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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 • A CHRISTMAS JOKE WITH A POINT TO IT

Santa Fe: 1920

Santa Fe: 1920

Circa 1920. "George Barkhausen's Christmas tree." Yet another tastefully understated tree-n-train yuletide display. National Photo Co. View full size.

 

And A Partridge In A Pear Tree

My tree is positively boring compared to this one. I love how much detail went into the village - the tiny lampposts and the small rocks for the paths. Someone put a lot of time, love and effort into this Christmas scene. Beautiful!

Tiny World

What a nice little town under the tree. I like the dog standing guard at the fence. Putting up these decorations must have been an all-day affair. I also like the landscape painting on the right wall. Ironic, too, that the light fixture on the ceiling has come back into style with a vengeance.

Good enough for Macy's window

The little black doll supposedly was made in honor of the Amos and Andy characters from the popular radio show of the day. My aunt gave me one for my 1948 birth. I called her "AmbroSandra," my interpretation of the writing on her neck. In 1975 my parents sold their home and contents, including my AmbroSandra. Mean, eh?

She had a bitten off little finger...if you have her please give her back.

Putt-Putt

Yikes. All this needs is a windmill and a putting green. If they aren't there already.

Water Features

There also appears to be real water in the fountain in front of the tree -- the surface is darker in a circular area surrounding it. How I would love to see that dollhouse up close!

Robert Frost in Reverse

Makes me think of the Robert Frost poem:

She had no saying dark enough
For the dark pine that kept
Forever trying the window latch
Of the room where they slept.
The tireless but ineffectual hands
That with every futile pass
Made the great tree seem as a little bird
Before the mystery of glass!
It never had been inside the room,
And only one of the two
Was afraid in an oft-repeated dream
Of what the tree might do.

Deck the Halls

If this was any more understated, we'd have to call the police! That's a lot of craftwork for a Christmas tree stand. I bet it weighs a ton and takes up a good bit of storage space in the stables.

I see a nice old Victrola on the right of the photo, and the marble blockage on the fireplace is tastefully decorated with brickwork stripes.

Railroad Danger

Those rails cross a water filled fishing pond on the right. You can see water flowing over the wheel and boats in the circulating stream. Playing with this layout could have shocking results.

Interesting

Lots of interesting things in this picture. The fireplace seems to closed off. It doesn't look like actual bricks but maybe some sort of patterned board. There is an Afro-American doll in the lower left of the display right behind a building with some sort of wires comming out of the roof. There is also a model of a house with a large porch with steps going up to it sort of hidden behind the tree on the left of the picture. Lots of other neat stuff.

A fitting scene

Holy mackerel, that looks like the set for Laurel & Hardy's Babes in Toyland (aka March of the Wooden Soldiers). That also has to be the most precise tree/ceiling fit we've seen this year. Presumably other arrangements have been made for Santa's midnight ingress and egress.

Oh What Fun

Someone had an awful lot of fun setting up the train display. It looks like real water falling onto the water wheel, but I can't imagine that it is. Is that a black Kewpie doll in the corner? I've never seen one before.

 
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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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