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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Young America: 1959

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Young America: 1959

Circa 1959. "Swimming pool." Not just any swimming pool, but an Esther Williams prefab above-ground swimming pool. I wonder if any of these survive. Color transparency by Frank Scherschel, Life magazine photo archive. View full size.

Lawn chairs

I found one of those lawn chairs in a thrift store last year for $2. It's got yellow webbing. My cat sat on it once and the webbing, which was at least 45 years old, broke. But I saved the chair for nostalgia's sake.

[That webbing (nylon? fiberglas?) had a distinctive smell. And those chairs, especially the chaises, could pinch your little-kid fingers really easy. - Dave]

Great pools!

We had an Esther Williams Carousel Pool from the early 70's that we just took down -- November 2008. The decking was still good, we just didn't have a use for it as our children are grown. It was a fabulous pool and served our family well.

Esther Williams Pools

I'm a pool builder. We don't do much with above ground stuff, but the Esther Williams line of pools is the BEST of all of the above ground jobs and it's what we recommend to customers. (If they can afford them, the Williams stuff costs a lot more than some of the other brands)

Esther and I

Esther Williams is 87 and lives in Beverly Hills. Her Web site has a swimwear store. In the 1950s I saw all of her swimming movies and had a heavy adolescent crush on her. Thanks for bringing those memories back.

Esther Williams pools today

It appears that the company still exists, with several styles to choose from.

http://www.estherwilliamspools.com/estherw-index.htm

[Fascinating. Though I gotta say I like the midcentury model in the 1959 photo more than any of the current offerings. - Dave]

Moon Shot

This cheeky teen is now a 66-year-old man collecting Social Security. Hike 'em up, Sir.

Esther W.

Some friends of ours had a very similar pool up until about 5 years ago. I wish I could remember how old they said it was at the time they finally got rid of it.

Even in 1959

Who knew? Even back then, suburbia had a crack problem.

 
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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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