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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Our Gang: 1916

Our Gang: 1916

June 27, 1916. Springfield, Massachusetts. "Street gang, corner Margaret and Water streets -- 4:30 p.m." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

 

Margaret Street & East Columbus Ave

My Aunty Pat(Pasqualina) grew up on Margaret street, and her husband(Nicola Buoniconti, we called him "Uncle Slim") took over her father's bakery(Mercolino's) after he retired.

My First Gun

My first gun was a Red Ryder lever action BB gun. I didn't grow up with dolls, I grew up with guns.

Springfield Story

How much you wanna bet they couldn't dance as well as the Sharks or even da Jets?

Tough looking gang

No, Hine didn't start running after taking this picture, he took another one a few minutes later (or before?). Look for the differences:

They do make them like they used to

For those of you who want your very own Daisy Number 25, the company recently reissued it.

Could be my father

Dad was a 4-year-old living on Margaret Street in 1916.

Pretty well dressed gang

What impresses me is that for the most part these kids are neatly and properly dressed -- I think the tough guy in the middle is playing to the crowd & most probably has his necktie in his pocket- he'll spruce up before going home to Mother.

The building is still there (I think)

This is a Street View at the corner of Margaret and Main. If you look closely at the bottom right of the window. You can see a round metal plate in the pavement. This position correlates with the vent pipe seen in the original photo. The corner entrance has been closed and altered and the entrance is now on Main Street.


View Larger Map

Changes

This is in the South End of Springfield. There are still gangs hanging out there today, but smoking something completely different now.

Uneeda Biscuit!

Whether you know it or not.

The Daisy

I did a quick check, and the pump Daisy was introduced in 1914. Pictures on Daisy site confirm memory; that is almost certainly a Daisy pump.
That young hoodlum is armed and ready to shoot his eye out!
He's the only one with what was likely a pretty high end toy for the day...I bet he allowed the others to plink at pigeons in exchange for cigarettes!

Not a household name

This was 23 years before the "Daisy Red Ryder" gun made the company a household name in 1939. But, Daisy had been making rifles since 1882. When I was a kid I had a Daisy pump gun that could be shot 60 times without reloading. There were several boys in the neighborhood that had BB guns. It's a wonder that we made it to adulthood with both eyes intact.

1916 Kids

I love reading comments from people. These kids were just your average-type kid back then. Everyone smoked (no health issues yet) and all the kids carried BB guns, even to school. It was a much different time back then. I can remember my grandfather telling me he started smoking at the age of 9.

One Chewer in the bunch.

Second from the left, not counting the little kids.

Daisy Model 25

The gun is a Daisy Model 25 BB rifle. For more on its history check out Page 18 of Daisy Air Rifles and BB Guns: The First 100 Years.

*sigh* I still remember my first Daisy.

Tough?

The Cornett boys could kick 'em all up and down the block.

Knickers, and rifles, and guns -- Oh my!

It's pretty hard to look tough in a pair of knickers. You try it! Well done, boys.

Where's Leo Gorcey?

Early version of the Bowery Boys modeling the latest Hart, Schaffner and Marx fashions while enjoying those Royal Nestors.

Tough Looking Bunch

I imagine Hine took this picture and then started running.

ATF

Back when Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was a convenience store, not a Gummint Agency

Calling Prof. Hill

With five of those boys wearing identical newsboy caps, a.k.a. Gatsby hats, do you suppose that represents the "gang colors"? The Gatsby Hat Gang?

Note also: BB guns and 10¢ a pack cigarettes. "Oh, we got trouble!!"

The first wave of..

Mad Men--but without the scotch. Fast forward ten years and they'll probably be running it though, and with a tommy gun instead of a rifle. Love this picture!

Street Toughs

Margaret Street today runs from Main Street just a couple of hundred yards or so down toward the Connecticut River, where it dead-ends at Interstate 91. I have a hunch Water Street may have run parallel to the River back in 1916, decades before the land along the waterfront was taken for the purpose of constructing the highway that now runs from Vermont all the way to New Haven. The Springfield waterfront in the 19-teens was probably teeming with streetwise little roughnecks like these fellows.

Times have changed.

1916 Gangstas!

Armed & Dangerous

Looks like Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall with the East Side Kids! At least that's not an AK47 as you see in gangland today

Go Shorpy!

Ominous Bunch

I fear they didn't amount to much in adulthood. This is another Shorpy masterpiece.

Some things never change

Add about 150 tattoos, 50-odd piercings, spray-on jeans for the girls, and pull the boys' pants down around their knees ... make the rifle an Uzi and make the soundtrack a cacophonous mixture of hiphop and metal, and ... voila! You've got now. What was sad then is still sad today.

Standards of dress

Interesting that in those days even street-corner gangsters wore ties!

When America Was Great

Kids, cigarettes and guns. All was well.

Roll Your Own

This is definitely a pouch and paper crowd.

Uh-oh

These kids creep me out. They could be capable of murder and abuse!

Present arms!

I'd venture a guess thats a Daisy one-pump BB gun that fellow to the left is sporting, presuming Daisy was in business at that time.

 
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