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What Summer Camps Were Like in the 1930s and 1940s

Camp Kveller

Summer camp season is well underway, and we’re celebrating here at Camp Kveller! The second of our photo essays on summer camps of yore takes us back to the 1930s and 1940s.

We time-travel to eight different camps, from upstate New York (Brant Lake Camp and Surprise Lake Camp) to Maine (Camp Chickawah, Camp Lown, and Center Day Camp) to Vermont (Aloha Camp) to Maryland (Camps Airy & Louise). There’s also a series of photos from the National Music Camp in Michigan.

There’s basketball, dances, ice cream, and lots of time at the waterfront. Enjoy!

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Brant Lake Camp, 1930

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Boys in front of their cabins, Surprise Lake Camp, 1930 [Millstein Online Archive, used with permission of Surprise Lake Camp]

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Girls relaxing, Aloha Camp, 1934

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Basketball game, Brant Lake Camp, 1934

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1934 Campers, Camp Chickawah [campchickawah.com]

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1934 Campers, Camp Chickawah [campchickawah.com]

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At the waterfront, Surprise Lake Camp, 1940 [Millstein Online Archive, used with permission of Surprise Lake Camp]

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Dance jamboree, National Music Camp in Interlochen Michigan, 1942 [Image by Arthur Siegel, Library of Congress]

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Girls swimming during the recreation period, National Music Camp in Interlochen Michigan, 1942 [Image by Arthur Siegel, Library of Congress]

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Eating an ice cream cone, National Music Camp in Interlochen Michigan, 1942 [Image by Arthur Siegel, Library of Congress]

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Girls playing badminton, National Music Camp in Interlochen Michigan, 1942 [Image by Arthur Siegel, Library of Congress]

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Friday night services at Camp Lown, Oakland, Maine 1947 [Documenting Maine Jewry]

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Center Day Camp [Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine, Documenting Maine Jewry]

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Camps Airy & Louise, midcentury

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Building a kibbutz, Camp Lown, 1948 [Documenting Maine Jewry]

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Camp Lown, 1948 [Documenting Maine Jewry]

Thank you to Rick Kozlowski (and the Gersten Family) at Brant Lake Camp, Kip Miller at Surprise Lake Camp, Jenn Merritt at the Aloha Foundation, Jeff Grant at Camp Chickawah, Jeff Goldscher at Camps Airy & Louise, and Jessica Lantos of Documenting Maine Jewry for their help.

Camp Kveller

Camp Kveller is our series dedicated to all things summer camp. 

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