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Playtime: 1908

Playtime: 1908

New York ca. 1908. "Kindergarten, East Side Free School for Crippled Children." 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


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No batteries required!

The well-crafted toys in this picture were all created for endless playtime and the individuals' imagination and could go on forever without worrying about having dozens of batteries available. My main gripe with today's toys is they all seem to need batteries, have their limited functions and then become dull. It does not nurture imagination in the kids. This is a happy picture of contented children.

Stuffed Dog

I need to invent a time machine, so I can go get that stuffed dog!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

I bet the kids enjoyed playing in this room. Little kids imagine and create games and stories where braces no longer exist. The whimsical drawing of Mary and her little lamb on the blackboard leaves the song echoing today--a hundred years later.


I’m impressed with the craftsmanship in those toys. Some are more detailed than today, 100 years later!

The Playroom

Wow, an indoor sandbox. Can you imagine how valuable those toys would be today?

Little Boy In Striped Pullover

I believe you can see him in another previous photo as well. He reminds me of a student I used to have....I'd wager money that this little boy had Autism. One hundred years later and the behavior is still similar, as is the "faraway" look in his eyes (visible in the other photo). It makes me smile and want to ruffle his hair, give him a hug, reach out to him in whatever way he can accept. I wonder what kind of life he had and if he found happiness in that life.

[These kids had physical disabilities. The little boy you mention is wearing a leg brace. The boy with the blocks and the kid at the far right have leg braces, too. The children in this school were "crippled" due to limb weakness or paralysis from polio, or had bone infections from tuberculosis. Some were amputees. - Dave]

Nice shot

Love the toys here! Can we get a Shorpy close up of the items on the shelves on the right? It looks like the wall behind them opens up (notice the handles on the floor, I wonder what was behind it? My nephew's school had one large room for all group activities. We called it the Gym-a-cafa-torium.

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