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Lunch With Lynn and Hugh: 1943

Lunch With Lynn and Hugh: 1943

December 1943. Washington, D.C. "Hugh and Lynn Massman eating lunch at a cafeteria after a day of sightseeing. Their eight-week-old son is being taken care of at the United Nations service center nursery." Medium-format safety negative by Esther Bubley for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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What war?

I was born in England shortly after the war, and was seven before food ration cards were withdrawn. Not a soul in everyday Britain even had access to a meal so grand during the war, as my parents constantly told me and my siblings. We were not allowed from the table until everything was eaten from our plates, and no excuses were entertained. We were taught to be grateful for what we received and no waste was allowed. There weren't many fat kids when I was a youngster.

When we emigrated to Canada in the late '50s, the quantity of food people ate was a wonder to us, as was the constant guzzling of sugary soda pop. Within a year we had visited the US and there the portion sizes were even greater.

This photograph shows that if there was food rationing in the US during the war, it was minor. Printing this photo in a British newspaper during the war after four long years of it would have caused a riot; the deprivations were real.

Just another perspective to consider when most of the comments focus on the woman's looks. But then most Americans only count the war from December 1941, when it had already been going on for well over two years.

Navy Rating

From his Navy insignia, it would seem that Hugh was either an Aviation Radioman or Aviation Radio Technician, 2nd Class (ARM2 or ART2, respectively). A radioman operated radios, while a technician maintained them. The ratings and roles were different, but the insignia was the same.

Mom & Dad

I never knew how pretty my mom was. But then, I was born in 1958, and she was older then, and had my three older siblings. Plus my two younger siblings by 1962. I never knew how lovely Lynn was until I saw these photos online and realized how much my daughter Alexis, now 30 and a mother of two, looks like her.

Not Foster Grants, but better, I think

Looks like Hugh has in his pocket a pair of those WW II Government Issue (GI for you acronym acolytes) aviator shades with the serious wrap-around-the-ear wire frames. My father-in-law, a WW II vet, gave me his and they were beautifully manufactured.

I wish I could discern the design on his pinky ring. Appears to be an archer or a bird. The watch on his right wrist suggests he was a lefty.

Milky memories

I *love* the individual serving milk bottles. I vaguely recall those from my childhood.

Wow! That is a substantial meal!

Solid food; I love the separate servings of mashed potatoes
"on the side" with the impressions filled with gravy. They also have a nice fruit plate as well as cake and apple pie(cobbler?) for dessert.

Looks like the previous patron did not finish his meal. See the tray with the tip. Such a waste.

[That's probably change, not a tip. Esther had to put down her tray to take the picture. - Dave]


Love the bottle of Tabasco on the table. Some things never change.

No offense...

Of course we comment on looks - there's a whole Shorpy category on Pretty Girls, and Lynn ranks as that. As you yourself point out, she was a model. All I was saying was that Hugh was a lucky guy - Lynn was very pretty, in a way that transcends decades. Classic good looks.

Lynn Massman

I watch comments on this website on a daily basis. My father was in the Army Air Corps. You can find the link if you google Logan Southfield. He flew a P-61 Black Widow. My mother was a model for Anita Dress Shops and Zukors during WW2. Lynn Massman was not only nice looking, but a great mother. Since when do we base our comments on looks? We don't.


I imagine that the city of Washington in particular would probably have had a lot of facilities labeled as "United Nations" simply because you had military missions from just about every allied country present.

Wasn't the United Nations founded in 1945?

Hey, do Hugh and Lynn know their 8 week old son is being cared for in a non-existent organization's Nursery?

[United Nations refers to the countries allied against the Axis powers during the war. Kind of a generic expression at the time. - Dave]

re: Lynn

Far from it...

Lynn is a babe

Am I the only one viewing this series of pics who thinks Hugh was one lucky guy?

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