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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Berkshires Picnic: 1941

Berkshires Picnic: 1941

October 1941. "Picnic party from the mill towns enjoys the autumn foliage of the Berkshires along the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts." View full size. Medium format nitrate negative by John Collier for the Farm Security Administration.

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For better or worse

Change often produces less benefit than nostalgia. Plastics only became common in the fifties, so mom had to pack up half the kitchen in wicker hampers and old wooden boxes. I can remember being as happy with the new moulded plastic three well plates and aluminum 'glasses', Tartan cooler jug and Coleman aluminium chest cooler, as my folks were. They didn't have to make three trips back to the car to fetch all that heavy crockery, especially since Yerks beach at lake Ronkonkoma, NY, was down a flight of wooden steps.

Cans on ground

I can spy a B&M Baked Beans Can among the beer cans on the ground.


The middle aged woman in profile, with her apron, looks so adorable. The mum I'd love to have!

On the Table

That's an awful lot of dishes there, including saucers for the teacups. Must be before paper plates.

Can anyone read the bottle in back? It looks like Milk of Magnesia to me.


Lordy, but who wore a tie with a tie tack to a picnic? Man, those were the days. Men were men.

Beer in a Gass

Shirt and tie, aprons on the women, good china on the table, beer (or ale) in a glass. Picnics sure have changed. Now it's tank tops, shorts, paper plates and beer and soda straight out of the can.

Harvard and...

It's the Yale Pale Ale, I think.

Essential Accessory

An important pre pop-top accessory sits partially hidden behind the (cloth) napkin in front of the beer glass - a church key can opener! This guy only put one hole in his can. He must still be used to the earlier larger versions of the church key. We always used to put a hole on both sides of the can so air could come in through one.

[There is a big hole and partial smaller hole in each can. - Dave]

Harvard Ale

I wonder if there'a a connection to Cambridge. Or if there was also a Yale Ale.


You'd really feel that way, if you'd ever driven the Mohawk Trail! It's all twisty & narrow heading up to the mountains. Hard enough sober in those big old cars!

Beer, Beans and Coffee

Judging from the pile on the ground next to him, this guy has put back a few ales and is getting ready for some coffee so he can see straight for the long drive home. Beer, beans and coffee. Boy, I sure wouldn't want to be in that car.

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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