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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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Abide in My Love: 1908

Abide in My Love: 1908

New York City, May 1908. "Children's Aid Society." A tottering array of tots. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.

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Useful skill

I think I know what became of these kids.

Balancing Act

They are (almost) all trying to do their very best to sit still for the camera. The little one holding the ball is particularly sweet. I'd like to adopt them all, but since they were all of my grandmother's generation, they would have had to adopt me instead.


Apparently one of the commandments was to hold still or you'll topple over and split your wee head open on the piano, or the very hard wooden floor. Good grief, that bench is high for those shrimpy little legs. And isn't it interesting that you can kind of tell the boys from the girls despite the baby dresses.

"When boys wore dresses" or "No Seat Belts"

"Tottering" is the right term, by golly. These tiny babies were simply balanced on this too tall bench to wing it on their own, and if they did fall, they would land on their sweet little faces. In fact that third baby from the right looks like he was so poor, he didn't even have a face. In many old photos one can see that little boys wore dresses, sometimes until they actually started school. I guess everything old is new again, huh? Cute photo but it is obvious that some are boys and some are girls and some are of unknown sexuality. Very poignant.

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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