23 Vintage Photos of Birthday Parties Through the Decades
Birthday parties haven't changed that much over the years. There has always been cake, presents, and fun celebrations.
Shirley Temple curls
My twin sister Carolyn (far left), older sister, Celia (middle), and I all had our hair done up in Shirley Temple curls for Celia’s sixth birthday in 1937,” says Lucille Tico of Santa Barbara, California. If you think these Shirley Temple outfits are adorable, you'll love these vintage Halloween photos.
Good eats and iced tea
The McGee clan convened on July 12, 1944, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Joseph McGee, the family patriarch, who died in 1911. No paper plates in those days, but plenty of good eats and glasses of iced tea to wash it all down. Harold McGee of Byron, Georgia, shared the photo.
Fifth birthday celebration
“I am the lad on the right at this celebration in honor of my fifth birthday, in 1945. My mother made the day quite memorable. I still have that treasured dining room table,” says Donald Mackey of Crestwood, Missouri. These rare, vintage photos show what life was like in the 1950s.
Sharing a birthday
“I was born in 1943 on my mom’s birthday, October 10,” says John Wehrman of Green Bay, Wisconsin. “A local newspaper ran this photo of my mother, Ruth, and me when I turned 2 and she turned 24.”
Welcome to the circus
Birthday boy Jimmy was two in 1947, when his mom and dad, Dolores and Dick Eggener, gave him a party with a circus theme that included hot dogs in homemade barbecue sauce and a from-scratch cake topped with animal crackers. Dolores’ brother, Jack Kmiecik, took the photo. These vintage Macy's parade photos will teach you a history lesson.
Grace Scowen of Kelowna, British Columbia, bakes a special cake for the birthdays of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. In this 1947 photo, her son Bruce (center with sailor collar) is the guest of honor.
“This tea party was for my future sister-in-law, Darlene Jones Crouch (second from left). It was her eighth birthday in 1948,” says Suzanna Jones of Granbury, Texas. “The girls were asked to wear dress-up clothes and bring their dolls. The cake was angel food, and there was a maypole in the center of the eight candles, leading to the party favors. I am now the proud owner of the tea service, and my daughter, Lacey, received the china as a wedding gift from her grandmother.”
“For my tenth birthday in 1953, I had a ‘tacky party.’ Only one photo was taken at the event. Photography was an extravagance to my father. When a roll of film was developed, into the album went one shot each of our car, visiting relatives, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our parakeet,” says Donna Mullinax Brown of Villa Rica, Georgia.
Hopalong Cassidy outfit
“Back in 1950, all kids wanted to look like their hero, Hopalong Cassidy. That was certainly the case with my brother, John 'Ron' Raveno,” says Richard Raveno of Cameron Park, California. “Hoppy outfits were available for kids, but my parents couldn’t afford the complete wardrobe. So they asked relatives to each buy a piece for Ronnie’s 7th birthday. From that day on, it was hard to get him to wear anything else!” These vintage photos prove that childhood hasn't changed that much.
“Fiesta dinnerware was all the go in the 1950s,” says John Spangler of Hanover, Pennsylvania. “On my wife Mae’s birthday in April 1954, she received a Fiestaware cup and saucer to complete her set.”