U.S. School Clothes: P.S. 90 (Bronx, New York)

Figure 1.--This press photo showing the end of the school year at Bronx P.S. 90 on June 30, 1942. The caption read, "'Yipee!' While their big brothers in the Army and Navy were celebrating the raise in pay, small fry throughout the city had something to cheer about too. School's out until Sept. 14! The kids are racing [out of] P.S. 90 ...."

New York Bronx P.S. 90 was another city elementary (primary) school. The Bronx is the northern-most of New York's five bouroughs. It was also the last to be urbanized. Atthetimethisoccurred (late-19th and early-20th 20th centuries, large numbers of European immigrants were pouring into the the UnitedStastes, most through New York andmany settled in the Bronx. theIrish, Germasns, and Italians were particulasrly important. The childrten here are the descendents ofthose immigrants. Since theWar immigrants from the Caribbean region (especially Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic)along with African American migrants from the American South. This cultural mix has made the Bronx today a wellspring of Latin music, hip hop, and rock. The Bronx today is the poorest Congressional District and the most Democrstic voting District. We know very little about the school, but a press phtograph provides a view. It looks like a fairly modern school. The metal grills on the window suggests that it was not in the best neighborhood. The photograph was taken at the end of the 1941-42 school year with the children rushing out the school doors. We see both boys and girls, usually these 'Yipee!' photographs are mostly boys. The girls wear dresses. The boys wear dress shirts and ties. The boys wear short pants, knickers, and long pants. The boys are wearing knickers without knee socks which had formerly been standard. All of the children wear ankle socks. This was the first year of American participation in World War II. No sign of the War in New York. In fact New York and other cities kept the lights on creating siloutte targets for German U-boats opertating along the American East coast (January-June1942). We still see knickers in the early-1940s, but by the end of the War, they were becoming rare. Footwear included leather shoes, saddle shoes, and sneakers. A reader writes, "Interesting. In 1942 all the boys attyhisschool are wearing ties. Even the boys in the sports collar shirt." There are many schools where the boys are no longer wearing ties. We suspect it was the school dress code.


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Created: 9:14 AM 2/7/2019
Last updated: 9:14 AM 2/7/2019