Dating vintage prints

Just type in “hat styles of the 1930s, or 1940s,” or whatever year you can guess and then compare what you have to what was popular at the time.

If all else fails, you can write “c.1940,” which is the abbreviation for “circa 1940,” which is fancy art history speak for “around 1940.” Voilà, you’re an art historian. But seriously folks, the following are some easy dating references commonly found on photographs and other media, and more information can be found at the Image Permanence Institute’s Graphics Atlas website, perhaps the most comprehensive resource out there for identifying and dating photos, by clicking Note the dates, subjects and locations indicated on various elements of this particular box of 35mm color slides.

When such date references are not found, dating photos is still possible by asking those who are in them what’s what.

For example: “Hey, Grandma, I found these pix of you and some guy (who, unfortunately, isn’t Grandpa) out at some beach somewhere. ” If Grandma’s not around cuz she “stepped out”—if you get my drift—then you can ask mom or dad, as they might know through their knowledge of family history.

Thankfully, there's a museum that cares about the untended wall art of yesteryear.

"Whatever you have in your rooms think first of the walls for they are that which makes your house and home, and if you do not make some sacrifices in their favour you will find your chambers have a kind of makeshift, lodging-house look about them…" -William Morris (1834-1896) Enter the Historic New England, an institution that sought to bring 4,200 pieces of vintage wallpaper to the internet, making a collection of works dating from the 1750s to the 1950s accessible to the public.

The online database makes available a collection that covers three centuries, including pieces imported to the United States in the early days to William Morris designs to the real deal -- retro vinyl masterpieces.This 1934 poster (left) was by Andrew Power (a pseudonym for Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power). THIS is why I’m keeping prints and negs in the same original envelopes until the time comes to transfer them—and this important identification info—into archival print and negative envelopes, archival print pages, or archival albums.Wallpaper, once the favorite daughter of interior design, is now more like the ugly stepchild.The late 20th century took a toll on the decorating medium that has roots in the early 1700s, bringing far too much paisley and visions of mustard yellow to the dens and foyers of homes past.

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