Vintage Photo Wednesday

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 23: Going to the Garment Factory, 1936

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 23: Going to the Garment Factory, 1936

History, Vintage Photo Wednesday
Thanks to the new focus of my Vintage Photo Wednesday series on New Jersey, I'm learning some really interesting things about my home state. For instance, the town of Roosevelt -- located roughly 20 miles east of Trenton -- was established as Jersey Homesteads in 1937 as one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's many New Deal initiatives. So you can probably guess where the name came from. Here's an excerpt on the history of Roosevelt from Rutgers University: In early 1933, Title II, Section 208, of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) created the Division of Subsistence Homesteads, the purpose of which was to decentralize industry from congested cities and enable workers to improve their standards of living through the help of subsistence agriculture. Jersey Homesteads was uniqu...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 22: Hudson Tunnel Station Newsies, 1909

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 22: Hudson Tunnel Station Newsies, 1909

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Starting this week I'm going to start featuring more vintage photographs from my home state of New Jersey -- the good, the bad, and the just plain neat. It's a great opportunity for me to both share and learn more about the Garden State, so save your mob/pollution jokes please. As with most of the other photos I've shared, I'm going to attempt to clean things up a bit. I'm no Shorpy but I do what I can. This week's image was taken by Lewis Wickes Hine, who shot countless numbers of pictures depicting child labor at the turn of the century and later. This photo shows a group of newsies hawking papers at the Hudson Tunnel Station in Jersey City in December 1909. From the Library of Congress page description: "Newsie selling at the Hudson Tunnel Station, Jersey City. Boy on left is Patr...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 21: New York Santa & Mobile Xmas Post Office

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 21: New York Santa & Mobile Xmas Post Office

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Sorry for the dearth of activity around these parts lately, it's been a hectic holiday season. To make it up to you I'm doubling your vintage photograph pleasure this week! Up first is a familiar site -- Santa Claus collecting donations for the less fortunate on a street corner, circa the early 1910s. This is from the Library of Congress's Bain News Service collection. Click for a larger version. The sign on the faux chimney reads, in part, "Volunteers of America -- Ballington Booth Christmas Dinners." According to Wikipedia, Ballington Booth was an officer in the Salvation Army. His parents, William and Catherine Booth, founded the Salvation Army in 1865. Booth and his wife Maud left the Salvation Army in the late 19th century and started their own charity organization -- God
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 20: Santa and Swimmers on the Beach, Los Angeles 1927

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 20: Santa and Swimmers on the Beach, Los Angeles 1927

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Christmas photos aren't quite the same without all the color and richness in them, but if we're going to go vintage let's go all the way! Here's an odd specimen from the Roaring '20s. It features Santa Claus and a host of bathing suit-clad swimmers lying around a Christmas Tree on a Los Angeles beach. Click for a larger version. I like this because it's unlike just about every traditionally staged holiday photo I've seen. I like how Santa couldn't even be bothered to wear pants but he still went with the coat and hat. Man Californians can be an odd bunch. (No offense.) (Image courtesy The Smithsonian.) Related articles Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 14: The Kitchen of Tomorrow (Life, 1943) (grayflannelsuit.net) Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 15: Vintage Halloween Costumes...
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 19: Mickey Mouse at the 1934 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 19: Mickey Mouse at the 1934 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Macy held its first Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, making it one of the oldest and longest-running parades around. It's also been known in times past as the Macy's Christmas Parade and later the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade, but the idea is the same. Balloons, balloons, and more balloons! A big debut took place in 1934, when Mickey Mouse -- who debuted in 1928 -- appeared as a balloon for the first time. In a bit of cross-brand promotion, Mickey wore a Macy's star on his chest. Here's a photo from that 1934 parade, taken in the area of 46th Street and Broadway. Click for a larger version. Lots of fantastic details besides the balloon here. The timeless Coca-Cola sign is there of course. On the left is the Orpheum Dance Palace, which was a place where you could pay f
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 18: Thanksgiving Maskers, 1911

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 18: Thanksgiving Maskers, 1911

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Before Halloween became the de facto holiday of choice in America for children seeking goodies, there was Thanksgiving Masking. On the last Thursday in November, kids dressed up in costumes -- typically made up of adult-looking clothes and either masks or dark, smudged faces -- and go around the neighborhood begging for treats or scrambling for pennies. The tradition started in the 19th century and, as far as I can tell, was mainly relegated to the northeastern U.S. Once the now-accepted traditions of Thanksgiving and Halloween took hold in the 20th century, masking vanished. Certainly one of the major developments that pushed it into obscurity was the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. Here's a shot, most likely dated 1911, of a group of Thanksgiving Maskers scrambling fo
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 17: Memories of Atlantic City

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 17: Memories of Atlantic City

Vintage Photo Wednesday
The cleanup from Hurricane Sandy has barely begun here in New Jersey. In fact, I'm writing this from somewhere other than my home due to a lack of power. I think it's safe to say that large parts of the state -- the Jersey Shore especially -- will never be the same. So for this edition of Vintage Photo Wednesday, let's remember one place in particular: Atlantic City.
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 15: Vintage Halloween Costumes

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 15: Vintage Halloween Costumes

Vintage Photo Wednesday
The internet is full of pictures featuring vintage Halloween costumes, so do we really need another gallery? Yes, yes we do. OK, so maybe this last one stretches the definition of vintage a bit. But hey, it's Kiss and that's good enough for me. I only wish there were existing photos of me when I dressed like Gene as a kid -- with actual face paint no less! Related articles Halloween Costumes From Yesteryear Let's Look at Some More Vintage Halloween Ads A Gallery of Vintage Beistle Halloween Decorations, Part 2 Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 14: The Kitchen of Tomorrow (Life, 1943)