were kitchen appliances. Everything else was just open space. I am standing in the living room. Behind me is the kitchen area, and the reflection of the darn flash bulb that washes out the details of my face and clothes. In 1953 and later versions of this house, the fireplace is open on two sides. In the 1952 version of this house the same fireplace is open on three sides. But all versions of this house have this huge brick thing as a defining feature of the home.

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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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