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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 • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Our Gang: 1908

Our Gang: 1908

"Game of craps. Cincinnati, Ohio. August 1908." Back in the good old days when kids made their own low-tech fun. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Consigliere

I get the feeling that the kid holding up the building is Tom Hagen to our fancy-pants shooter's Don Michael Corleone - protecting his interests from local cops, snoopy social reforming photographers, and kids who protest too much when a set of loaders gets swapped into the game.

What were they playing for?

I don't see any money anywhere, on the ground or in their hands. Was it just for fun? Also, I'd love to go back in time and give the poor kid with the bandaged toes a pair of shoes.

A useful skill

As noted by Mr Mel, in ten years probably all of these boys would be doughboys and knowing how to shoot craps would be a useful skill in the barracks or in the trenches or below decks. One could pass the time and perhaps pick up a little cash for one's next leave. "Come on, little Joe from Kokomo".

Playing Games

That chalked hopscotch layout -- very convenient if the local flatfoot strolls around the corner.

[Maybe what our parents said was true -- hopscotch leads to craps! - Dave]

Coal

The boy on the right is sitting on a coal chute. The kid looking straight into the camera is one tough cookie!

Wow.

Look at the look on that kid's face. He's not Fredo for sure.

Teams

I'm guessing this game was Socks vs. Skins.

Tough Bunch

This is a rough looking crew . The young man leaning against the building is one shifty looking guy. The shooter and the kid sitting on the window ledge are shoeless and something tells me that they didn't lose their footwear shooting craps. The oddity is the boy sitting on the sidewalk. He appears to be cleaner, is wearing a bow-tie and a reasonably new pair of boots. In their future is a World War and the Great Depression. It would be interesting to find out what happened to them.

Those were the good old days

Those were the good old days when kids could take a break from their OSHA-nightmare work environments and gamble barefoot in the streets, smoking and cussing like sailors.

On the plus side, at least they weren't fat.

 
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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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