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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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A Very Kelly Christmas: 1940

A Very Kelly Christmas: 1940

December 1940. "The family of John Kelly, who works in the Navy yard in South Boston. Their present tenement in Quincy is completely inadequate. They have been unable to move because every real estate agent has turned him down, claiming there was no reason why they should rent to large families when there is such a great demand for decent houses by hundreds of incoming shipyard workers." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

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Commissioner Kelly

Ironically, Leo grew up to be the Quincy Housing Commissioner. I grew up in Quincy, and they are a well-known family.

More crowded than we thought

Here is abstract from 1940 census

John L Kelly 39
Elizabeth Kelly 42
John L Kelly 14
David Kelly 12
Alfred Kelly 11
Joseph Kelly 9
Elizabeth Kelly 7
Leo Kelly 5
Philip Kelly 3
Robert Kelly 2
Agnes Ormond 48

Agnes, not pictured, is the sister-in-law.

Occupation: Pipe Carener (cleaner?)
Industry: Navy Yard

Completely inadequate

Inadequate though this tenement may be deemed to be, it’s still a far cry from some of the lodgings we’ve seen on Shorpy from a decade earlier. I see a lamp with a shade, matching upholstered furniture, a Christmas tree, decent clothing. Maybe there aren’t enough bedrooms, but it’s a step up from much of the Depression-era housing we see on this site. (Note to John Kelly: easy for me to say, but maybe give your weary wife a break, pal.)

So much family resemblance

The little boy reading the comics looks more like his mom.

Overwhelmed -

the mother and the girl sitting next to Dad. Not surprising when the eight other members of the family are male.

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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