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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 • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Who Wants Taffy?

Who Wants Taffy?

The Chicago Civic Opera soprano Florence Macbeth circa 1921 in New Jersey or New York. The concession stand is selling Atlantic City saltwater taffy; the next photo in this series is of a concert at Starlight Amusement Park in the Bronx. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

 

The Minnesota Nightingale

Florence Macbeth was a coloratura soprano and very famous in her day, like a Beverly Sills. She sang all the great roles all over the world. She even has a variety of peony named after her. Fame sure is fleeting, isn't it?

Revenge

Looks like a youthful Robert Blake in the foreground, turning away dejectedly empty-handed.

Hope it didn't cause him trouble later in life.

Do's and Don'ts

Almost every kid in the urchin cluster has the same bad haircut, except for ringletted Shirley Temple wannabe on the right.

Fatimas

"The long cigarette." That was their advertising slogan when they were the sponsor of "Dragnet" on radio.

Fatimas

Favorite smoke of Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op.

And call me a glass-half-full kind of guy, but arms-akimbo man's expression strikes me more as one of bemusement than of disapprobation..

Human Hands

This candy is not touched by human hands... Not yet!

Ashes to ashes...

The Fatima Cigarette sign reminds me of an old saying, once told to me by a friend who was born early in the last century:

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust;
If Camels don't kill you,
Fatimas must.

Akimbo Man!

I love the arms-akimbo man. He looks like someone who disapproves of candy, children, photographers, and women who go on the stage, not necessarily in that order.

Keep the doctor away

I'm tickled by the caramel apples hanging by clothespins over the counters. Makes perfect sense for them to be strung up that way to allow the caramel to dry evenly. All my life I've only ever seen trays of the apples, with each having the flat spot on the bottom/top.

And the man in the back

... said everyone attack, and it turned into a penny blitz. His body language seems to rather say "Well isn't this a fine how-do-you-do!" but using lyrics from a band named Sweet seemed appropriate. Looks like an outing with orphans. I love the tricorn lady MacBeth is wearing, a la Paul Revere. The orphans are coming! The orphans are coming!

It warms the heart

Urchins and Candy.

Good Clean Fun

It appears that teasing children was as much fun in 1921 as it is today.

 
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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