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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 • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Christmas in July: 1915

Christmas in July: 1915

"Raymond Dickey. Christmas 1915." View full size. Nat'l Photo glass negative.

 

Tin Man Ornament

Is that a Tin Man ornament above the ear of the small boy in the sailor suit? The Wizard of Oz was published in 1900. I love this site. Thanks Dave.

Lil' Orphan Annie

But pencil lead to a print... or scraping a negative none too gingerly...

[Would look a uniform black, not a gradation of grays, and jagged at the edges (these are all scanned from the original glass negatives -- there are no prints). Plus their eyes look perfectly normal for an indoor shot at night. - Dave]

Jeepers Creepers

Where'd they get those peepers? Looks like the retoucher was a little over-zealous... I've seen other photos like this, with the pupil of the eye provided with a dot of pencil lead.

[There's no retouching here. And pencil lead applied to a negative would result in a white pupil. - Dave]

Old Ornaments

I too have a handful of old ornaments in my possession. They belonged to my mother's parents, who are gone now. Some of them date from their first Christmas together, in 1937. If I take some of their photographs and a magnifying glass, I can spot a few of them on their tree at the time.

Luckily my grandfather had some odd habits such as photographing the interiors of every house he owned (once they'd set up) and I have a record of basically all the houses they lived in from 1937-1973 when they moved the last time.

Bells, birds, little cabins, puppies, and angels. Wonderful.

Need a Little Christmas

Like the song from "Mame" goes, "We need a little Christmas" on a currently hot and steamy NYC afternoon. The size of that tree is enormous...they were probably decorating it since Thanksgiving. I'm also with tterrace that the 30s and 50s ornaments looked identical: forever old, just as fragile.

Ornament survival

I'm astonished. Those could be the ornaments on our tree in the 1950s. I knew we had some really old ones from my mother's family, including a couple that still had wax drippings on them, but practically all our ornaments were like this; there's at least one exact duplicate insofar as I can tell in black and white. I had no idea they were that old, or that those traditional designs were kept in production so long.

1910 Census

With a quick scan of the 1910 census, I found a Raymond Dickey that lived on Otis Place in Washington D.C. He's listed as a lawyer, which by the look of him, I could certainly believe. If my calculations are right, he should be about 37 in the picture. His wife, Rose, would be 36. The oldest son would be 12, and the daughter would be 9. The youngest would be below 5 since he isn't on the 1910 census. They must have been pretty well-to-do since the census lists them having two servants as well.

My grandparents

had the clip-on birds on their tree and I loved playing with them as a kid! Is that really an ear of corn or a German type pickle ornament?

Icicles

Good ol' lead tinsel. In our house, it was required to be applied by us children--one. strand. at. a. time. or. else. My brother and I enjoyed gathering the imperfect and leftover pieces into near-lethal balls to throw at each other.

Ornaments

I have a box of Christmas ornaments that belonged to my grandparents, maybe 50 years old. They're pretty well preserved, with nary a sound-chip to be had. My grandfather's method of applying tinsel was to take a fistful and hurl it at a spot on the tree.

It's interesting to see how the designs of ornaments have changed to reflect what people consider festive. I see an ear of corn, and a scary disembodied head (oer the little sailor boy's shoulder). I really like those little clip-on birds. And really, that's got to be a HUGE tree for them to sit underneath it like that.

[Below, the whole thing. - Dave]

 
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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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