Thumb Problem

Poor lad -- broken a thumb at such a young age, then made to get all dressed up for family. He does appear to have a brace (the black in his palm), which would indicate a pretty serious break, and the lack of our ultra-modern materials means it looks a lot worse than if you broke it today. These days, we have flesh-colored or transparent high-strength tape and carbon-fiber braces that make it all but invisible. In the thirties, they had cloth tape -- or that might even be a plaster cast. Also, remember this farm was probably a good 5 to 10 miles from the nearest town...if they went to a doctor at all. If a neighbor or even dad was handy with medical supplies, the only doctor consulted was a copy of the Modern Home Medical Advisor that came free with $10 of groceries down at the Red Owl.

(from this set)

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More Cranky Kids

I'm not sure how these children relate to the grumps in this photo from last week, But they seem to share a venue and photographer. It's the same (or very similar) venue, a folded sheet of some sort hung as a backdrop, with a dirt floor. The kids' footing is improved by adding a reed mat on the ground for this photo, but it didn't improve the children's attitudes. Little Gunther looks like he's about to cry, and the photographer is lucky Marta can't actually start fires with her mind even though she's trying really, really hard.

The style of dress is of a similar period as the previous photo, but a bit more formal: all white may signify some religious event is taking place (baptism, first communion, etc.), or it could be that their church-clothes are the nicest outfits they have to put on for a photographer.

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Cranky, Cranky Kids

Oh, my -- I know kids hate to get dressed up, but the dress clothes of today pale in comparison to the kids of the early 1900s. That sailor suit on the right? It would cause a riot among modern kids. The photo appears to me to be from a travelling photographer; the ground is dirt and grass, the chair is simple (probably recruited from the nearest building), and the backdrop is simple. Despite the outdoors, the camera is of a vintage without a speedy shutter, resulting in some blurriness. It could, however, also be an attempt to emulate a more expensive photo studio by hanging a sheet over the washline and getting the kids dressed up to the tees. Either way, the kids weren't happy about it.

see also: edwardian kids clothes * poor during Progressive era * progressivism and children

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