20 July 2011

Photo Essays: Summer in the City, 1920s Style

Anna C. Bowling

Josefina A hot summer day can make anybody cranky. Add a toddler and subtract modern conveniences such as air conditioning, television, computers, mp3 players, DVDs and refrigeration. For many, this may sound like the start of a story of modern horror. For those who lived before the age of modern conveniences, it was just summer, and family and friends provided plenty of entertainment.

One of the best parts of historical research is remembering that no matter what era it might be, the people who lived then have the same needs we do today. Since primary sources are the most accurate research tools, vintage photographs can be a window into a world of generations past.

Today, we'll join a young couple and their toddler son enjoying the great outdoors in 1924 New York City. Though these photos may not all be from the same day, it is the same family, and they've invited you to their summer outing.



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Either this water is very interesting or someone is looking for the plug.
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Gathering with friends means dressing up for everyone. Note the matching caps on the couple and the menswear on the Mrs.

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No matter what the era, everything is better when shared with friends...

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...and it's always good to go home at the end of the day.

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Vintage photos give us the opportunity to exercise our creative muscles. Who are these people and what was important enough about this particular moment that was worth capturing to share with generations to come? Is it so that we can drool over the details of gorgeous clothing, play forensic psychologist and analyze subjects of the photos, or something else altogether? What is it about vintage photos that catches your interest?

Writing historical romances allows Anna C. Bowling to travel through time on a daily basis and make the voices in her head pay rent. Her current release, ORPHANS IN THE STORM, is available from Awe-Struck E-books.

3 comments:

Delia DeLeest said...

I love vintage photos. I like looking at the people and how they're dressed. But, I also love looking at the background, the little everyday details that the photographer wasn't looking to capture, because, back then, they were just every day objects. At a picnic, I like looking at the dishes, the food they packed, the car sitting in the background. Oh, and shoes. I LOVE looking at women's shoes, especially in 1920's photos, because they had the greatest shoes ever in that era.

Blythe Gifford said...

Love this! When you are doing research, a picture is, indeed, worth thousands of words, for it captures what is so ordinary that people don't think to write it down.

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Delia, the clothes in the 1920s are like nothing else anytime, anywhere, and actual period photos are precious. They really don't make shoes like that anymore, more's the pity.

Blythe, that's exactly the thing about pictures. We get to see the things that never got written down. How special is that?