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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past (1936-1942)


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Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Boy beside store window display of Christmas ornaments: photographer unknown, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Boy looking at store window display of toys: photographer unknown, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

Christmas trees and wreaths in store window display: photographer unknown, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Christmas tree over door of bar on Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: photo by Paul Vanderbilt, December 1938

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Fisherman on the dock, Christmas Day, Charleston, South Carolina: photo by Marion Post Wolcott, December 1938

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Children of H.H.Tripp wrapping presents for Christmas; Tripp operates his mother's farm near Dickens, Iowa: photo by Russell Lee, December 1936

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas raffle in the streets of Cidra, Puerto Rico (the kid and the chicken are the prizes): photo by Edwin Rosskam, December 1937

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas shoppers, Gadsden, Alabama: photo by John Vachon, December 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas shopping crowds on main street of Gadsden, Alabama: photo by John Vachon, December 1940

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Hanging Christmas decorations, Providence, Rhode island: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas trees for sale, Woonsocket, Rhode Island: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Day before Christmas in Greyhound bus terminal, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Young lady and naval officer during Christmas rush in Greyhound bus terminal, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas rush in Greyhound bus terminal, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas shopping in Woolworth's five and ten cent store, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas shopping in Woolworth's five and ten cent store, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas shopping, Radford, Virginia: photo by John Vachon, December 1940

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Wandering Christmas carol singers, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: photo by Jack Delano, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas in the home of a government executive, Virginia: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Children playing with their Christmas toys on a side street, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: photo by Jack Delano, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas in the home of a government executive, Virginia: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Little girl playing with her Christmas presents on a side street, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: photo by Jack Delano, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Martinetti grandchild and her Christmas tree, New York, New York: photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas in a Washington, D.C. home: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Christmas in a Washington, D.C. home: photo by John Collier, December 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Christmas Eve in the church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico: photo by John Collier, December 1942

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

At the bar, merchant seamen's Christmas party at the Andrew Feruseth Club, Christmas Day, New York, New York: photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

At the bar, merchant seamen's Christmas party at the Andrew Feruseth Club, Christmas Day, New York, New York: photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Drinking beer at the bar, merchant seamen's Christmas party at the Andrew Feruseth Club, Christmas Day, New York, New York: photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

The week before Christmas at R.H. Macy and Company department store, New York, New York: photo by Marjory Collins, December 1942

Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Unemployed workers in front of shack with Christmas tree, East 12th Street, New York, New York: photo by Russell Lee, January 1938


Christmas Eve, headlines posted in street-corner window of Brockton Enterprise newspaper office, Brockton, Massachusetts: photo by Jack Delano, December 1940

Photos from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

30 comments:

TC said...

I regret not being able to credit the photographer who took the top three colour shots.

I suspect it's Jack Delano, but as I can't confirm that, and as I discovered the photos hidden away in an obscure digital nook, and as the archive isn't offering any clues... I must limit myself to saying: Merry Christmas, everybody!

doowman said...

And to you, Tom. Just so you're reminded that your infrequent guests still crave (and appreciate) the daily nourishment you provide here. We shan't starve.

Julia said...

What a fabulous assembly of Christmas pics!
They've transported me to another world.
Thank you, Tom and merry Christmas!!

TC said...

Hey Doowman, great to hear from you always. The year wouldn't have been the same without you.

Thanks for the memories... Mickey Lolich, Norm Cash, Virgil "Fire" Trucks, and Prince Hal Newhouser are floating through the cobwebbed rafters, even while we reminisce...

TC said...

Yes, Julia, other worlds within other worlds within other worlds... thank you so much for transporting me to yours, time after time, this year!

Julia said...

=)
And the next, and the next, and the next, and...

Ed Baker said...

just yesterday I was telling my son about getting
the BEST bowl of stew ever chicken livers,hearts,
gizzards, rice, onions, green peppers...
in a thick gravy in a big bowl for like 40 cents with bread
AT the Greyhound Station well THAT'S THE STATION !

they had this little lunchen-ette just beyond the magazine stand...

across the street was the Trailways Bus-Station... they had better apple pie a la mode

I think both stations were at 8 th & H Streets N.W.

we were at 7 th & F N.E. so a mere 14 block walk...

Julia said...

My greetings and best wishes to you all!
¡Feliz Navidad!

TC said...

I hope everyone will wish to take a peek at Julia's wonderful Christmas post.


Ed, there you go again, whetting my appetite for the past. The farther we get from it, the better it seems to look, and smell, and taste.


Why does it take the cruel vanishings of time to make us appreciate the goodness of the good things -- or is it just that we find it so much simpler to invest them with that goodness the farther away they become, growing ever smaller, like the earth seen from a spaceship that is rapidly departing, never to return?


(While building this post, I was surprised to find many ancient buried Christmas memories, of lost places and times and people, all now gone forever -- memories purged of all the tiresome drudgery and difficulty of reality, naturally, but with the moments of childhood excitement and mystery more or less intact -- nudging back up toward the extremely unmagical "surface" of the present. Quite strange, these "true fictions" we insistently construct in our minds, all the more palpable, it sometimes seems, the older we get. But then again one should really speak not for some projected universal "us" but merely for oneself, and in so doing so admit frankly to oneself that it's very likely a dearth of comparably enchanting present-tense experience that casts this aura of enchantment upon the deep past. Without the little white lies one tells oneself about the past, what past would there be? It's the investigation or exploration of those ruins -- or runes? -- that probably compels researches like these, it must in the end be admitted.)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks for the pictures. Somehow, looking at pictures of strangers sharing a common experience, from the unemployed outside a ramshackle shack to the mother and daughter wrapping gifts, touches one deeply.

One of my fondest memories of my mother was her teaching me how to wrap a gift.

So, Tom, thanks for this gift, giving us back what we all share, the collective memory of our own secret lives.

Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years to you.

best,
Don

TC said...

Yes, Don -- and in the moment of experiencing, across whatever gulf of distance, that curious shared collective feeling, perhaps, for at least a moment, we do become less strange to one another. In a world like the one we inhabit now, anything that does that is surely to be treasured.

The warmest of wishes from here to you and yours, for the season.

(And may I add that though we've never met, from the first, here, you've "never been a stranger"... in fact, at some point your useful, direct and deep insights became something to be relied on, in that sense I once mentioned, that after writing something new, I got into the habit of saying to myself, "what would Don think?")

politelyhomicidal said...

Great pictures, Tom. Although I've always been a bit suspicious of the 'truth' of photographs, I nonetheless love looking at old photos and have countless volumes of them.

Funny thing is, it's always the small details that get me: what happened to that kid glimpsed in the background? That guy with the hat and package--where's he going? Did he get there? That little girl, peering shyly from behind someone--did she have a good life? Where's that bus going? Does that bartender own the joint or is he an employee?

I guess I'm a trivial sort of guy.


Anyway, warmest regards and wishes to you and Angelica for the new year.

Your Friend, Mishari

TC said...

Lovely of you to come round, Mish. Angelica and I send along our warmest best wishes to you and Inez for the new year.

The old remembering-machine is not what it used to be (and not much improved by falling down in a parking lot and breaking a couple of ribs a week ago, I think they may have been my memory ribs), but yes, it's always stirred back into some form of operation by old photos.

I think we've talked about this before, our mutual obsession in this area.

There is at least the excuse of old age, in my case, making these melancholy dwellings upon what was and what might have been into something more like a routine symptom of encroaching mind-loss than a true obsession.

You, happily, have no such excuse.

You may not have noticed my exhaustive (and probably, for some, exhausting) presentations of old photos, here, pretty much all through this past year.

The one moment in which the "what happened to him/her later" phenomenon really grabbed me by the throat came last summer, when, after posting some photos that included a shot of a Chicago cop on a horse, I looked closer and longer at that photo, until it dawned on me that the cop in the photo was indeed my grandfather.

The remembering machine spun out of control just a bit, in that moment.

TC said...

And speaking of remembering-machine, holiday department...

One morning, at the home of that horseback policeman I have just mentioned, unable to bear the wait before the anticipated revelation of the imagined bounties beneath the tree, I snuck down early, opened several packages, among which was a small bottle of red nail polish (certainly not meant for me!), with which, in my excitement, I proceeded to paint all the other packages and their contents a very bright red.

Ah well, where are the snows & c.

Ed Baker said...

well I've come to this:

what AM I but my memory?
how-ever

there is/are two memories...(there is always
&simultaneously The Dichotomy
of

psychological memory (which is a no or not memory)
& factual memory which is very accurate

psychological memory is a disturbance
... it prevents you from accurate factual memory...

which leads me to dreams... which have been given a bad rap since Freud screwed with them hell, he ONLY analyzed the dreams of the Screwed up Crazies...
he should have analyzed the dreams of some ... sane people artists, poets, etcs.

now

now I am absolutely & maybe even conditionally
......here/now
pinch me when it s
over
or better still


send me a Shiny Stone to roll between my fingers

TC said...

Ed,

Good morning.

Know what you mean, I think.

___


now I am absolutely & maybe even conditionally
......here/now
pinch me when it s
over
or better still


send me a Shiny Stone to roll between my fingers

__

I can corroborate your here & nowness, my friend.

Speaking of that Shiny Stone...

Last night a friendly Mexican food service employee handed me a small gift, something shiny and metallic. I thought it was a bullet, and, I believe, so did he. But the casing was hollow. I believe it was actually the tip of some sort of antenna.

I asked him if he had ever heard of a Silver Bullet.

No, he said.

I asked him if he had ever heard of the Lone Ranger.

No, he said.

This fellow bears a curious resemblance to John Wayne.

I once told him so.

Who's John Wayne, maestro? he asked.

Ed Baker said...

I used to WATCH
The Lone Ranger on
our ARVIN Radio

we used to even ride around the alley on
our broom-horses
wearing our Hoppy & Lone Ranger outfits

my next door neighbors a black family (The Greens)
who's kid my age P.T. Greene
had THE ENTIRE LONE RANGER outfit!



mask, hat, shirt pants two-gun holster, the guns and (plastic) silver bullets...
one day
he pulled up his gloves
balled up his fist & punched me and upper-cut
to the jaw...

about two years later when the schools were integrated
we went to Stuart Junior High together

well
I am thinking ....

& am thinking that
thinking just comes and goes
(in/through memory)

&
what else are we but
our experiences

...the Stiff of Dreams


( GAWD, I now realize that I shouldn't uve dropped out of Post Grad Skool
& run-off with a Rock

TC said...

Well, of course, back in radio days, one had to supply a bit of imagination.

Ed Baker said...

Hammeing Harmen HECK we used to during the summer go 3 4 times a week over to Griffith Stadium

watch Killebrew and guys like Eddie Yost, Gil Cohen Mickey Vernoi and some great young Cuban pitchers play
my "must see" game was when Mickey Mantle & Yogi "Bear" (THE Yankees) were in town

I sure was pissed when Killebrew moved on I think to Minnesota

anyway

terrific "radio" poem

&

dig this

I think besides me you are the ONLY one I've seen use USE

"tawny" in a piece!
Tawny is the color-tone-&temper of ALL of my true Muses...
Full Moon (Chin Fay Ling)
Wild (Korean) Orchid (Sun Young Song)
Stone Girl ( Doan Trang Nguyen)

gonna print out your radio poem and tape it up on my "wall of (my wall)"

and
speaking of "Imagination"

Albert Einstein said:

"imagination is more important than knowledge"

AND...
he should know!


Old Time Radio (I think) is still bradcast Sunday nites (NPR) 7-9 pm (around here.

Eddie Walker still does it ... Eddie Walker still here in D.C. (I think) He was not only a GREAT Jazz D J but 1/2 of

"we are
The Joy Boys of Radio

we chase electrons to-and-fro
(...)

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Merry Christmas! And thanks for all these, including that glimpse of "TREES / TREES / TREES" in a window. The Monterrey pine branch is downstairs, waiting for lights to be lit; the boy's first tooth (under his pillow last night) has been changed into two dollars. Julia's Feliz Navidad brings reminds us of what it's all about --


12.24

red-orange of sky on horizon above black
branch of trees, red-tailed hawk calling
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

is therefore, not an actual
succession of further

periods, as self-evident as
was the case, element

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
white cloud in pale blue sky on horizon

Julia said...

Amazing stories from all of you!
What happened to you this Christmas morning when your family discovered your "decorations" using nail polish, Tom?

TC said...

Steve, that closing couplet is worthy of a French master.

If not also a fencing master.

Ed, yes, that hitting one over the fence (on the radio in the poem) by HK came after he'd gone up to the land of many lakes. That was I believe 1973, or so.

Re. your reference to the Senators: "my" Senators (first year I cognized em) were those of '51. As I look back, in the light of memory they seem a cast of immortals. In reality they went 62-92 under Bucky Harris and finished seventh, ahead of the Browns of course but, embarrassingly, behind the A's (of Philadelphia, still, then). I remember their countenances all. Mickey Vernon Cass Michaels Pete Runnels, Eddie "The Walking man" Yost, Sad Sam Mele, speedy Erv Noren, promising Gil Coan; Sam Dente, Gene (The Talker) Verble and Clyde Kluttz (!) on the pines; and on the mound, the nifty Cuban twirlers Connie Marrero and Sandalio (Sandy) Consuegra. I had their baseball cards on which their immortal countenances were portrayed. In my memory they are gods, though in fact they were bums, pretty much.

Yes, I'm a radio guy too, Ed. Since the big brothering of tv that resulted in nobody getting signals without cable, We Who Are without Cable (morituri) never watch tv. The only channel that's gettable is a Spanish language superstation and so that is my tv station. I have a wee radio which I plug into my head if ever I am out hobbling about. But I do look at plenty of images, in this box.

I've seen some of the trunkfuls of old family photos to which Mishari refers. He has posted his ruminations upon those photos. Around the same time, I was coincidentally posting some poems about old family photos. Of course Mishari's photos came from Kuwait, whereas mine came from the snow covered front precincts of the home of my grandfather.

Torn from an Old Album

Julia, that grandfather was a huge and powerful yet also sweet and gentle man (he derived from County Kerry, in the West of Ireland), so that, when he came downstairs at dawn on Christmas and found that most of the various gifts for everyone in the family had been opened and painted red, it was a curious moment. There I was. Obviously there were no "other suspects". He was quite kind about it, considering.

I was about five years old, I suppose.

It must be that he and my grandmother and aunt and mother, who were also present, had already concurred that there was never to be any hope for this nail-polish artist.

Ed Baker said...

HEY

that's my NATS!

'first in war
first in peace

last in the American League."

YOU FROM D.C.

WHEN ONE DAY AFTER A GAME
Mickey Vernon on the parking lot opened the trunk of his car (a trunk-full of baseballs... he autographed one and handed it to me & said:

"this is Clyde Klutz, he plays for us too. Get his autograph"

so I handed Clyde the ball & as he was signing it

I said : "You're a klitz?"

they both laughed

the Mickey went back into his car trunk and gave me a (broken) bat

hell

the Redskins also played at Griffith Stadium..
I saw Sammy Baugh's last game

then came in to replace Baugh was Eddie Lebaron

inch for inch the greatest QB/ball handler OF 'em all!

the most beautiful site OF ALL TIMES
was when I was about 11 years old going to my first night gam!

coming up through the innards of the stadium the

POW out into the upper deck and

L I G H T E D up ...Green & the diamond.... WOW!

(the briggs hot dogs and especially that mustard....

THE BEST!

Elmo St. Rose said...

re:the American human landscape
so recently displayed on this
blog.

"Common looking people are the
best in the world:that is the reason the Lord makes so many
of them."
Abraham Lincoln, Illinois's greatest poet,"With malice toward none and charity for
all"

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

curtisroberts said...

As one of the polled majority of Americans who has had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, I find the photographs posted (the "Penna rye whiskey" bar on Market Street, Philadelphia, holds special interest) and all of the really delightful cheer and fellowship expressed here (including Ed's stew, Julia's post, Stephen's post and all the rest) incredibly uplifting. Merry Christmas to all of you from Curtis, Caroline, Jane, 10 cats, 2 dogs, 2 birds and 2 fish.

TC said...

Steve,

Special thanks due you as we near the end of the year, and the end of your magnum opus, for the serenity and stability you have brought us by keeping us up with Temporality.

Every morning of the year we've counted on it (and you) to

mark a sense of light

above and beyond our variously endarkened world(s).

Llkewise we remain indebted to Johnny, whose love of the living universe is never far from our minds in composing a post such as this one (which is dedicated to the younger generation, Jane and Johnny).

TC said...

Ed,

And here
is my my dubiously luminous coal-chunk stocking-stuffer for you.

TC said...

Curtis,

Do I ever know what you mean about that Christmas spirit deficit.

Nonetheless it's worth hauling the broken bones out of bed and dragging them to the technology when that is
the House of Your Friend.

We here, furred and/or not, all send to you, C, J and your entire congregation of fauna our warmest of holiday wishes. (And as you'll have noted from the above, there's a gallery of Christmas creatures here for Jane and Johnny.)

In fact we all send those holiday good wishes to everybody.

TC said...

And that means you, Elmo.

Your comment explains in a few words, better than this blogger could do, the motivation for posting FSA photos. The truth of your message gets truer every day, though at the same time, alas, it seems the common people grow to have less and less in common, these days, beyond a common misfortune.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Many thanks for last string of comments (my has THIS reached us, aka "readers") and yes, my mornings have all been 'made' (lo these many days) by marking your dispatches from the front over there (where the rain has probably begun also to fall, as it is now here, an exciting new patch of weather coming through). . . .