Watching history being made, Christmas-style.

Don’t you love getting those photographic Christmas cards from family and friends? To cherish the ability to watch history being made as the kids grow? Remember, history isn’t in dusty old books. Sometimes it arrives in a red envelope with a Santa postage stamp. Today we share with you a Sarasota memory…

…Sarasota’s Joseph Janney Steinmetz’s family holiday cards as found on the states archives. These photos by Sarasota photographer Joseph Janney Steinmetz may take you back in time to an Old Florida Christmas.

Steinmetz’s work appeared in many magazines, including the venerable Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look and Time, plus he did commercial photography for the Florida tourism office and the Sarasota-based Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Steinmetz moved his family from Philadelphia to Sarasota in 1941 and photographed life there until his death in 1985.

Remember, these cards were created by hand. No Photoshop in 1934.
The family pet’s always a necessity!
New family addition!
1942 card… somber, but still joyous.
My, those kids sure grew up fast.

These images by Steinmetz were donated to the Florida Memory Project, which has digitally archived more than 180,000 photographs from the State Library and Archives of Florida. The photos are now part of the public domain. The collection is “without question the most significant photographic collection we’ve obtained,” archives supervisor Joanna Norman once told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “The guy was a master photographer.” [Source]

And to end this post, an iconic Sarasota photograph from Joseph Janney Steinmetz, 1965:

After his death, Steinmetz’s photographic collection was stored at Historic Spanish Point in Sarasota County for several years. In 1995 the collection was passed down to Steinmetz’ grandson Brett Arquette from Joe Steinmetz’s wife. Arquette spent months weeding out more recent portrait photographs (1970s and later) and damaged items from the collection. After storing the collection at his home for 18 years, he decided to donate the collection to the State Archives in 2011 so the world could share and enjoy his grandfather’s work.

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