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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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Playing outside

Playing outside

Rose Rubin outside the family's apartment building ca 1924 in Bronx, NY. Note the street is not paved.

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Street game

I think the kid kneeling in the background is playing some sort of street game, though I cannot tell what it is. Comments identifying the game as "scully" reminded me of the game we played in Corona (Queens) in the 1950s. We called it "killer" although kids from nearby streets or adjacent neighborhoods referred to the same game as "skelly" or "skelsies." Whatever you called it, the game used a variety of pieces--including bottom caps filled with melted wax or chewing gum or checkers (wooden or plastic), and was played on a gameboard either chalked onto or chiseled (with a screwdriver?)into the asphalt street surface. Once you advanced to the center box on the board, you became the "killer", which allowed you to attack opponents and eliminate them from the game. I hated it when my opponent, seeing my checker close to advancing to the final square, blasted my piece far away from the game board. If you played the game alot, "skelly" would gradually shave off the edge of your fingernail. I remember my mom hating the game because kneeling on the street to shoot could quickly wear a hole in the knees of blue jeans or khakis.


We would melt candle wax into the bottle caps for balance and weight. Some kids used checkers.

Think for a moment of the games we played that cost nothing or next to nothing -- Johnny Ride a Pony, Kick the Can, Ring a Levio, Box Ball, Punch Ball, Stick Ball, War, May I? and so on. Today kids plop their bottoms in front of the TV for hours with a $75 Nintendo game for entertainment. Who had more fun? More important, who benefited from the fresh air, the competition and the camaraderie? In some aspects, the Depression was not all that bad.


I remember playing scully in the 50's in Flushing NY. It was right up there with "stoop ball"

The name of the game was Scully

The boy shooting a bottle cap is playing "scully," a popular sidewalk game from the 1920s to early '40s. Winner got to keep the other boys' bottle caps for his collection.


The girl is a red head with lots of freckles.

[What about the stripes? The expert opinion of your webmaster is that someone drew on the photo with a fountain pen. - Dave]

I think the boy in the

I think the boy in the background was simply tying his shoe.
On the girl's matter, It rather seems she painted herself with lipstick or something like that, just like nowadays'kids.

Face painting

At some point over the years someone seems to have doodled over her face with a pencil or pen.


It looks to me like he's just picking something up off the ground. I'm more interested in the girl's face - to me, it looks to have some kind of pigmentation, too big to be just freckles, and I'm curious what it is.

What's he doing?

Can anyone tell what is up with the young man(?)just right of center who is squatting or stooping?

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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