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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 • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Happy News Cafe: 1937

Happy News Cafe: 1937

Washington, D.C., circa 1937. "Elder Michaux for United Mine Workers Fund. Happy News Cafe, 1727 7th St." Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

 

Mugs

Those much loved coffee cups are appropriately called "Diner Mugs". Still available, all over the place.

Little creamer bottles

You young things probably won't register the little glass bottles to the left of the agateware coffee pot. Those are individual creamers. In the diners of my childhood, a full creamer rode along on the saucer when a cup of coffee came to the table.

My parents always took their coffee black, so I was allowed to drink the cream. And it was real half-and-half then. These little glass creamers had disappeared by the time I was six or seven.

Holsum Lives!

Still baking Holsum fresh in Louisiana...a leading brand and favorite of Cajuns.

Next!

That is such a great name for a cafe.

Holsum Bread

Wow, I think Holsum bread must have been around since Adam and Eve!! It's still seen today, here in Canada anyway!

Coffee & Pancakes

Several observations - one, take a look at how close that kitchen walkway is. Hardly enough room to turn around. The man behind the counter facing the camera is slightly stressed but you can tell he's done this before and has it under control. He just wants to keep it that way. Wonder what the packages are stacked up on the counter that say "Holsum"? My guess is bread. I love those coffee cups too. Overall this just looks like a great, happy group of people.

Sunday morning

All the patrons look to be wearing their Sunday go to meeting clothes. The one lady seems to be carrying her Bible and a man farther up in line is getting pancakes. One other thing all the men have removed their hats, yet another custom lost to time.

Civility

The beauty of this picture is the way the people are dressed, the men, including the restaurant workers, all wearing ties and the ladies in hats.

Coffee Cups

I would wager that this coffee cup design is still being produced somewhere... Heavy and timeless design! Coffee just tastes better from a vessel like that. I also love the no smoking sign...

I Am So Happy

Wow! This is the same Elder Michaux that recorded "I Am So Happy", the happiest gospel song I've ever heard. I thought he was from Memphis.

I've never seen a picture of him before.

Brunch

Ooh, looks like brunch after church. I see a couple of leatherbound books under arms which could be Bibles.

And pancakes! I love the enameled coffee pot and the scuffed wooden floor. This is a busy place, and in 1937 the fact that everybody got food -- even if unemployed -- made it definitely a happy place. Not a grim soup kitchen, this.

Coffee Please!

HUGE coffeemakers and mountains of those classic, heavy diner mugs. Makes me want good hot cup of joe.

Signage

What a wonderful 'No Smoking' sign!

Oh, the Ladies!

"Positively NO SMOKING On Account Of the LADIES!"

Best "No Smoking" sign EVER.

You know what struck me?

The people in this photo (both behind the counter and those waiting to be served) actually DO look happy! Count the smiles in this photo... guarantee it will make YOU smile! Thanks for a cheerful end to the day, Dave!

 
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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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