Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Windows: Still Here!

We have had some questions about this so I wanted to let everyone know that this blog is still here. Feel free to comment and share your memories.

Scott Thomas
Albright Memorial Library

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Be sure to check out Vince Sweeney's comments on yesterday's posting. You will find some great memories and insightful observations. Vince asked to see the photo of me from 1966, so here it is. We have now posted all of the Household photos that were donated to the library. This site will remain active indefinitely, and I will post updates if we receive any new insights into these photos. The Albright Memorial Library will continue to pursue projects like this that preserve the past while bringing it alive to those who remember and those who are too young to remember. We are particularly gratified by the participation of the community both on-line and off. Thank you for sharing your memories...and Happy Holidays!

Scott Thomas
Albright Memorial Library

Monday, December 21, 2009


We have two people to thank to today's posting which further illuminates some of our mysterious sign reflections. First, Vince Sweeney posted some superb comments to Friday's post which tell us about Eugene Jacobs and some of the other businesses in the 300 block of Lackawanna Avenue during the Household era. Judi Keller, from the Reference Department here at the Albright Library, verified the existence of the Triangle Shoe Co. at 305 Lackawanna Avenue and Scranton Talk at 315-319 Lackawanna Avenue which sold clothing, appliances, and furniture. Vince's comment also included a link to a photo of him taken with Santa likely at Household. Since hyperlinks do not work in the Comments, you can see to it here. Thanks, Vince! My parents have a photo of me testing driving a toy boat in the Globe Store in December 1966. I was three years old. I do not remember it. I do, however, remember seeing Santa in the then-brand new Viewmont Mall just a few years later. Vince's comment speaks of some of the downtown Scranton retailers from the Household era that tried to make it in the new mall. The Household Christmas windows and the reflections of lighted store fronts and signs in the windows themselves tell of a vibrancy that, just a few years later, was gone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unusual Side View and Reflection of Our Photographer

This one is unusual because it is taken through a side window. The photographer is presumably standing in the entrance to the store. The vantage point produces two interesting effects. First, we can see a reflection of the photographer himself in the mirrored tiles directly across from him. You can see his hat, and you can see his white cuff raised as he snaps the photo. Second, we can see out the front window of the store onto Lackawanna Avenue. The name of the business across the street appears to be "Eugene Jacobs." This photo is dated precisely: November 27, 1950. It is attributed to Anneman-Mott Studio presumably the employer of our photographer. It is 7" by 10 1/2". A small border was removed from the scanned version. There is some surface damage to the photo. The splotches of white near the top that seem to be the result of over-exposure are actually part of the display: the woodwork above the window is not distorted. Here is a version with higher resolution.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Clock Mystery

The mysterious clock reflection in some of the photos refuses to give up definitive answers. One photo, presented here and undated (though seemingly from very early in the 20th Century), reveals a clock on the northern side of the 200 block of Lackawanna Avenue. Another photo from 1907 shows a clock at Charles B. Engel jewelers at 217 Lackawanna Avenue. According to The Times-Tribune (March 30, 2003, page B2), it was in business until "the late 1960's." Yet another photo from very early in the 20th Century reveals a clock in the 300 block of Lackawanna Avenue. All of these clocks are circular. The reflected clock appears to be octagonal. Apparently, in the early to mid 20th Century, large outdoor clocks were a common component of a jewelers' signage.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Portrait of the Artist

On Monday we received a visit from Peg Munley. She identified her father in one of the photos. Thomas F. Hayes was the Display Manager for Household Outfitting during part of the era covered by the photos. He retired in 1961 so he was responsible for many of these displays. In this photo he is checking out his handiwork.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Simmons BeautyRest and the "Torture Test"

This photo was found with the others though it does not have a Christmas theme nor are the holidays mentioned in the display. Note the photo of the "Torture Test" in the lower right-hand corner. This one has some interesting reflections. A careful examination of the "Superliner" placard reveals a reflection of a window that may or may not have a Christmas tree in it. Towards the right of the photo, near the top of the window display, is the reflection of a neon sign that says "TRIANGLE." The upper left-hand corner of the photo betrays some damage. Here is the high resolution version.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Closer View of Train Display

This one is undated and a closer shot than most of the others. A building and a rocket seen in another display are repeated here, but this display is sparse by comparison. It lacks the tinsel and has fewer objects. However, it does add a second, smaller rocket in the middle of the complex of train tracks. If you zoom in near the top, you can make out a reflection that goes across almost the entire width of the photo. It appeared to be a lighted store window...presumably on the opposite side of Lackawanna Avenue. This photo has some surface damage particularly in the upper right-hand corner. Here is the higher resolution version.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where's the Flood?

This is similar to a 1960 photo we posted earlier. Probably only a few moments separate the two. The animated Santa is in a slightly different position. Also, the black shoe / white sock combo on one of the guys is more obvious. The shopping bag is from Woolworth's. Unlike most of the other photos in this series, it appears to be daytime. Household Outfitting Co. disappeared from the Scranton City Directory after 1962. Here is what the final listing says: "Household Outfitting Co. (Division of Markson Inc.) Victor Klein General Manager, A J Mallick Credit Manager, Scranton's Largest House Furnishers, 306-314 Lackawanna A., Tel DIamond 2-8251." Here is the higher resolution version.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Science and Sleds

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the folks who helped make this project a reality: Judi Keller of the Albright Memorial Library Reference Department for researching the photos,; Christina Thomas, Circulation Manager at the library for helping with blog design; Kristen Yarmey-Tylutki at the Weinberg Library (University of Scranton) for scanning in the larger photos; and, of course, Gene Giancini for donating the photos to the Albright Memorial Library. This one is 17" x 9 3/4". A small border was removed from the scanned image. It is dated 1945. Kids, the toy that looks like a small laptop is actually a ChemCraft chemistry kit. Here is the version with higher resolution.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shining Village

Here are two different views of the same window. The scene gleams with tinsel and snow. It is undated, but judging from the technology of the toys and the design of the cars, it is probably from the very late 1950s or even slightly beyond. The rocket was also seen in this other window. One wonders how the villagers feel about a huge rocket poised for launch on the outskirts of town! Interesting toys include a "Wrist Radio" and play set of Campbell soup cans and utensils. Both photos have significant damage including ripped and folded corners. Here is the high resolution version of the closer shot and the more distant shot.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Doll's House

Undated, but it uses the same dollhouse, slightly modified, as this one from 1948. There is a logo in the lower left-hand corner for "Ace Hoffman Studios." The display includes a toy called Koo Zoo which probably contains animal figurines. There is yet another reflection; a backwards "N" and "S" near the right-hand border. Here is the high resolution version.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Space Age Santa

This one is undated, but the space theme problem puts it somewhere in the Sputnik era. There is some damage to the original. The upper right-hand corner is torn away and there is a tear near the center of the photo. The details here are very interesting. The wall on the left is apparently covered with mirrored tiles. The flying saucer near the corner tear is bearing presents. The "Train Time" may or may not reflect store hours. (Apparently, the engineer had a 90 minute dinner break.) Finally, this window, like many of the others in this series, reflects a neighboring neon sign. This one is oval-shaped and can be seen just above the "Train Time" schedule. It appears indecipherable to these eyes. Here is a version with higher resolution.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Airborne Santa Train

This is another Lionel-themed window. No date is available. The photograph was produced by "Anneman-Mott Studio" as indicated by printing on the back. Dimensions are 10" x 8" and the surface of the photo betrays some minor deterioration. Once again, the reflections in the window are interesting. Note the reverse reflection of a "Scranton Talk" sign near the left-hand border in front of the uppermost doll. Here is a version with higher resolution.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Boudoir Doll" Free with a Lane Cedar Chest

If you do not know what a "Boudoir Doll" is or think it is something not fit for a family blog like this one, has some good information. This photo is undated and is the usual 10" x 8". The following information is printed on the back of the photo:

Anneman-Mott Studio
141 Jefferson Ave., Scranton
"Let Our Photographs Tell Your Story"

Here is a version with higher resolution.

Ballroom Scene

The photo itself is undated, but is obviously a larger and better preserved version of the folded "Photo / Poem" item from 1938. (See below for details.) The size of this version is 19" x 11" and required a special scanner. Again, thank you to the Weinberg Library at the University of Scranton. The little animals on wheels, such as the dog with the white face and the horse, must have been reused each year because they appear in other photos. You may notice two odd images in the black area at the top of the photo. The one that looks like a face is definitely made by pits on the surface of the photo. It does not appear in the version that accompanies the poem and the pits are obvious to the touch. However, the one to the right that looks like a clock viewed on its edge is intriguing because it can be see on the "poem" version. A ghostly clock can be seen in at least one other photo in this series. Here is a version of this photo with slightly higher resolution.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Santa's Window

This photo is appears to be the same window as the one with spectators listed below, but at night so it too is from 1960. (Note that Santa is in a different position indicating that he is animated.) It is the usual 10" x 8". Some of the other interesting features include a doll that proudly proclaims, "I can pose like a real live baby" and a "Train Schedule" that probably corresponds to store hours. Note that this includes Sunday hours from 2PM-9PM. A sharp eye will reveal a Bissel "Little Queen Housekeeping Kit." These details can best be seen in the version with higher resolution.

1960 with Spectators

This is the most recent of the photographs. It is dated 1960. It is also unusual because it includes spectators. Note the parking meter in the foreground. The size of the original, including a border which was omitted from the scanned version, is the usual 10" x 8". Here is a version with higher resolution.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Poem and Photo from 1938

This photo and poem are part of a 12" x 18" sheet folded into fours. It is from 1938. The original is somewhat discolored. The photo itself is 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" including border. The poem does indeed describe the contents of the beautiful window though our window designer could have used a little help with the iambic tetrameter rhythm. This larger image of the poem will make it easier to read. Here is a larger version of the photo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Snowy Village

From 1947. This one is fairly large. The photo itself is 18" x 11" and is glued to a cardboard backing that makes the entire item 20" x 13". Thank you to our friends at the Weinberg library at the University of Scranton who scanned this for us. The photo studio must have been Prestwood because the name appears in the lower right-hand corner of the photo. The original has some damage in the upper right-hand corner. Check out the little animals on wheels. Here is a larger version.

Lionel Trainland

This one is dated November 24, 1952 and is attributed to Anneman-Mott Studio. The original is 10" x 8" including border (cropped from the scanned image). Note how the border of the window mimics an overhead railroad light tower. View a larger version.

Monday, November 23, 2009

'Twas the Night before Christmas

This one is from 1948. Like most of these photos, the original is 10" x 8". The border was removed during the scanning process. The white rectangle in the lower left-hand corner that says "Variety" seems to be superimposed. Its significance is unknown. Note the reflection of a lighted clock just in front of "'Twas." Here is a larger version of the photo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Store Window with Train

This one is undated. It is credited to Anneman-Mott Studio. There is some distortion due to tears and wrinkles in the original. The original is 10" x 8". The border has been cropped from this image. Is that someone's lost glove on the sidewalk? View a larger version.