Photo biz ad, 1926: Take Thanksgiving snapshots, before everyone you love dies

Get a load of this print ad from the Master Photo Finishers of America, 1926.

Text: "Save the day with snap shots. Thanksgiving, the day of the year which brings most families together, is a splendid opportunity to take snap-shots of the entire family, both singly and as a group. Next year may be too late. Have your camera and a few extra film ready."

Scanned and Flickr'd by Alan Mays, whose photo stream is full of wonderful vintage weirdness.


  1. I just want to say thanks to Xeni for including the actual copy in your post. It’s a helpful touch for those on throttled networks. So, um, thanks and all.

    Also, Xeni autocorrects to Xenia on my 4s??

  2. Meh.  I’d rather spend the time that they’re alive actually interacting with them rather than looking at them through a system of mirrors and lenses.  Enjoy them while they’re around, right?

    1. I agree that life should be enjoyed in the moment, instead of constantly through a viewfinder. But a few photos of loved ones are very nice to have. Without a photo reference, it’s easy for a face to fade from your memory over the years.

      1. I have a photo of my grandfather, my mother, myself, and my son, sitting on my mother’s couch.  My son was a baby.  My grandfather has since died.  It will serve as a reminder to my son that he and my grandfather met, though he was too young to remember.

  3. Well, that’s funny, but interesting.   In 1926 people were all leaving the farm for the big city.  A huge rural to urban transition was underway.  This imagines that you’ve gone back for your annual visit to the country where Mom and Dad maybe still live with the turkeys.  It’s an annual visit… and who knows how many more of those there will be?  But that’s a modern situation too.  It’s just that these days the idea of capturing those moments in a picture seems so ordinary.  Back then, well, it was a reason to buy a camera, a new thought.  I like it.

  4. Epictetus would approve! Or some Stoics would anyway. Thinking about the mortality of loved ones is a way to partially inoculate yourself to the possibility of them dying. The inevitability of them dying eventually. Helps you cherish your time with them even more.

    I do think about this sometimes. My wife and I haven’t had school photos or other occasions to get formal photos in decades. She has tons of videos of herself on youtube, but what’s the latest photo of me that would be displayed at a memorial service if I got hit by a bus today? Halloween 1998?

  5. That’s a great advertisement and a good reminder. People have cared for other people and wanted to remember them since before there were people. Forever and ever, the only way to record how someone looked was to hire an artist to sketch or paint a portrait of them, living or dead. Then came the professional photographer. Taking a photo was a BFD with either a trip to the studio or a visiting photographer. Kodak came along in early 20th century with small, portable dry process cameras and started the integration of human life and photography, an integration which is continuing today.

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