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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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West Covina Christmas Dinner: c. 1950s

West Covina Christmas Dinner: c. 1950s

Due to the underwhelming response to my last submission, I shall now subject you to a classic 1950s Eisenhower era Christmas picture, in glorious color.

This is the house that is featured in outdoor scenes in my earliest pictures, and, of course, the unforgettable shot where Mom is feeding me in my high chair. That shot was taken in the kitchen, through the doorway on the left.

My mother shot this epic gathering of the relatives. This was after she cooked all freakin' day, set the table, created the table settings ... oh, wasn't that what the ladies did back then?

There's my Dad in the bow tie, with some shadow lending more fullness to his hair than there actually was.

The folks around the table are my dad and mom's parents, and other relatives. The lady in the right foreground was my mom's Aunt Verna. She helped make airplanes in World War II, and never said a bad word about anyone (or so I'm told). She lived until 1982!

Our extended family wasn't big on togetherness; later, the paternal and maternal sides didn't coexist too well. This cozy setting only occurred a few times. By the early 1960s we never gathered again like this.

Up until 1963, I was the only kid in a sea of middle aged and older people. But, they were nice and gave me lots of presents!

Merry Christmas to you all in the Shorpy empire. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


I guess in the 1950s, if you were over 70 you got a pass on the neckwear.

To Rick

It depends on where you go. The intersection of Lark Ellen and Idahome (near where these were taken) feature mid 1950s homes,in many cases almost unchanged externally for all these years. Many homes are well maintained but there quite a number which are not.

Thanks for your comment!

To Candace

I was about 2 at the time. The photographer was my Mom.

Thanks for your comment!

Great photo!

The gentleman with his arms crossed and the sour-lemon look clearly wants to be somewhere else. I, too, remember these gatherings.

A classic

I was born in West Covina, (much later). I wonder what the place looks like these days. great classic photo here.


What a lovely commentary on the 50's Brings many happy memories. Wonderful perspective. Were you the young photographer?

And you, sir, must be living right

to have your own gallery here. You always have such insight and great things to say about so many submissions. Best wishes of the season to you and ALL the Shorpy-ites!

Taking sides: In Color!

Taking in the backstory you've provided, I suggest an alternate title for this shot: A Study in Body Language. This exactly the way big-deal, dining room dinners were set up at our house in the 50s: mom's best china, silver- and glassware, linen, centerpiece with candles, the works. Some retro-hound is sure to covet the chandelier. And hey! I loved your last submission (Desert Trip). Keep 'em coming.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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