20 Vintage Photos of What Family Time Looked Like 100 Years Ago
Family life was a lot different in the 1920s and early 1930s.
The Great Depression
Marcella Lewis, at right with her mother, Pearl, was old enough to recall the hard times of the Great Depression first-hand after the banks closed.
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Robert Nelsen posed with his parents and sister Laverne in the spring of 1931.
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A loyal mother
A mother holds her infant child while also attending to her five other kids.
This photo was taken at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition in 1933. Mary Reiter attended with her sister, Ann, and cousin Marian.
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Posing for a portrait
A young mother poses with her two daughters for a studio portrait in 1925.
Marian Guthrie’s son, Franklin, was a godsend to his family when he was born just before Christmas in 1930.
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Claire Stickel, seen here with her mother and siblings, was praised for returning money she found at the public market in 1932.
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Still having fun
Even a Christmas tree was out of reach for poor families like Dorothy Lauman’s. In this photo, she’s having fun in 1928 with her brothers.
The best that they could
Donald Catt does not recall the Depression days as being unhappy for the children in his family. While they had little money, he says folks got by the best that they could.
Dorothy Behringer posed in 1934 with her mother, older sister, and four brothers. During the Depression years, Dorothy’s mother took pity on the lonely, hungry wanderers that crossed her path.
Reuse and repurpose
For many people in the 1920s and 1930s, like Margie Porteus’ family, learning to reuse and repurpose supplies was an essential life skill. Margie, at left, credits her home economics teacher for teaching her how to rework worn clothing.
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Still the best dressed
“My older brother, George, and I were two of the best-dressed kids in Chicago,” says John Doll of the 1929 photo. “Our family was on welfare, but we got high quality, secondhand clothes through a local charity.”
This tidy family poses for a portrait in 1925. The mother, holding a purse and wearing a hat, stands next to her five daughters.
Brooklyn, New York
Louis Tucciarone was born two years after this family photo was taken, and he grew up in Brooklyn, New York, during the Great Depression.
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In 1925, Julia Snyder posed with her sister and brother. A few years later, her parents had to temporarily place the children in an orphanage.
Mother Vada York set a good example for her children, including daughter Zada and her eight younger siblings. The family’s ninth child was born on Oct. 28, 1929, just a day before the stock market crashed.
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