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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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Taught Napping: 1941

Taught Napping: 1941

October 1941. "White Plains, Greene County, Georgia. Rest period in school." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

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Painful Memories

I remember getting swatted on my behind for not having my eyes closed during naptime. How is one supposed to nap with all those sharp noises going on?

Only Kindergarten

I recall naptime at Bartlett Street School in Milwaukee. Kindergarten only. That was in 1944. The following year I was in first grade at St. Robert's in Shorewood, WI. No naptime. I don't think anybody slept during naptime. The good Dominican nuns kept our noses to the grindstone at St. Robert.

Rug Monitor

I agree with all the comments about how hated nap time was, but I think it was probably the teacher's only respite.

We slept on throw rugs, not pads as shown. (We were tougher then).

I was the official "rug monitor." At nap time, it was my job to hold up each rug so that the owner could come up to claim their own to nap on.

Who Could Nap

With all those flies are buzzing around?!? That would have driven me nuts as a kid!

Not much has changed.

Just the "bedclothes" are different. Children now have a padded mat covered by their own tiny sheet with their own tiny blanket and their own tiny pillow.

Why is it?

that a nap was considered almost a punishment back then, but now at age 72, it's a blessed reward?

Worst Part of the Day

When I was in kindergarten, we had nap time in the afternoon after lunch, and I hated it. I couldn't sleep in the afternoon. I still can't. The only time I can sleep outside of nighttime is if I'm sick, and my teacher despaired over the fact that I wouldn't lie on my cot and go to sleep. Finally, my mother told her to stop complaining and give me something to do instead. After that, while everyone else napped, I sat next to her desk and read a book.

My sister didn't have the same issue. If anything, her teacher had a hard time waking her up. She can sleep standing up on the train if she leans against the side of the car. It's a gift.

Separating boys and girls

Good memory call there, rhhardin. Looking at this photo of boys at naptime, I didn’t even wonder about the girls. But of course they were elsewhere in the room.

I used to think naptime was absurd. I remember gazing with amazement at the kids who actually fell asleep.

Puppy-dogs' tails

That's the boys' half of the room. Sugar and spice out of sight.

Comfort level: Nil

I despised those "nap times" as a kid in the mid-1950s.

Mouthy then as now, I got in trouble for saying to my Fernandina Beach kindergarten teacher, "So I guess you've never heard of a pillow?"

Alice & Jerry

The fragment comes from the Alice & Jerry Pre-Primer Rides and Slides.

Snooze time

This is right after the stale Graham Crackers and warm milk. We did this in Kindergarten.

Bright students

How can a person nap with all these flashes going off?

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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