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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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Block Party: 1942

Block Party: 1942

June 1942. "Queens, New York. Nursery school at the Queensbridge housing project. Children playing with blocks." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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Hulloo Hollow

The blocks are probably pine or other common softwood, but hollow. You can see the joints on the ends, and what looks like a top come loose in the background.

1942 Balsa would have to come up through sub infested waters from Caribbean or South American plantations, and what there was would go to airplane construction, either 1:1 scale, or flying models

Balsa Wood ?

The blocks seem to have wood grain under the paint. Yet, they must be fairly light, otherwise they would not be safe playthings for children of this age.

Judging from the wear on the corner of the block on the left, I surmise that these are made of Balsa wood, which was still abundant in that era. They might even be solid blocks of Balsa.

Safari jacket

The little guy on his knees in the middle appears to be wearing what I knew as a safari jacket. It has a belt and big buttoned pockets and is short sleeved. It’s freshly pressed and he’s certainly styling.

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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