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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Li'l Skeptics: 1943

Li'l Skeptics: 1943

Washington, D.C. July 1943. "Spectators at the parade to recruit civilian defense volunteers." Medium-format negative by Esther Bubley, OWI. View full size.

 

They Look So Cereal!

These kids look like they were the models used for the signature character for Frankenberry cereal from General Mills. In our family, we used to say someone with such an expression was "pooty-mouthed." Where that came from, I do not know, but it seems like a pretty descriptive and self-explanatory word.

Fashion-forward

I see the wearing of the dark socks and shoes with the short pants began early in that generation, and persists to this day.

Just drop your trash in the street...

Looks like the streets were everybody's waste receptacle. I do remember finding cigarette packs, gum wrappers, and all manner of rubble in the streets when I was very young, we used to save found tobacco coupons, redeemable cigarette freebies, chewing gum give-away points, soda pop caps AND cigar bands that we wore as rings (yeah, we were poor). These youngsters look absolutely miserable and yet we never were. They appear to have lived in a cave. This pic does bring the memories flooding back, thank you.

D.A.

There's something very Diane Arbus about this photo. I love it.

Siblings

But probably not twins. Just notice the difference in size. Sister's peripherals are vastly more robust, even if brother's CPU is somewhat close in capacity. That their countenances are so alike is remarkable. I'd say they are twins separated by a year or so.

Seersucker bibs

Yes, its definitely July in D.C. If I had to squeeze in on that curb to watch a lame-o parade in the middle of a D.C. summer, I'd be a touch crabby myself.

Esther Bubley

Shorpy is leading the much-deserved revival of interest in Esther Bubley. Born in 1921, he was younger than most of the photographers associated with Roy Emerson Stryker's documentary projects in the 1930s and 1940; by the time Esther went to work for him in 1942, the Farm Security Administration had been absorbed into the Office of War Information. Probably only Jack Delano and Gordon Parks (both well represented on Shorpy) caught the look of the World War II homefront as compellingly as she did.

Esther died in 1998. Aperture's 2005 collection of her photos is a fine tribute.

Accessories

I'll bet they still looked like this when they were 60.

On the other hand, Cool Aunt is smokin'! One can still make the dress, buy the purse in a good vintage shop, & procure the specs via the intertubes. The ring might be a special order.

Depending on where you are starting from, you might need some meatloaf and whole milk to approximate the figure. Yum!

Cool Aunt is also sans hose - a delightful byproduct of wartime nylon & silk shortages.

Curbed

If twins are indeed telepathic, these two are having a serious conversation about something. Either that or the drunk clown just threw up.

Disappointed

They look like they had been told there'd be ice cream "before" the parade!

A family face

These two obviously look just as much like Mommy or Daddy as they look like one another (and they also look like they thought this parade was going to be much more entertaining).

And I covet everything worn by the lady on the right -- dress, purse, and especially the shades she's holding. I wonder if she's those kids' designated Cool Aunt.

Double the pleasure

Twin sourpusses! This must be the worst parade ever. Esther Bubley had the sense to turn her camera away from the event, and she captured a priceless moment others probably missed.

 
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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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