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October 28, 2021

38 Vintage Photographs Capture Everyday Life in Southington, Connecticut in 1942

In May 1942, during World War II, the town of Southington in Connecticut was selected by the War Department to be highlighted in a defense booklet called “Southington, CT—Microcosm of America”. At that time the small, farm-based town’s total population was just under 10,000. Of that 10,000, according to the Southington Observer, 1,591 residents were serving in World War II.

Photographers roamed the community taking photos of residents at work, at play and in their homes and churches. Among the chosen was Charles Fenno Jacobs, who had taken pictures for Time, Life, National Geographic, U.S. Camera and Fortune. His particular talent was in catching his subjects at their most revealing moments. Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Jacobs was recruited by Edward Steichen to join his Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, a special group established by the U.S. Navy to document and publicize its aviation activities.

School children performing the Bellamy salute

The final publication of the booklet was intended to show friends and foes alike in Europe the typical American citizens and families, their traditions and values. Thousands of copies were dropped from military airplanes over Europe during the Nazi German Occupation.

Take a look at people’s life in Southington in 1942 through these 38 vintage pictures taken by Jacobs:

Monty's Diner

Citizens

A group of children

Shopping on a Saturday night

Shopping on a Saturday night

Post office exterior

Post office

Red Cross mess hall

Thomas J. Murphy, chief of the fire department, chatting with one of the volunteers

Where folk buy their magazines

Where folk buy their magazines

Women standing outside of Oxley’s Drug Store, at the corner of Center and North Main Street

The Old Mill is a popular place for young couples on Saturday night

Dancing at the Old Mill

A luncheon of a men's club

A group of women rolling bandages and preparing surgical dressings

A highlight in the town’s life is the annual girls’ glee club recital

A highlight in the town’s life is the annual girls’ glee club recital

The vested choir singing at a Sunday morning service

School children pledging their allegiance to the flag

At an early age school children learn about the meaning of the American flag

School children staging a patriotic demonstration

School children staging a patriotic demonstration

A one-room school

Students of first aid, practicing artificial respiration

Members of the youth drum corps

Members of the youth drum corps

Members of the youth drum corps

Roller coaster

Laff in the Dark

Laff in the Dark

Dodgems

Dodgems

People dancing at the amusement park

People dancing at the amusement park

People dancing at the amusement park

People dancing at the amusement park

People dancing at the amusement park




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