Incredible Vintage Baby Photos Tell Quite a Story

Amy Keyishian

children outside house
My mom and her brother Paul, in 19MYOB
Hi, my name is Amy, and I'm a vintage photo addict. I'm that guest who stands in your foyer long after everyone else has drifted into the party, inspecting the faded old photos for similarities to the people I know.

It has only gotten worse since I had kids. Because now that I've spawned, I am absolutely sure of two things: (1) Nobody has ever, ever loved a baby as much as I do, and (b) it is completely impossible that my daughters will ever need me any less than right now, when I envelop them hourly with kisses and snuggles.

Flickr's old photo collections are a great reality check -- reassuring and soothing, allowing me to just be a normal mom (well, as normal as I can manage) without the mama-bear drama.

The fact is, it was ever thus. Judging by these vintage photos, the world is full of moms who adore their babes, and those babes grow up to be the next generation of adoring parents. If I managed it, my kids can, too.

And it's great to be reminded that although they shot in black-and-white, they lived in full color. When you find just the right non-studio, candid photo, the vibrant emotions come through, too, and you just want to pick up and smooch that faraway kid (even if she's now a full-grown oldster making tea in your kitchen).

Here are some recent faves from Flickr. Just search for "Baby 1940," or any other year, to find amazing vintage views of babyhood through the ages.


merry christmas baby card


This is so wonderful! It's someone's grandma, which is just amazing, because look! She's a baby! I'll bet she had (has?) that same smile her whole life.


baby on couch

This could have been taken yesterday, on my couch. I love her little overalls, that same little haircut I gave my daughter, and the amazing pattern on the couch. And I can just hear him laugh!


baby on tummy

This one just kills me, for unknown reasons. Maybe it's the faux hawk/cowlick, or the little feet, or the universal tummy-time look of total surprise. She's not even crawling, and her whole life is ahead of her.


vintage photo


Another great couch! And that lamp -- is it a tiki figure? With fringe? Plus, that baby looks like my Abby!


mom bathing child

As photography becomes more common, you get blinking moms, distracted babes, and a feeling of warmth and family love. Plus, I love that old tin talcum powder can, the upended duck, and the stoic English attitude. I imagine this as a happier version of A Taste of Honey.


1950s baby photo

What a darling little dress! Ooch, those cheeks! Yum, those ankles! I wonder how much that house costs now?!


baby with guitar


Can you even stand it?! Don't you just want to pick him up? I love the faded color, so hipstamatic!


baby in mother's arms

OWP! That's ME!! I love my mom's mussy, tired hair.


child in walker

Ciao, baby! What is that crazy walker-thing? How about that saint medallion from Nonna? Where's his cigarette?


70s children on mother's lap

I really cannot get enough of this one, from Long Island. The Godfather on the shelf. The fake flowers in a little pot. The amazing hair. The awesome dashiki dress. The guy's photostream is a gold mine ... his own kid has the same amazing hair!


1976 baby birth

So touching! So exhausted! So beautiful! That baby is 35 now!

What do you see when you look at old baby pictures -- the potential? The reality? Do you feel happy, wistful, sad, or what?

Images via rutlo, lara604, charlie dave, sirqitous, smabs putzer, theogeo, satguru, marco_quarantotti, joe slabotnik, valerie's genealogy photos/Flickr

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