Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in US history, with Americans spending an estimated $6.6 billion. But 100 years ago, locals of cities like New York would battle large crowds while shopping on busy streets. Photos pulled from the Library of Congress‘ archives show what it was like to shop in New York in the early 1900s. A lot has changed since then.
While the term “Black Friday” wasn’t officially coined until the 1960s, when Philadelphia police used it to refer to the day after Thanksgiving, hectic holiday shopping has been around for much longer than that.
Rocking horses, drums, and baby dolls were sold as gifts for children.
People often shopped along 42nd Street, near Fifth Avenue.
The sidewalks got packed.
Women and children donated items to the Salvation Army Christmas dinner.
Even in the early 1900s, storefronts decked out their windows with Christmas displays
though some were more elaborate than others.
Men dressed as Santa stood in the streets, collecting charity donations.
Christmas-themed postcards were sold by street vendors.
Some cards cost only one cent.
Toy birds were also sold on the street.
Children would gaze and gawk at the toys.
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