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Holidays

Photographs reveal how people prepared for Christmas 100 years ago

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Police distributing gifts, circa 1915. (Library of Congress via SWNS)

By Dean Murray via SWNS

Fascinating vintage photographs show how people prepared for Christmas over a hundred years ago.

The pictures - taken between 1900 and 1915 - feature everyday scenes of people in New York during the festive season.

They document Manhattan streets thronged with shoppers, as well as images of street hawkers selling their seasonal wares.

Other highlights include children eagerly window shopping and crowds gathered to observe outdoor Christmas trees.

Children looking at Xmas toys in shop window, circa 1910. (Library of Congress via SWNS)
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One poignant photo shows people packing Christmas gifts for the U.S.S. Jason, which sailed from New York on November 14, 1914 carrying about six million gifts for the children of Europe who were affected by World War I.

Elsewhere, an image shows Christmas celebrations at the Consolidated Stock Exchange in New York City.

The photographs were captured by the George Bain Agency, one of America’s earliest news picture agencies, which are now held at the Library of Congress.

The photographs Bain produced and gathered for distribution through his news service were worldwide in their coverage, but there was a special emphasis on life in New York City. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1900s to the mid-1920s.

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