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. Also, check out these funny family photos that are hilariously awkward.
Proud to be home
An African American couple stands in front of their home in the 1920s with their dog and five children.
Robert Nelsen posed with his parents and sister Laverne in the spring of 1931. These are the funniest family Christmas photos.
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. Take a look at these candid, rarely seen photos of the royal family.
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. These charming, vintage photos show what Easter celebrations used to be like.
Always have your back
Two siblings pose together in the 1920s. The older sibling has her arm around her younger sister as if to say, "I have your back."
Claire Stickel, seen here with her mother and siblings, was praised for returning money she found at the public market in 1932. These are the secrets of the happiest families.
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. These cartoons about family life will make yours seem less crazy.
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. Check out these vintage photos of the 4th of July celebrations.
Curtis Darkes and his huge family learned firsthand about the values of self-sufficiency and pitching in to overcome adversity. His parents bought an 84-acre farm in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in 1927.
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.
Dolores Eggener’s parents married in 1922, but sadly her father died of pneumonia three months before she was born in 1926. That’s little Dolores with her older brother and mother. These are the most glamorous photos of life in the 1950s.
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.
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. These vintage photos show how birthday parties were celebrated over the decades.
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. Now, check out these photos that show how glamorous flying used to be.