Family Life Before The Internet: The 1950s

Most of these photos are from America. They show images of an idealised family life in the 1950s. Mum is a housewife, dad goes to work.

Watching TV before dad gets home.

The whole family sitting down to Sunday dinner.

Girls on a sleepover talking to boys outside through the window.

A young couple listening to music.

Helping mum with the baking.

A family that all live in the same house.

Watching TV before the children’s bed time.

Seeing hubby off to work.

Dad reading his newspaper while mum prepares dinner.

All playing with the youngest child.

Well-behaved children at dinner.

Feeding the baby while dad looks on.

59 thoughts on “Family Life Before The Internet: The 1950s

      1. I understand. I’ve always felt that (wished) women today had a choice of working or staying home to work. Unfortunately, one bread winner in the family rarely can pull in enough money.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My mother was home until we got older and then she only worked part-time but I remember the wringer and the scrubbing board and yes we all ate together at meal times far different to many homes now 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The regular family meal gave them a chance to talk aboout the day, discuss school work, and much more. Now they all sit in front of different screens, many eating at didfferent times.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhhh … the “Leave it to Beaver” television family. Mine was … a wee bit different, shall we say, but I remember seeing families like that … seems a lifetime ago. Oh wait … it WAS a lifetime ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nowadays…
    (1) The clown on television would actually be a politician.
    (2) The family sitting down for Sunday dinner would all be engrossed in their smartphone. Rather than talking with each other, they would be tweeting or sending text messages.
    (3) The girls on the sleepover would be discussing their chosen pronouns, and dismissing the boys as potential #metoo offenders.
    (4) The “music” would be profanity-laced rap.
    (5) The woman would be busy at the office, working hard to bring home the bacon so that she can afford to send her husband to the grocery store to buy eggs.
    (6) The family may live in the same home, but they have more in common with their Twitter contacts than with their family members.
    (7) Kids rule. They’ll go to bed when they bloody well feel like it!
    (8) Dad carpools, and mom drops their daughter off at school or a childcare facility on her way to the office.
    (9) Mom is paying the bills, dad is reading the news on his laptop, and their son is entertaining himself by racking up kills in a violent video game.
    (10) The youngest child is being lectured on gender identity.
    (11) Well-behaved children are only seen on 1950’s sitcoms that nobody watches.
    (12) The baby is feeling lucky that mom cancelled her appointment at Planned Parenthood.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Those pictures remind me of a ‘travelling salesman’ who came round our Australian suburb in the late sixties selling American books for young teens, one for boys and one for girls. My best friend’s mother and mine both bought us the glossy hard back book. It was supposed to be about the facts of life and living a wholesome life. My friend and I took one look at the pictures of crew cut boys ( very square ) toasting marshmallows and went into fits of giggles. I don’t remember learning much from it, except the dangers of reading too many novels or sitting on boys’ laps!

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          1. Ah, yes I can see it could be. I was distracted by the television. When we emigrated in 1964 Western Australia had only had TV for a few years – and it was pretty dire! Our new neighbours had just retired from the goldfields and 1964 was the first time they had ever seen television – the husband watched everything, children’s programmes included.

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  5. Images from Ladies Home Journal? Right after the war the USA was perceived to be the land of plenty and the kids I went to school with in the 60’s didn’t want for anything. But then the wives began to work as well and life changed forever. Not a popular notion, I’m sure, but fact!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. For sure but it changed the whole structure of society. Now in some states they are legislating for laws that will required women to supply information about their menstrual cycle to the police, to schools. I’m sure you can imagine how this enrages me!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m currently writing a lecture called “Lockdown in the 1970s…what if?” which is a speculation on what would have happened if the Covid19 pandemic happened during the 1970s instead of 2020, when we had no internet, no texting, and only 4 major news stations. I guess it would look something like this — and that’s a good thing! Thank you! 🙂

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    1. It might have, except by the 1970s most people had a house phone to use to stay in touch, there was access to a car in the majority of families, and more women worked full-time. The clothes would have been different too of course, but the basic idea was the same as they are trying to show here.
      I was 18 in 1970, and got married in 1977, at the age of 25. It was also a time of very strong trade unions, and active informed politics among the working classes. (In Britain) I doubt people would have obeyed the rules in the same way that they did in 2020.
      Good luck with the lecture. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. My mum also worked, and we didn’t have a washing machine until the late 1960s. Washing was done in a huge copper pan on the stove, passed through an old mangle outside, then dried on a line. The idyllic lifestyle shown in these photos was very different to my childhood.
      But I was happy.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a very fifferent time of course, Sara. I was born in 1952, and while our life wasn’t like it is shown in these photos, my mum was very happy to be a housewife and mother, even though she also worked full time. The whole extended family lived in the same few streets in London, and each grandmother or sister would care for the children when necessary.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes and a lot of people not built for that life snapped in that time. I’m glad your mom was happy. I think love makes all the difference. If you had a supportive partner, that journey could be an adventure. The wrong partner would make it hell.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. The typical family of this era was dad, mom, two and a half kids and a dog, and perhaps grandma or grandpa living in the spare room. Dad was the breadwinner, mom the housekeeper, average weekly grocery bill around twelve dollars, average wage for middle class man about One Hundred dollars, cost of an automobile in the range of Eight Hundred to around Two Thousand dollars ….monthly electric bill around Four dollars, Milk and bread delivered to the door if desired, — those were the days … the boring old days … but nostalgia does tug at the heart strings when you are as old as I am.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They weren’t too bountiful for us, however because my dad never made more than One third the average wage in his entire life. We lived in a leaky shack and ate at the bottom of the food chain, but at least we did have a roof and food …barely —that became my inspiration to over achieve in later life.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Every one of these could have been taken from my family photo album. From the metal kitchen table, to the wallpaper, to the wringer washing machine – all very familiar. My dad was a blue collar worker, though, so no ties for him. Also, my mother worked when we all went back to school.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I want to scream at those 1950s women for being so satisfied with their lot, but hey, I suppose the majority were satisfied because they knew nothing else. My mum and dad both worked in the 1960s, and I got used to spending school holidays at home without a childminder and a string of instructions instead (no kids in the house… don’t touch the cooker… lock up if you go out…).

    Liked by 3 people

  10. How different are my memories of the 50’s nuclear family in Britain where many families did not have a TV, many did not have a Dad, and few had he appliances or ghe room oof the American ‘Dream’ kitchen.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Same for me, David. Though I had a dad, and he did buy a TV (on very long Hire Purchase) in 1953. My mum went to work and I was looked after by my nan. We lived in three rooms above the old lady who owned the house, and the kitchen was on the landing. Nobody was interested in taking photos of that at the time though.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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