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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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Xmas Anonymous: 1928

Xmas Anonymous: 1928

Washington circa 1928. "Christmas tree. No caption information, title devised by library staff." Click here for a closeup of the train set, which has a duck pond and a birdbath. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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The train

It's a Mojave Lionel 253 loco with two 610 passenger cars missing the 612 observation car. There is also a Lionel 184 Bungalow next to the train.

Golden Sub

The little toy car in the foreground looks like the 1917 Miller Golden Submarine driven by Barney Oldfield.

Merry Hiccup!

I especially like the two figures lying against the porch of the bungalow under the tree. Been into the eggnog, you think?

Re: Samtsirhc Yrrem

I'm a bit confused.

If, as you stated (in reverse) that Tipster's observation about the writing is correct, then why is the lettering on the label of the tree's base legible?

What are you both looking at?

[The lettering was backward. Then I flipped the photo. - Dave]

High Risk Rocking

Gee, can we charge the parents with child endangerment? That wee baby has no rocking chair seatbelt and no helmet. One wonders how kids survived their early years.

The ornaments

My parents married in the early 1930s. On our trees in the mid 1930s through the 1950s were those exact same style of ornaments. Including the tree topper.
(see tterrace's xmas trees.)

Samtsirhc Yrrem

The blow-up of the fountain reveals backward writing on the Christmas tree stand. This photo needs a floppin'!

[evaD - !thgir era uoy yllog yB]

Xmas scene

That is a wonderful scene under the tree. Electric train, toy cars, streets, fountain, houses, electric street lights, and toy people. Trees and a flag. Are there fish in that pond?

Someone put a lot of time, work and creativity in that scene. Not to mention that very busy tree.

We don't often see girls posed with electric trains.

Delicate Sewing

My arthritic fingers are aching just looking at those scalloped hems on Big Sister's dress.

[Maybe your fingers need bifocals! - Dave]

Whose is it?

This house has a dad who either just out and out built the set for himself, or has used the baby boy as an excuse, or convinced his wife that a train set would make a great tree base -- "But honey, imagine how cute it will be to put the presents on the train"!


I wonder if this was something Daddy made and took down from the attic every Yule. I am thinking that is real fountain in the front, since the use of resin for water didn't happen for decades. Must ahve been lovely in the dark with all the tree and village lights glowing!

[Click below to enlarge. - Dave]


"Alice, I distinctly told you if you bought that 20 foot high birdbath we wouldn't have enough left over for a locomotive!"

Future Favored

The traditional Christmas tree seems abandoned to the dazzle of the modern age. All eyes are on the streetlights glowing, paved roads for vehicles, and an electric fountain. Somewhere within that decorated hunk in the background is a modest pine accepting its fate as a has-been. Looks like the handyman in the family won out this year.

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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