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The Parlor Door: 1940

The Parlor Door: 1940

April 1940. "Home in Scranton, Iowa. Closing sliding door to little-used parlor." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Lincoln on the wall

Spring Song

Is the title of the picture of the little girl and robin, by German painter Simon Glucklich (1863-1943). I grew up with the same picture and it hangs at this very moment in the den where I'm typing this.

Sliding Doors

My grandparents, too. Updated with '60s-style glass panels.

Now my parents live there.

But they use the living room much more now. Courtesy of moving the TV set from the dining room to the living room.

Edit. Thanks, Dave. That was the idea. Learned another thing today. ;-)

Flashback II

Perusing my living room walls as I write this, I see that the fine Lady of Scranton had good taste in artwork, although she called her's hers modern, while I call mine vintage!!

The Porlar Door

Its correct name is a 'Pocket Door'.

The Secret Parlor

My grandparents had one, too. Not secret, really, but more like a room from an alternate-world version of their house, one that no one lived in, occupied only by silent furniture still in virtually the same state as when delivered by the store years before. As with most Italian-American families, everybody lived in the kitchen.

Made in the shade

I too noticed the print of the wee lass watching the bird on the branch. Very sweet. When we lived in a circa 1888 Italianate house in semi-rural Ohio for several years during the late '90s, we had pocket doors just like those, leading to a parlor only slightly larger than the one shown. We kept them open but I loved those doors and the room itself was charming. That's a lovely antimacassar set adorning/protecting the velvet armchair. But I must admit that I would never have been able to get used to so many bare lightbulbs. Not exactly an attractive design. It must have been blinding when the lights were on. Shades, please! And speaking of shades, that's a stunning floor lamp.

My great-aunt's house!

Which in 1970 had barely changed since 1920. Just like this: old pics on the wall, the wallpaper and gorgeous woodwork, the two-button light switches (some with mother-of-pearl circles on the buttons even), and area rugs that were just waiting to trip some unwary elderly person.

Wish we had more of the picture on the left wall; might be some famous painting of Mary, but google could not find a match even after I did an image search (after mirroring the half we do have and pasting it together).

Thank you!

Granny Squares

About 65 years ago my grandmother Julia crocheted that same afghan pattern. She made one each for me, my sibling and my cousins. I still keep it, proudly, and in wintertime curl up with it watching TV by the fireplace. It shows absolutely no wear or fading. Someday it will be passed along to my granddaughter Julia. I don't know what happened to the other six she made.

One of those images

What I can see of this house looks so comfortable, so cozy, I just want to step into the photo. I'd put on a nice pair of slippers, maybe a cardigan sweater, grab a good book and sit down in the rocker for a nice quiet read. The only thing I'd have to add would be a dog to lie at my feet. Oh, and I might have to take up pipe smoking.

Oh, my, that chair

Every one of my grandparents and great aunts or uncles had a velvet chair exactly like that one in their living room, complete with antimacassars.


My parents had that print of the little girl watching the bird sing on their bedroom wall; I was convinced for years that it was someone they knew, but for some reason never asked them who she was. I'm too lazy to dig deeper, but it's apparently by Simon Glucklich; some web articles claim the child is blind.

It really takes me back, I haven't seen that picture since probably 1966 when my folks split up. It never made it to our new home.

Nostalgia is sometimes a physical reaction, for me. When someone says "it made my heart swell", that's the sensation I can have. Thanks for this one!

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