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.
Vintage photos of:
December 1953. Continuing the Look magazine series "night photographs of houses decorated for Christmas." You know what they say about people who live in glass houses -- they don't throw Christmas parties. At least not until they can afford curtains. From photos by Jim Hansen and Bob Lerner. View full size.
Pennsylvania circa 1958. This little boy was evidently on the "nice" list. (Isn't it funny how Santa and Uncle Bert have the same eyeglasses?) Note the abundance of mid-century tchotchkes. 35mm Kodachrome found on eBay. View full size.
It's the Friday before Christmas, which means it's time for a hallowed holiday tradition here at Shorpy: The Office Xmas Party! Which has been going on for close to 90 years now. Will Clarence in Sales ever get up the nerve to ask out Hermione from Accounting?
Washington, D.C., 1925. "Western Electric Co. group." There are enough little dramas playing out here to keep the forensic partyologists busy until Ground Hog Day. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.
From around 1953, in a bathroom somewhere in New England, comes this curious Kodachrome from the "Linda" series of slides that your webmaster found on eBay. This would be a much less precarious scenario if the household observed a strict lid-down protocol. In any case we have a Christmas party to get back to, but business before pleasure. Excuse us for a sec, will you? View full size.
The spherical tree, the scattershot expressions, the faint undercurrent of anomie and alienation -- yes, it's our annual holiday dispatch from the family of Washington, D.C., lawyer Raymond Dickey, who has a decade's worth of Christmases preserved in the archives of the National Photo Company. Their 1918 portrait, with an Army surgeon and map of World War I Europe, is even more dire than usual.
"Dickey Christmas tree -- 1918." 8x6 inch glass negative. View full size.
From the Linda Kodachromes, circa 1957, comes this unlabeled slide of posters for the school Christmas play on December 16, so get your tickets soon. WHS is, as near as we can figure, Whitefield High School in New Hampshire. View full size.