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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

Ol Sparkplug

Ol Sparkplug

My aunt and my dad as kids (obviously) running around the front yard pretending to be a horse. Since this takes coordination of two people, I imagine they didn't play too much in this.

Sparkplug & Barney

Another view of Sparkplug here.

Sparkplug

Sparkplug, as any dedicated comic strip reader can tell you, was Barney Google's horse. According to one source, "Barney was one of nature's victims -- the man everyone picked on." Sparkplug preferred to race in his patched blanket, which "did not affect his performance."

The strip "enriched" the language with phrases like "heebie-jeebies" and "yardbird." In later years, Barney met up with Snuffy Smith and his folk in hillbilly country.

Pantomime horse

My guess is that Ol' Sparkplug was for some school play or pageant, or maybe a parade? Also, a nice view of a classic 1940s housing development. Where is this? UPDATE: That question got answered in your other photo. I was going to guess Southern California.

 
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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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