Vintage Camp Photos

  • Posted by on May 24, 2017

    Summer camps started opening in the United States in the 19th century. This article shares some photos of campers getting ready to spend their summer at camp!

    1948: Heading to camp

    Tearful goodbyes on the way to the wilderness

    by Alex Q. Arbuckle

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    Children’s summer camps in the United States were first established at the end of the 19th century, driven by concerns about children’s physical and moral well-being outside of school, especially in crowded and polluted cities.

    Exposure to fresh air, exercise and rustic surroundings were considered the ideal antidote to the weakening effects of “overcivilization.”

    Summer camps grew into an important means for socializing children and promoting healthy habits.

    Initially reserved only for the children of the wealthy urban elite, social welfare groups, charities and religious organizations such as the YMCA established summer camps for the less privileged. By the middle of the 20th century, hundreds of camps, secular and religious, for girls and for boys, had spread across the northeast United States.

    Here, photographer Rae Russel captures the excitement and anxiety at Grand Central Station as children say farewell to their parents and board buses bound for camps in upstate New York and New England.

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES

    IMAGE: RAE RUSSEL/GETTY IMAGES