SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

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]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

A Dickey Christmas: 1923

A Dickey Christmas: 1923

"Dickey Christmas tree, 1923." The family of Washington lawyer Raymond Dickey, whose somewhat off-kilter portraits (and non-triangular trees) are a Shorpy Yuletide tradition. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Christmas just isn't Christmas...

...without once again witnessing Rose Dickey's slow descent into madness.


Don't think I've ever seen a wallpapered ceiling before.

Christmas traditions

Having been born a Chanukah person, but linked to a Christmas person, I have celebrated Christmas for two thirds of my 60 years. My wife's family is Central European, so they gather for the main event on Christmas Eve. Over the years, their trees have run the gamut from huge misshapen Dickey trees to scraggly Charlie Brown Ion Dept. trees to the current style of "perfect" suburban mall-lot trees. My idea of a gentle Christmas is good company and family, a glass of eggnog and rum, fading afternoon light, with Bing Crosby or Burl Ives playing softly in the background. I wish the very best of the holiday season to my fellow Shorpsters, with special thanks to Dave and tterrace for creating and maintaining this marvellous photographic treasure house and community.

Charlie Brown

carries on the Dickey Christmas tree tradition today.

It's a Well Known Fact

Smiles were not invented until 1933.

That Tree!

Why do I feel like I'm looking at the same one in all these pictures?

1915, 1923

If nothing else it shows those two boys are definitely brothers. The younger boy in 1923 looks just like his brother did in 1915!

The Dickeys

The fellow with his arm around the young woman is obviously her husband.. Note wedding ring. Also she appears to be with child.

[Nope. He's her brother. - Dave]


Has anyone noticed that the middle child (oldest son) is not the same kid in both pictures? Rather odd, I thought.

[The oldest boy is standing on the right in this photo. Still confused? - Dave]


My family owns ornaments exactly identical to about a third of the ones on the tree. My mother always said they were old, but I didn't think they could be that old!


Just noticed what appears to be a model train track on the floor to the right. Wonder if a wee little Christmas choo-choo was part of the decorations, or a gift done opened and set up. Remember a very simple Lionel train set my brother and I got for one Christmas. No idea where it ended up.

Jingle Bells

Poor Mom. It sure looks like the photog positioned her just a little too up close and snuggly with that tree. Her expression does not reflect a comfort zone with it. More like fending it off.


Every member of this family wears the exact same expression. From my own middle class perspective it seems to be a pleasant tolerance of all things beneath them . . . which are many and include the photographer and all of us some 85 years later.

So much to take in.

When viewed full size, there was just so much to take in...the crazy tree, the intricate sleeves on Sister's dress, the odd pose of poor Mother--practically stuck into the boughs (not to mention her too-tight shoes!), a hint of model railroad track, the wallpaper & border--just SO much!

But the number one thing I could not stop thinking...why are everyone's eyes so sad? Don't they know it's Christmas? (Maybe this the custom of the day, to look somber in a holiday photo? Whatever the reason, their melancholy expressions are in contrast to the joyful occasion.)


The mother looks so different from the previous photo. Poor gal.

It's in the details...

I find in very interesting that people who live in older homes today panic about even the smallest scratch in their hardwood floors when its very obvious that this middle-class Washington family clearly had no such worry.

Also, is anyone able to identify the toy train track in the background? It looks like wind-up track, perhaps O-scale?

Times and tastes change

At first glance, it made me think of a huge spider web. Strangely, most of the ornaments don't look much different from what we might have on our trees today. I notice the lack of lights, though.

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.