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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Scrambling for Pennies: 1911

Scrambling for Pennies: 1911

New York, November 1911. "Scramble for pennies -- Thanksgiving." Before Halloween came into its own as a holiday in this country, there was "Thanksgiving masking," where kids would dress up and go door to door for apples, or "scramble for pennies." George Grantham Bain Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Cross dressing on Thanksgiving

In 1947 I dressed up as Happy Hooligan, a comic strip character of my parents' generation, and my brother dressed as chorus girls. We went around on Thanksgiving morn begging "Anything for Thanksgiving?"

People gave us fruit and dimes but we were the only kids doing it in our new neighborhood of Woodhaven, Queens. Before that, we went out in groups in the old neighborhood of downtown Brooklyn. I preferred it to Halloween as the kids actually did tricks on Halloween if they didn't get anything -- broke milk bottles, soaped windows, turned over trash cans.


This is your basic high grade nightmare fuel! It would have been interesting to post this and let us try to figure out what in the world is going on. Uh, "Trick or Turkey?"

Halloween Postcards

Does anyone have Halloween postcards from the 1920s-1930s? I have a couple from my grandmother's belongings, and they are lovely. The images are all "cutesy" (nothing scary) illustrations. I do not know who the illustrator was; they are unsigned. And there is no artist information conveniently printed on the reverse. If anyone has info about such cards, I'd love to know.


I think what people find so creepy is that there aren't any costumes based on anything famous. No Shrek or Joker or Barbie. Just a bunch of featureless, undefined faces on these kids, with the only meanings being what you attach to them. Wonderful!

Little Beggars

When I was growing up on Long Island (1950s) we would dress as "hobos" and go door to door begging pennies on Thanksgiving. Now I guess you would have to beg for a dollar or two.

Thanks for the explanation!

If I ever got my wish to do some time-traveling, I sure wouldn't want to "land" in the middle of that scene without being briefed beforehand!


Sheesh, this is a downright eerie picture. I'm not sure Halloween is actually scarier.

Now that's…


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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