Bring back some good or bad memories


August 5, 2014

Portraits of American Teenage Boys of the 1940s

In 1940 as many as 8 out of 10 high school graduate teen boys went to war. The teenage boys and college age young men who remained were part of a new fashion movement that was entirely designed for teens by teens.

Boys adopted men’s clothing for their wardrobe but put on a more casual, relaxed, spin on it. Their styles were not as extreme as the girls but none the less an important shift in fashion history.

Here's a series of photographs of teenage boys taken by LIFE photographer Nina Leen in Des Moines, Iowa in 1945.

Teen-ager dressed up for a week night date.

Teen-age boy drinking coke and eating crackers in bed.

Teen-age boys always carry a comb in their back pocket.

Teenaged boys working on a 1927 Ford Model T.

School dress of average high school boy.

Teen-age boy examining results of his first shave, the necessity for which only he could see, at home.

Teen-age boy taking second helping of pork chops.

Portrait of a smiling teen-age boy.

Teenage boy wearing sweater w. letter R, relaxing outside.

Teen-age boy eating large breakfast.

Teen-age boys and girls eating lunch and drinking milkshakes in drug store.

Boy's playing cards in bedroom, which is nothing new, they live in their rooms.

Teenaged boys, who are junior members of the Molesters Club (as indicated by large "M"s sewn on the seats of their pants) rather than using a jack, simply lift the car so that the one pulling on tire can change it.

Teen-age boys eating lunch and drinking milk in drug store.

Teen-age boys spend most of their time loafing around.

Teenage boys hang out in friend's bedroom, drinking Cokes, eating potato chips with assorted paraphernalia - gun, bow and arrows, pinups - visible around the room, Des Moines, Iowa.

Next to girls, teen-age boys like sports, usual Saturday afternoon pasttime.

Young men in plaid shirts drinking ice-cream sodas at soda fountain.

Boy combing his hair and puts in front wave, boys really like wavey hair but not curly hair.

Boys heckling girls at a hen party.

Boy eating candy bar in school and getting away with it is quite a trick, usually done under cover of school book.

Teen-age boys like reading sports and comic books at local drug store.

Next to girls, teen-age boys like sports, usual Saturday afternoon pasttime.

Teen-age boy in garage with father fixing a smashed fender.

Teen-age boys and girls drinking milkshakes in drug store.

Teen-age boy wearing Saturday outfit.

The local movie theater, boys have a very difficult time finding a place to put their long legs.

(Photos by Nina Leen, via LIFE archives)



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10