JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

New Bedford Knitters: 1942

Spring 1942. "New Bedford, Massachusetts. Portuguese Girl Scouts." Medium format negative by John Collier, Office of War Information. View full size.

Spring 1942. "New Bedford, Massachusetts. Portuguese Girl Scouts." Medium format negative by John Collier, Office of War Information. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Flag Etiquette redux

The flag is on a pole. The only etiquette is that it is the star field is pointing to the end of the pole. Otherwise it would be up side down which some think is a distress call (that's an urban legion), but not actually wrong in flag etiquette. Nor is lowering it in the rain or at night (it should be illuminated at night).

Flag Etiquette

The flag is properly displayed with the star field in the upper left.


Rotangus, I was going to comment on the non-Portuguese knitting technique myself, as well as how uncomfortable some of these girls look with the needles. Interesting reflection on teaching conformity.

Air Knitters

I see at least five young ladies who left their needles at home or perhaps are not yet knitters: Bottom row right, third and fourth are wistful onlookers; top row right there are at least two who are air knitting, and two other girls in the center are waiting for needles, it seems.

Here's an excellent history of wartime knitting (note the Glenn Miller knitting song on the right).

Lots of knitting songs

I agreed with Michael L. after reading his comments because girl scouts always sing about everything (even John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith) so just for the halibut I put "knitting songs" in my search space and there are many of them from several eras which you can listen to if you care to although some were not around in 1942.

Really Knits Tuff

A neighbor who has a yarn & knitting shop had this comment:

"The left-handed method was not in favor in these days because it is the way the Germans knit. I know a lot of right-handed people who knit holding the yarn in their left hand. It is just a personal preference at this point, but in these days, it almost made a knitter a nazi."


Thank you, rotangus, for your fascinating, informative, and adult comment.

Are they singing?

The mouths of most of these girls look as if they are saying something. I'm guessing they were singing while the picture was taken. Either that, or they're all talking over each other at once.

Knitting orthodoxy!

Some observations which may not be evident to non-knitters.

All of these girls are knitting right handed, although one is winding yarn with her left hand. In a group this large I'd expect to see at least one left-hander. However, in this era, left handers were usually taught to knit right handed, rather than working mirror image of right handers as they often do today.

Second, every one of these girls is using the throwing rather than picking method; holding their yarn in their right hand in US/UK style as opposed to the traditional around-the-neck, yarn-tensioned Continental style variant common in Portuguese heritage. So these girls are using the same method as the troop leader, rather than the style that some of them would have learned at home.

Finally, they are knitting sleeveless vests for sailors -- a very standard War Knitting item.

So this image says more to me than just girls knitting. It's telling a story of community/home front service during WWII; of inflexible teaching styles of the period; and of assimilation - adopting standard American ways rather than the traditions of their families.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Accessibility Statement | Site © 2024 Shorpy Inc.