The 1930s in America was dominated by the Great Depression. This affected the life style of many Americans. Many families had trouble affording the basic necesities, food and shelter, let along fashionable clothes. The trend toward casual clothes continued. The inability to afford clothes may have been a factor here. Boys continued to dress more casually. We see boys wearing "T"-shirts and sneakers. Boys still commonly wore kickers at the beginning of the decade, although fewer older boys than in the 1920s. We also see more boys wearing knee socks with knickers rather than long stockings. We note knickers going out of style by the end of the decade. More boys were wearing long pants, including younger boys. Younger boys wore shorts. They were also more common in the South and with more affluent families. Boys in the country commonly wore overalls. Girls mostly wore dresses. We do see girls in gym class and camp wearing rompers or shorts. Overalls in rural areas were common.
Here is a family photo taken in the vicinity of Utica, New York (upper NY State) during the summer of 1930. We dont' know the family name for certain but the ladies in the photo are "Grandma", "Mom", "Aunt Udle", and "Puss" according to notes on the back. The boy's name is Bob and he is eight years old in the photo. The photo comes from an album with the name of Elma Jones on the cover, so perhaps the boy's name is Bob Jones. One interesting feature of the photo is that Bob is wearing tan long stockings with supporters even though it is summer time (notice the detail of the boy enlarged). Notice also the long-sleeved white shirt and the hightop shoes. Such summer clothes were not unusual, apparently, in middle-class families in the early 1930s. The photo looks as though it were taken in front of the family home on something like a porch.
Unfortunately we have very little information about this family (figure 1). We assume that they are American. We believe it is a Mr. Barsumian with his three sons. The photograph is undated, but we believe it was taken about 1930. We know the boys were named Robert, Herbert, and Edward. They were the children from his first marriage. The boys all wear knickers. Th boys in front have knee socks which they have pulled up over the hem of their knickers. Robert looks to be a bit more fastidious than his brithers and wears a tie,
Here we have a studio portrait of an unidentified American family. Unfirtunately there is no associated information other than what came be seen in the photograph. There are five children. The two younger children are probably girls. They look rather like boys, but bobbed hair bdeczme popular in the 20s. The three older children are boys. The children are about 2-12 years of age. The girls wear simple white dresses and long stockings. The boys wear what look like double-breasted suits with knicker pants. They have shirts with sports collars. We are not sure if they are wearing knee socks or ling stockings. They have low-cut shoes. The portrait is not dated. We would guess it was taken about 1930, perhaps the very late-1920s.
Here we see some images of an American family in the 1930s. The family has roots back to the Revolution. Our contributor writes, "Several years ago my dad’s brother (Uncle Bud) began a genealogy of his side of the family. His work pre-dated the days when personal computers were found routinely in homes. His efforts were all on paper. Despite this lack of technology available, he managed to accumulate a large mass of historical data about his (and, therefore, my) ancestors. Names, places, dates, all found by contacting local government agencies and churches and methodically tracing back our roots. After several years of this (and several of his own dollars spent for copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates) he and I were talking and I suggested that we computerize the whole thing. He sent me the data he had collected and I entered it all into a genealogy program I had purchased."
Here is a wonderful portrait of a Japanese American family. Unfortunately there is no informatiin associated with it. We would guess it was taken about 1930. We think the five children were photographed with their mother. The little girl wears a sailor styled dress. The youngest boy wears a sailor suit. What we are confused about is that the three older boys wear a military-styled uniform. They are not Boy Scout uniforms. We thought they might be military school uniforms, but the uniforms do not have any badges of any kind, suggesting it is not a military school uniform. The older boy has a darker uniform than the two other boys. Thus we are unsure just what these uniforms are.
This American family is unidentified. We do not know where in America it was taken or when. We suspect that it was taken in the late-1920s or early 30s, most probably the early-30s. The family has four children, a baby, two girls, and a boy. The girls are probably wearing their best party dresses with classic strap shoes and white stockings. These shoes were more common in the 30s than 20s. Especially in the early 20s we see often ankle-strap shoes, rather than the insep straps here. The boy wears a button-on outfit, also with white stocking, but low-cut oxfords rather than strap shoes. This we think is much more indicate than the 30s when younger boys often wore strap shoes when dressing up. Another indicator of the 30s is the older girls hair style, which looks rather modern to us, again more likely the 30s than the 20s. The adult clothing overall suggests the 30s to us more than the 20s, although we see trouser cuffs in the 20s.
This is the O'Brien family, we believe in the early-1930s. The O'Brien family was from Boston. We have a group photograph of Dr. Eddie O'Brien and his five children, four boys and their little sister. We have the names, but not the ages or when the phoyograph was takem. We would guess the early-1930s and in fact 1930 and 31 are the only 2 years that the accademy match was played in New York's Yankee Stadium. The boys are left to right: Richard P., Robert F., Edward J. 3rd, and Paul R. We would gues the boys are about 6-14 years of age baed on basic biology. Three of the boys, however, look close in age. The boys wear similar single-breasted vested suit with knickers and varied light-colored knee socks with low cut shoes. Paul has rather grown out of his jacket. Being named fter his father may men that he is the oldest, but he is not the tallest. Little Mary Catherine wears pants and leggings. The family made the news because Dr. O'Brien had volunteered to referee the annual charity Army-Navy football classic at Ynkee stadium, although the year is not specified.
Here we see the children of Mr. And Mrs. Ben Darvey. Darvey was a Civil War veteran. I'm not sure how he served, but he would have been 19-24 years old during the War. Farvey married his wife in 1911. He was 67 and she was 23 years of age. We do not know any of the detail about the marriage, but quite a number of younger women married Civil War veterans, in part to qualigy for widows bemefits. Darvey was still going strong when this photograph was taken. The family was photographed February 17, 1931 at their home in Waverly, Illinois. Darvey was born in 1842 and was 86 year old when this photograph was taken. The couple had eight children, but only these four survived. The children are left to right: George (age 6), Mabel (age 13), Ruth (age 15), and Robert (age 16).
This unidentified American family was photographed on what looks like an early Spring outing. There is no information associated with the family snapshot. Writing on the back suggests it was taken in 1932, but we are not entirely sure. We see the mother and father plus an extra man and three children. The children all wear caps. The girl has a stocking cap. The boys look like they are wearing berets, but we don't think so. The older boy seems to be wearing a flatcap sideways which is a little strange. We are not sure about the younger boy. The girl wears a shirt and skirt. The boys have different sweaters, a turtke neck and sleeveless sweater. The children wear lon stockings, knee socks, amd ankle socks. All three children have oxford shoes. We suspect that they were a well-to-do family. Most American boys wore knickers in the 1930s. Shorts were most common among younger boys and afflunt families.
The seller dates this unidentified family portrait to 1932. There is nothing on the picture itself to confirm that date, butit was presumablyn other material associated with the portrait. We think it'is a reasonable date. The boy's hightop shoes make us think that it is probably early 1930s rather than later when boys often wore low-cut Oxfords. Does the size of the suit lapels give any clue to the date? They are bit wider than I would have expected for the early 1930s, but lapel width is not a topic we have considered in detail yet. We obviously have a family photo here with quite a number of children, four boys and two girls. Since this photo probably dates from the Great Depression, I suspect that such a large family might have been Catholic. The origin of the photo seems to be Connecticut or at least New England, but we can't be certain of that.
Here we see the family of a World War I draft dogger Grover Cleveland Bergdoll (1893-1966) was born in Philadelphia to a wealthy brewing family. Family money financed his aviatiin and racing exploit. He was before World War I a noted race car driver and early aviatior. He is best known, however, as being America's most famous draft dodger. He was declared a deserter (1918), but eluded police for 2 year. He finally was arrested at his home (Jannuary 1920). He was found guilty of desertion and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
He managed to escape through Canada with the help of the family chaufer. He went to Gemany here he also had family. He was hunted by different vigilate groups, killing and wounding two would be kidnappers. After that e dell into obsuity, but married a German women woman and had five children and lived in Weinsberg He returned to Philadelpahia and lived there secretly for exended periods. His family and his wife wife attempted to obtain clemency for him. We note a 1935 effort which made the newspapers. Apparently he wanted to escape NAZI rule. The draft dogger found himelf in the most militarized country in the world intent on launching another great war. He may have been thinking about his son. Bergdoll surendered to American authoritie just as Hitler was d\fianliing his plan or war (May 1939). There was an effort to send him back to Germany. Congressman Forest Harness sponsored a bill barring the reentry of any draft dodgers who had escaped custody and fled to a foreign country. After another court-martial, he was sentenced to serve the remainder of his original term plus 3 years. He was realeased (1944). After his release, Bergdoll lived in Virginia. He died in Richmond (1966). He was under psychiatric care at the time.
A HBC reader has provided us a photograph of a friend and his brother, Daniel and Richard Holland. He indicates, "The portrait shows a college friend of mine, Richard Holland, and his older brother Daniel, with their mother in Boston. The photograph was taken in 1936. Richard, the younger boy, is 5 and a half years old; Daniel is about 7 or 8. The picture was taken in Boston during the Winter (February, 1936) and shows how respectable middle-class boys were dressed at that time for a posed photograph. Both boys wear V-necked sweaters with a stripe at the neck and wrists, white shirts the large collars of which extend over their sweaters, and neatly tied neckties. Both boys wear short trousers and very long tan stockings held up by hose supporters, although you can't see the shorts and stockings of Daniel, the older boy."
Earl M. Weber was the oldest son in the Webber family from rural Pennsylvania. He had a younger brother and two sisters. A photograph shows them "dressed for Sunday School on a spring morning" in 1936. As he tells us, "we had to wear garters [i.e., hose supporters fastened to an underwaist] to hold up our long stockings" that proved to be "a nuisance." Notice that these boys wear rather long short trousers for 1936 with dark tan cotton stockings, white shirts, and neckties. Earl mentions that the family was not affluent during the Great Depression and had to economize. The
girls also wear long stockings, white in the case of the younger girl, tan in the case of the older daughter. The girls were about 13 and 11 in this photo. Earl seems to have been about 10 and his younger brother 7. Earl's stockings look to be rather loosely gartered, possibly because his supporters were too long or had lost their elasticity. Earl also mentions that the family shopped for clothes from a Sears Roebuck catalog, which in 1936 shows the waists and stockings that the boys probably wore. Wards for the same year shows the supporters, also available at Sears.
Here we see an unidentified Elm Grove, Oaklahoma family in 1936. The family was one of millions whose lives were devestated by the Depression. The family is living in a shack in a Hooverville. The mother seems to be ground down by the situation. The children so not seem to fully understand the situation. Unfortunstely we do not know what the family was doing before this. They may have well been sharecroppers. Nor do we know what happened to them. This is one of the gripping images created by famed photographer Dorthea Lange for the Darm Security Administration (FSA).
The Saunders were a large Illinois family. The photograph here was taken in 1937. There are ten children--five sons and five daughters. Here we see the parents, Herbert Sr. and Marguerite, holding their twin daughters, Doris and Donna, as babes in arms at the left and right sides of the group. From left to right (back row) we see Herbert Jr. (about 17), Mary (the eldest child), and Robert (the eldest boy at about 19). The two boys in the middle are Richard and Curtis. In the
front row we have the younger children, Nancy (6), William (4), and Patricia (8). The Saunderses seem typical of a solid middle-class family except perhaps for the large number of children. Notice that
the older boys wear grown-up suits and ties except for Curtis, who wears a sweater with a zipper opening. We can't be sure, but Richard and Curtis (who are about 9 and 12 respectively) probably wear
knickers. The smaller children in front all wear beige long stockings, the standard color in the 1930s. You can see the double buttons of William's Y-shaped hose supporters (probably attached to an underwaist) at the hem of his very short shorts. He wears a V-knecked sweater on top. Nancy and Patricia wear wash dresses.
This portrait of the the three family children, two boys and a girl. The children are not identig=fied, but we do know that they were 6-11 years of age and the portrait, that mean 6 years for the younger boy, 8 years for their sister, and 11 years for the older boy. We also know the photograph was taken in 1937. While we do not know the fmily name, we can tell they were a fmily living in comfortable circumstnces even during the Great Depression. This is not a studio portrait, but was taken in the family living room. And the look of the furnitur and backgrond suggests that they were probanly not rich, but living a in comfortable, affluent circunstances. Alsi the portrait looks to us to be professionlly posed and taken, not a family snapshot which would also suggest an affluent family life. The way the children are dressed also suggest a well-to-do family. Sailor suits wee becoming less commom for younger boys and strap shoes were largely unlnown for school age boys. The girls wears an elegant velvet dress with a lace collar. And short pants suits were stll worn in the 1930s, but most 11-years olds would have worn long pants or knicker suits. Older boy searing short pants suits were more commonly wih well-to-do families. Also note the children are not wearing knee socks which wre declining in poularity. While the boys are smartly ressed, mothr hs not given aot of attention to their hair styling.
This is tough one to tie down to a decade. We know it was taken in the late-30s or early-40s. They look like a family in comfortable circumstances. You can see their house in the background. We see a well dressed father and informally dressed mother--notice the fashiinable pants. The weoman with the fancy hat is probably grandmother. The children look to be about 3-12 years old. The yonger biys wear a strioed T-shirt, shorts, and sabdaks. The older boy weas a doublr-breasted knickers suit. The girl wears a wide-brimmed hat, cape, and matching dress. We womder if it might be a school uniform. The little boy;s out git looks rather like the 40s. Thr older boy's knicker suit looks more likke the 30s. We would guess the photigraph was taken in tghe late-30s, but the very early-40s is definitely possible.
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