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

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
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

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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Home Again: 1918

Home Again: 1918

"Army soldiers, Walter Reed Hospital." Back from the trenches in Washington, D.C., circa 1918. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Knitting as therapy

Knitting and other needle crafts were widely used as occupational therapy during both World Wars. It also was used in refugee camps in Asia Minor (according to one of my old needlework magazines) as a coping mechanism for children, to soothe them and get them to calm down. Speaking as a knitter/tatter/seamstress/etc, I find most forms of needle crafts very soothing.

And logistically it is a great choice as needles and yarn are portable and don't take up lots of storage space (unless you have a stash as large as mine).

Heavy Knitting

When you are using either a sock (shown) or flatbed knitting machine, you use weights to pull on, or tension, the already knit material. It keeps the knitted stitches out of the way of the ones currently on the needles. There are groups solely devoted to antique sock knitting machines and a company in New Zealand that produces new sock knitting machines based upon the antique machines.

http://autoknitter.com/

Weighty

What were the hanging weights for? Maybe to keep tension on the yarn?

An old yarn

I would love to have that knitting machine!

On a side note, speaking of "women's work," my dear grandfather took up cross-stitching when recuperating after World War II. He enjoyed it immensely and found it to be very relaxing. He kept it up until his death in 2007. He would do a couple stitches on whatever he was working on each day after smoking his after lunch pipe. He made gorgeous tablecloths and other items as gifts for everyone in the family.

Women's Work?

Tell that to Rosie Grier. And if you don't know who Rosie is, Google him.

[And if that doesn't work, try googling Rosey Grier. - Dave]

Women's work?

If you look at the history of knitting, it was solely men's work at one point, when it was mostly used to produce caps and stockings. Before the various knitting machines came along, there were entire villages in England devoted to knitting stockings, and then it was the work of the whole family. Only when knitting became less necessary and more of a recreational activity did it become solely women's work.

During the war, knitting was pushed on everyone, regardless of age or gender, as a way to help the war effort. It was considered therapeutic for patients, and probably wasn't humiliating at all.

Smoke Em if You Got Em

Check out the burning cigarette by the young lady.

From man's work to women's work

It seems odd that soldiers who had recently been engaged in that most masculine of work--war--should have been given women's work to do in their recuperation. It could have been either very soothing or very humiliating.

Got Yarn?

"Yeah I knit. You got a problem with that?"

Looks like

They made their own robes.

Thousand-yard stare

Looks like the shell shock hasn't quite worn off yet.

999 scarves left to go

The guy on the right appears to need a bit more rehab.

Stick to your knitting

The man on the left is using a circular sock knitting machine, which is a pretty cool (and rather complicated) gadget.

http://www.oldtymestockings.com/CSMMuseum.html

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.