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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Secret Santa: 1942

Secret Santa: 1942

December 1942. "New York. R.H. Macy & Company department store the week before Christmas. Children line up to talk with Santa Claus. There are two Santas, concealed from one another by a labyrinth to prevent disillusionment of the children. Each child is presented with candy and tells Santa his or her desires." Photo by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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And please, Santa-

A new hat for my mother...

Macy's still has..

..a secret Santa! They now have a black Santa at a different location, who see parents and children by request. It saves many black parents having to explain and de-confuse their children. (Photo is from CBS)

Woolworths Santa

I'll always remember having my photo taken on the lap of Woolworth's Santa. Mainly because my Mom and most every member of the family worked there at one time including me.
I never did know his name though.


Intrigued by Mom's hat.

Not just Macy's

This post jogged a nice memory for me. Wurzburg's Department Store in Grand Rapids (or was it Herpolsheimer's? They're both long gone, but it could have been either of them) had a labyrinth, too. I had completely forgotten, but I had to walk through it to see Santa, just like the kids in New York.

Merry Christmas to Dave and the rest of the Shorpy crew!

Santa, I'd like a free Shorpy's poster

That boy in the center might be waiting to ask Santa for a shoe shine. What a wonderful, expressive face on this Santa. Merry Christmas to Dave, tterrace and all the other old photo time travellers on Shorpy.

Aha, a labyrinth!

So that's how they did it. I always suspected there was some sort of deception involved because sometimes I didn't get exactly what I asked for, and I didn't buy the explanation that it was just probably just a miscommunication because I had mumbled, or something.

Merry Christmas to all in Shorpy Land

And Happy New Year! Love the lady with the hat half finished. Is that a knitting needle in the hat in case she finds the time to finish it?

The Wonder Of It All....

A visit to Santa at Macy's was an annual tradition for me and my brother. Mom would try to get us there as early as possible, since the lines were long. You snaked your way through a dark purple tunnel with various holiday scenes along the way. Finally, you emerged into the light.... and there he was!

What a thrill this was, but the day wasn't over yet. After presenting Santa with our wish lists, mom would then take us for lunch at the Horn & Hardart Automat (which I believe was in the Empire State Building at the corner of 34th Street & 5th Avenue). We loved putting those nickels in the slots to get our soups, sandwiches and desserts.

And the day still wasn't done - after lunch we would head over to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Show.

Wow! What a day! We were all exhausted by the time we got home....



A Very Merry Christmas to all the Shorpy family. Hope Santa's visit brings you much joy and happiness. And that 2014 turns out to be the best Shorpy year yet!

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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