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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 • NORWAY IN SEPTEMBER, c. 1920s

Broadway Santa: 1902

Broadway Santa: 1902

New York circa 1902. "Santa Claus on Broadway." Collecting donations for Volunteers of America. Detroit Publishing Co. glass negative. View full size.

 

Then as now

Santa really had to tighten his belt!

Street View

Re: Holdout

The building in the "Macy's notch" at the corner of 34th and Broadway in 1911.

Undercover

Again, nobody is hatless.

That kind of Santa

We have some old Christmas tree ornaments from the early 20th century - and that is how Santa looks. As a kid, I was always interested in his hood and robe and the fact that he was not particularly fat!

Holdout

That building with the Presto sign is one of New York's great architectural "holdout" buildings. Macy's couldn't acquire that one corner when it built its current store, so there's a notch in the building.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/21/realestate/streetscapes-the-macy-s-not...

This picture appears to show the original corner building, which was torn down not long after the store opened in 1902, and replaced with a five-story building that still stands.

Sandalf!

Amazing how the look of Santas has evolved. This guy looks more like Sandalf The Red than a 21st Century Santa.

UPA-esque

The Presto billboard is based on the style of Gelett Burgess' "The Goops and How Not to Be Them," a bestselling book of the time that was still in print in the 1950s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goops

Burgess' style may have had an influence on the later UPA animation style. I think the Presto billboard is very well designed.

Lean & Mean

Everybody in this photo is lean & mean: Santa, the men looking on and the woman with the dead minks hanging around her neck.

Different world back then when u had to chase critters to eat and then wear their pelts around your neck as prizes.

How much for this Bot?

Santa looks like a duded-up Jawa from Tatooine.

Ho ho hungry!!

Santa's first job: Empty the collection bucket and head to Delmonico's for a steak!

Presto

The illustrations on that Presto billboard look amazingly like a style more popular in the 1950-60s.

[That's what I thought too. The advertising for Presto was nothing if not progressive. The first teaser ads don't even say what the product is. Then they go from cryptic to merely puzzling, featuring a stick-figure family with a cat named Waffles. Eventually we learn that Presto is "quick-flour." Ads below are from 1902. - Dave]

Pre-Coke Santa

Interesting to see a picture of an American Santa Claus prior to the change in appearance brought on by the Coke Advertisements in the 1930's. This is a much more European looking Santa Claus.

Spectacle on 34th Street

At the far right is the old New York Herald Building (1893) by McKim, Mead & White, which stood on the trapezoidal block bounded by 35th and 36th streets, Broadway and Sixth Avenue. This means that Santa is standing on the southwest corner of 34th Street and Broadway, across from Macy's.

Street Theater '03

It looks like Merlin is trying to make Santa reappear.

Transformation

It's most interesting to see how this Santa has a much more traditional costume than those we see today.

 
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