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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

Dance!

Dance!

Mid-Fifties Los Angeles. Medium format safety negative. View full size.

Auntie Meme

Table Lady resembles just about everyone's visiting aunt back then. I remember this pose very well. Cigarette elbow on table and nonchalant look as they gabbed away in the kitchen. Usually surrounded by a fog of cigarette smoke. In my case, the tumbler would have been replaced by a cup of coffee and a box of donuts or Italian pastries.

Mama's back porch dance

I think the girl facing the camera is the daughter of the more mature lady. Look at her facial features and then tell me she isn't. Also, could this be the screened-in porch of the party house? As to the dance, my wife says it looks like they are doing the "Monkey" from the early 60's.

"What're You Lookin' at?"

"Take a picture, it'll last longer."

I can think of so many comments being made by the older lady enjoying a drag and a drink and it is obvious she ain't takin' any crap from anyone. Love this picture. (If you are good to momma, momma's good to you.)

Red, Green, Blue

We had those aluminum tumblers--in red, green and blue. When filled with ice cubes and a drink, they hurt your teeth--sort of like chewing aluminum foil.

Going Doe

In the 50's and 60's at high school dances the girls danced together. No one ever gave it a second thought.

Dance Quiz

Five points for knowing which girl is leading. Ten points for knowing what beat they're on. Let's assume it's a simple jitterbug beat...step, tap, step, tap, rock-step. [gratuitous hint: leader starts on left foot, follower with the right]

Aluminum tumblers

My grandparents had some of those aluminum tumblers and I *loved* them. (They were already 30+ years old when I used them, probably.) Perfect to drink sweet tea out of. The sugar would sort of coagulate at the bottom the way she made it, so you had cold, syrupy goodness at the end.

When my grandparents died and their house was being cleaned out, my mom and her siblings tossed the tumblers! I was so upset. There was one remaining that I got. But this year, my mom found me a new set for my birthday! Not quite as special as the old ones would have been, but I still love them.

50's or something

I remember girls wearing skirts and blouses like that in the early 60's in my college days. The smoking lady looks a little removed from the fun. This photo brings back all kinds of memories of good times and good people.

Al

tterrace beat me to it. The tumbler is such a great indicator of when the shot was taken. Can remember a vendor who had a live display of how to make an aluminum tumbler. That memory would have to be about 55 years ago. Basically a little lathe that spun a blank of aluminum and shaped it in a few minutes while a crowd was drawn to his stall.

Hey, Mabel

Goodness. It's Reta Shaw from "The Pajama Game"!

The tumbler and so much more

The most 50s thing to me is the translucent fiberglass patio roof, supported by clear, old-growth redwood beams that have been perfectly nailed by a carpenter who knew that the nails were going to show, and cared, and who used a hammer instead of a pneumatic staple gun. And that roof is new: no dust smears or cobwebs on the beams. Then there's the "Early American" ceiling lamp, and the redwood patio bench under the card table, and the table's white cotton damask tablecloth. The girls' slim sheath skirts and blouses look like the later 50s to me, but that's an iffier file in my memory.

How do we know it's the 50s?

Anodized aluminum tumbler.

 
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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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