July 9, 2009

25 wonderful vintage birthday photos

While we may not always relish getting older, it’s hard to deny that a birthday generally puts one in a happy mood. Some smiles are created from the memories we recall, others are born with the new festive activities that unfold on our special day.

Tomorrow is my twenty-fifth birthday and to help celebrate the day I turn a quarter of a century old, I’ve gathered up 25 vintage images that span the birthday spectrum from Hollywood stars to cake decorating ideas, tables of excited children to some real party animals!

Without any further ado, let the good times roll!

♥ ♥ ♥

{Cute as a button, child star Shirley Temple celebrates her ninth birthday with a giant cake.}

{A group of elephants get in the celebratory spirit in this shot from 1926.}

{Which one of these beautiful, girly birthday cakes would you pick? The cotton candy hued, heart shaped pair gets my vote.}

{Now that’s a cake fit for a president! John F. Kennedy circa 1962, to be specific.}

{The cake might be a bit lopsided, but this 1950s woman and her birthday gifts couldn’t look any prettier – despite what her husband’s face seems to be saying!}

{A group of youngsters pose for the camera amidst the festivities at a birthday party in 1956.}

{The Leave It To Beaver style childhood birthday party is portrayed in this pretty 1950s illustration.}

{A birthday card from 1942 depicting a group of Victorian woman sitting around a table calls to mind Gone With The Wind.}

{Relatives gathering round to celebrate a youngster’s birthday in this 1946 photo.}

{What vintage birthday celebration would be complete without a Jell-o cake?}

{Not only do dogs like to gather and pose around the table to play poker, they also love to throw a birthday party! :)}

{I love how happy the little birthday girl looks in this black and white photo.}

{Someone must have been popular in 1957, just look at the size of their crowd at their birthday party!}

{Everyone seems to be helping the birthday girl blow out the candles on her cake. (Don’t the streamers all over the place make you smile?)}

{Two charming children eagerly await a piece of the cake their playmate is blowing the candles out on.}

{A woman snaps a photo of the birthday cake arriving at the table in this lovely 1950s illustrated image.}

{A colourful 1950s birthday invitation – how could you not want to attend any party with such cute invites?}

{I’m struck by how crisp and sharp this 1950s colour photo still is more than half a century after it was snapped.}

{Birthdays were going to the birds in 1956 when this cute cockatoo turned fifty.}

{Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth celebrate the beautiful starlet’s birthday aboard Errol Flynn’s yatch.}

{How sweetly lovely is this birthday girl? Too sweet for words, she looks like a little model!}

{Two junior cowboys rustle up some fun with a boot shaped birthday cake.}

{These adorable children’s birthday cakes from the mid 1960s would help get anyone in a festive mood (or at least in the mood for sugar!).}

{The eternally lovely Marilyn Monroe on her thirtieth birthday.}

{1955 Woman’s Day magazine cover with a group of adorable kids partying it up in fifties style.}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

Aren't these photos, magazine pages and scans a delight to behold? You can practically feel the joy they held or were intended to convey. I love the soft pastel hues, homemade cakes, and the wonderfully pretty party dresses in particular. What jumps out at you as you gaze into these birthday celebrations of the past?


  1. aww these are sweet! and i wish you the bestest day tomorrow :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY

  2. I especially love the illustration of the woman presenting the cake to all the little people. The darling boy on her right looks happy to see the cake!

    Thanks for sharing yet another post of delightful eye candy :)


  3. wow these are fabulous, I cannot pick a favorite as I love them all!!! :) onc again wishing you the VERY best birthday

  4. Happy birthday, darling! and happy un-birthday to your blog visitors! I loved all these images, but my absolute fave was the one of Rita and Orson Welles.


  5. Fabulous photos! Thank you so much...they are all so fabulous, I especially love the Marilyn one and the one of the sweet beautiful little girl!


  6. Oh to be 25 again! Enjoy it honey and have a wonderful birthday! The pics of Rita and Marilyn are wonderful :)


  7. Happy Birthday. Great photos. I love them all. Take care. Cheers!

  8. Happy Birthday Jessica!!! I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 25th year!! Hope you have a fabulous day tomorrow filled with everything you love, sweetheart! xoxo

  9. Happy Birthday! I loved how dressed up everyone was in the photos- even the gentlemen were wearing suits! Around here, you are lucky if the men are wearing flip-flops! But I guess that is just the beach life style.

  10. shirley temple! my childhood favorite. oh, my, goodness!

  11. These are wonderful.
    Happy birthday!
    -Andi x

  12. Happy birthday!
    The family celebrating (1946) is a lovely picture (I want to steal that woman's dress to boot) and the cowboy boot cake just cracks me up :-)

  13. How how lovely birthdays were. I love the cakes. A lot of hard work went into every one of those confections. I love the pic of Rita and Orson and the cake cookbook is wonderful. Beautiful way to start my day...remember, every day is a good day..there may be cake involved.


    Love the pictures. The first 3 are my favorites. Oh, and the 3rd one? I´ve got a book like that at home, and have always cherish it dearly, ever since I was old enough to look at books. I just adored those vintage pictures of cakes!!

    Enjoy this day! 25 is a beautiful age.

  15. Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day :)

    Love the photos! Although that cockatoo didn't look a day over 49.

  16. Those are fabulous pictures, I love the one of Rita and Orson!


  17. Love the Rita piccy, have a happy birthday sweetie xxx

  18. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pics. Have a wonderful and fun birthday.

  19. Happy Birthday Jessica!

    I would pick the frosted angel food cake, yummm!

  20. I hope you have a very happy birthday!! Enjoy!!

  21. Hi Jessica1
    The dogs' party I found especially fascinating! Wish I could have been there!!

    xxLOL LOLA:)

  22. Happy Birthday, Jessica!!! May it be filled with wishes granted and dreams realized!

    I LOVE the photos..especially the one of Rita Hayworth and Orson Wells!

  23. Wonderful birthday images! Makes you warm and fuzzy looking at those smiling black and white photos of little bday girls in sweet frocks! Love them- thank you for giving US an un-birthday present!

  24. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you happy birthday dear Jessica, happy birthday to YOU!!!! :) come see the set I made for you & I hope you have the best birthday lov ya!

  25. Mmmm cake. But more importantly, Happy Birthday!! Hope it was extra special :)

  26. Hi everyone, I want to thank you each very, very much for your wonderfully sweet birthday wishes! I can happily report that this b-day was by far my best in many years!

    Your kind wishes touched me very much, and as a token of my thanks, I've bestowed an award upon each of you :) Water Cooler Wonders Award. (If I accidentally forgot anyone who posted a comment on this birthday themed post, please let me know right away so I add you to my list of award recipients.)

    You guys are all so awesome, I feel really blessed to have such a terrific group of online friends!

    Big hugs & joyful weekend wishes to you all!
    ♥ Jessica

  27. Thank you, Amanda dear, and an extra big thanks again for bestowing your wonderful Water Cooler award upon Chronically Vintage!

    Have a wonderful week, honey!
    ♥ Jessica

  28. That's Marlene Dietrich in the fifth picture. :-)

    1. It is indeed, thanks for pointing that out. No idea why I didn't caption the photo as such at the time.