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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Backyard Picnic: 1960

Backyard Picnic: 1960

        We dedicate this golden (Kodachrome) oldie to picnic-partakers everywhere. Happy Fourth of July from Shorpy!

June 1960 somewhere in Maryland. "Picnic in yard." Janet, of Kermy and Janet, pointing at the camera. Who wants more potato salad? View full size.

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We always had a bucket of Kool-Aid in a Tupperware container just like the one at this picnic.

Ashtrays and lighters

I too remember lots of ashtrays. And lighters or matches. An older brother and I were accused of trying to burn the house down one time. Of course, it is all his fault, I was the innocent one. He had the lighter.

It is surprising that no one is smoking.

IDEAL brand ketchup

The IDEAL brand ketchup was the store brand of the American Stores Co. ("ACME" stores).

Love the coffee mug

Love the coffee mug directly below the young girl's pointing finger. I've got a set of about 8 of those that my dad and his hunting buddies used during their annual deer hunting week at our cottage in northern Wisconsin. Everyone had their name painted on their mug. The guys are all gone now and those mugs have become a treasure to me.

It's Seems Complete, But...

Where is the Jello mold?

I am of a similar vintage, and trust me--whatever gathering, whatever state you were in and whatever picnic especially--there was always, invariably a Jello mold. Subversives, maybe?

Humble pleasures

These sensible moms used a bath towel as a tablecloth; an excellent idea. As was always the case with gatherings like this, everyone is nicely dressed. I see Grandad in the background. This occasion must have taken place on a weekday while the dads were at work.

Where are the ashtrays?

Hard to believe we have a photo from 1960 and not an ashtray in sight! I was 9 in the summer of 1960 and every mom but one that I knew smoked. If they were like my mom and were married during the WWII years and worked they picked up the habit then. As for the younger moms seeing the older ladies smoke and the massive advertising rush of the 50's convinced the others they should smoke.

Always kids to play with

I was 5 in the summer of 1960, about the age of those kids. Born at the peak of the Baby Boom, there were always kids my age around.

Also between that and Sputnik, we always had new books and desks in school too, not to mention new buildings and young teachers.


Back in the day when "red" was a flavor, at least to the kids.

I have the radio, but

I'd like a pair of those striped chairs, please.

How about some Kool-Aid?

Looks like what's being ladled into those Dixie cups is red Kool-Aid. The favorite drink of kids from the era.

Scalloped Seating

I sold a set of four of those and a matching round table on Craigslist last year. Same color, probably about the same vintage.

Dixie vs Hard Plastic

Notice a stack of Dixie Cups on the table, but we are drinking from the durable, washable plastic tumblers. The two "Dixies" that are upright have spoons in them. Maybe to serve Aunt Dora's special homemade relish? From the way they are stacked, I'll bet the plastic utensils get washed too.


I love the variety of chairs: the plastic web loungers, the wooden-frames with canvas backs & seats and that metal one that most likely leave a scallop-shaped impression in your back.

By the way, the ketchup is "Ideal," the house brand of the local Acme Market.


Hubby and I have two of them out back, both gotten at auctions.

Not just had, but burnt

When our parents' picnic table reached the age of about 40 years and had rotted to the point that it was structurally finished, my youngest brother and I threw it on the bonfire and watched the flames leap higher than a man, a long-suppressed wish of ours. Bonus treat was the unexpected sight of it burning: looked like a giant BBQ grill on fire. Nice smell, too, the cedar.

Sheesh, that's unusual ?

When I was a kid everybody had that table.

Picnics are made of

tasty Heinz pickles and some kind of generic local-brand ketchup. Otherwise, everything else seems homemade, as it was back then.

And don't forget real Dixie brand cups, the only kind being sold then.

[There were many brands of paper cups. A major competitor starting around 1920 was the Lily Cup. - Dave]

Table Still Going Strong

My father bought an identical solid redwood picnic table in southern California, in 1960 no less (a year before I was born in LA). We moved back to northern Missouri in 1963 to be closer to Mom's parents and that was one of the very few large items that made the move. It served as our kitchen table for a few years. It's been refinished a few times and is showing its age (Missouri winters are rough compared to LA's) but is still in use up on my deck and I hope to pass it on.

But me,

I'll take the radio.

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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