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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Children's Army: 1942

The Children's Army: 1942

Washington, D.C., 1942. "Children playing, aiming sticks as guns." Kodachrome transparency by Louise Rosskam, Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Girls wear dresses.

No jeans or slacks for girls. I'm not quite as old as these kids, but can remember always wearing dresses, except in summer. Did they think our legs didn't get as cold as those of boys? Well, they did.

Purse snatcher

I'd bet that the little blonde sweetie is holding photographer Rosskam's purse.

Playing Army

This photo is a reminder of when I was about those kids' age in the mid-late 1960s. My favorite TV shows were 12 O'Clock High, Combat!, and The Rat Patrol. Also, the Vietnam War was in the news and on the lips of grown-ups. I was enthralled with it all, so I often spent time outside with my plastic Army helmet and toy guns doing battle with imaginary enemy soldiers and planes or as I'd tell my Mom: "I'm going outside to play Army!"

One funny story from that time: My parents befriended a lady who had daughters my age. She was a native of Germany (a member of Hitler Youth, as most kids were), married a U.S. soldier after the war, then moved to the U.S. Her husband, a career officer in the Army, had recently been killed in Vietnam. Mom and I were visiting at their house. Mom and the lady were sitting in the kitchen as we kids played in the backyard. We must have been "playing Army" because my Mom heard me yelling, "Kill those dirty Krauts!" She got really embarrassed and told me not to say that. Her friend wasn't offended - she just found it amusing.

The Bike's a Trike

Pedal driven front wheel, hard rubber tire, all-steel construction... definitely not a Hot Wheels!

DC Kids

I love this picture.

So much. <3

The bike

The bicycle at the bottom right gave it away for me. No tires, no rubber, which means WWII. Either it was not invented yet or being conserved for the war effort. At first glance thought I thought 50's or 60's until I spotted the bike. Great color for the early 40's!

children at wall in 1942

As an historian, I would like to find the grown up children and pose them as they were in '42. That would be a photo


The shoes, and the knickers.

So Beautiful

Man, these pictures are so good and children are so universal. I had to examine their shoes to verify that it wasn't a contemporary photo.

Back when kids had imaginations....

They don' need no stinkin' Nintendo.

SHORPY OLD 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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