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An Okeh Christmas: 1941

An Okeh Christmas: 1941

December 1941. Washington, D.C. "Christmas shopping in Woolworth's five and ten cent store record department." Victor titles, 53 cents each. Photo by John Collier for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Working Girls

Judging from the time of year, the ear muffs on the young lad, and other customers' clothing, I'm guessing that it's a tad cold outside. That being said, I'll bet that the two hat-less girls with their backs to us are sales clerks working in the store.

Ubiquitous Eddy

That Eddy Duchin album in the upper right still turns up in thrift stores and used record sales from time to time. I think I even had a copy for a while.

Bluebird label

On the second row front are 35 cent Bluebird titles. Bluebird was a less expensive Victor brand. Glenn Miller was on this label, for example.

Stocking seam

That girl has a stocking seam up the back of her leg. Either it's drawn on (nylon shortage during the war) and she forgot to wash it off before donning her socks, or she is wearing socks over her nylons, which seems unlikely. Maybe she's got a hot date tonight and is saving time.


So when did they start using cardboard sleeves for the albums?

[Those are singles, not albums. 10-inch 78rpm discs with two songs, one per side. Paper sleeves were the standard packaging. Multiple disc sets came in cardboard albums with bound sleeves of stiff card for the records, like those above the moulding at center and right. -tterrace]

That reminds me

Of a music store in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was in business seemingly forever until it closed more than 20 years ago. I used to go in there and buy brand-new 78s from the early 1930s and up, for basically the original prices. It was pretty much the same setup as this picture. I have been collecting 78 rpm records since 1957, and I recognize some of the record albums pictured here.

Small Fry

Bing Crosby album at top center. Note the William Steig cartoon art.

[A much-loved series that he did for the New Yorker. - Dave]


Socks on that dapper lad. Tumultuous times for sure.

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