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.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:


Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Candid Living Room: 1955

Candid Living Room: 1955

Previously in our living room we saw what it looked like with the family dressed up and posed formally. Here's what real, every-day life was like, captured by my brother in this candid, available light shot on 35mm Kodak Tri-X on April 21, 1955. Newspapers strewn around on the floor; my mother in her ubiquitous apron with her hair up in curlers; Father with his slippers kicked off, looking up from his paper (looks like our local Marin County daily, the San Rafael Independent-Journal) across the room at the TV. What that giant pile of stuff is next to my mother I haven't been able to figure out; some big, fabric-related project of hers perhaps. Where am I? My guess: behind my brother, on the floor, eyes glued to the TV. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

We almost know them

Their photographic series of black and white vignettes causes us to stop and melt in nostalgic wallowing, while for most others it's no more than vague reminisce, but the connection is there, so we persist, and share our lives, happy to show that we are all the same at heart, regardless of race, creed or social standing, this is America at its best, I say, how say you all?

Curlers and walls

In regards to curlers, I'll just mention that prcrstn8 hit the nail on the head and say no more about that. As to seattlekid's speculation about the vintage of the walls, our house was built in 1906 as a Presbyterian church. Our front porch had been the bottom portion of the belfry. Just a few years later, the congregation moved to the neighboring town of Corte Madera and the building remained vacant until 1923 when it was purchased and remodeled as a dwelling. My folks bought it in 1941 (for $3000!). The walls and ceilings were plywood overlaid with plaster stippling. In the most recent sale a couple years ago, the house apparently went for somewhere around $1,500,000. Not the Larkspur I grew up in.

Walls and ceilings

This house was built before 1955 before the era of drywall construction. This looks just like the living room of the house we had built in 1953 that had wet plaster walls and a coved ceiling and what looks like a moulding, which I think was plaster, to separate the wall from the ceiling. We would paint the ceiling white, the walls light blue.

She let him live?

Clearly, your mom never saw this photo. Jeez, I'd have had my ears set on fire if I so much as mentioned that mom had her hair in curlers, never mind taking a photo of her like that!

Leave It to Tterrace

Nice observation, Anonymous. That piece of trim that fakes the viewer into thinking it's a ceiling is the first thing I usually notice when watching sitcoms. The perspective of this photo also makes it appear that the walls (at least the left side) do not meet at 90° angles, but something much wider, just like sitcom rooms.

Judge not, lest ye be judged

Styles at that time required curling of the hair so when did you do it? Like many women, I worked outside the home so, even worse than wearing pins during the day, I rolled my hair at night and had to sleep on the things not to mention that my new husband had to sleep with them too. When curling irons came back on the scene, now electric, out went the curlers.

The Beav

Your name wouldn't be Cleaver would it?

Going somewhere?

Why did moms always have a head full of rollers or pin curls? I thought the point back then was to look good for your man when he got home, but I remember my mother with a never-ending head scarf and picky, picky bobby pins underneath it.


I think the fabric is upholstery fabric. It looks like there are some springs and arm rests underneath the fabric, so I suspect that your mom was upholstering a chair!

Don't Touch That Dial

"It's the the Tterrace Show, sponsored by the North American Lighting and Lamp Council, in cooperation with the California Curtain Advisory Board!"

Father Knows Best

Did you grow up on a sitcom soundstage? Or is there a ceiling up there somewhere?

Adopt Me

I think you have the all American family. If I could go back in time, do you think you mom and dad would adopt me? Tell us more about your parents. What did your dad do for a living? Did mom work (of course, being a mom is a full time job).

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2018 Shorpy Inc.