Vintage: Here’s What Being A Dad Looked Like In The '50s (22 Photos)

Come, as we take a trip back in time for this next one. The 1950s were a very different time as compared to today. Not only was technology different, the family structure was pretty different back then too. But more specifically, it was the dads who were different. When thinking of a prototypical 1950s dad, it’s pretty common to envision something like Mr. Ward Cleaver from the television show, “Leave It to Beaver.” This is the picturesque dad who works the typical nine to five job and then comes home and likes to relax.

From playing America’s pastime with their kid, to waving goodbye as they head off to work, or simply teaching their kid how to shave, these 1950s dad defined what traditional is. Nevertheless, despite whatever these dads do, there seems to be a common theme amongst them; they were very sharp dressers. Moreover, they wore suits for pretty much everything. And that is definitely something that we are missing today. Let’s bring back the suits. So without much further ado, here is what being a dad looked like in the 50s.

22 Waving Goodbye And Heading Off To Work

What could be more iconic than a picture of a dad in the 1950s, waving to his wife and kids, while he gets into his car in order to head off to work. It really doesn’t get any more classic Americana than this. Back in the 1950s, it was the dads who were the sole breadwinners in the household, so naturally, it would be the dad heading off to work while it would be the mom who stays home to look after the kid. I guess we can thank dad for putting in time at his 9-5, but we all know who the real workhorse is.

21 Taking Care Of The Baby

Well, well, well… what do we have here? Could it be? No, it can’t be… But we have photographic evidence, so it must be true. It would appear that, much to pretty much everyone’s surprise, that even back in the 1950s, dads would play a big part in helping to take care of the baby. Then again, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised by something like this. It’s not like all dads in the 1950s would never take care of their babies. Dads still chipped in and help take care of their little bundle of joys by feeding and caring for them.

20 Playing America’s Pastime With Your Kid

Ah baseball. From the diamond to the mound, to the crack of the bat as it hits the ball, it truly is America’s pastime. And what better activity to play and to bond with your son with in the 1950s than with a game of baseball. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a dad in the 1950s, I think of him playing catch with his kids. And for good reason. A father playing catch with his kids is a time-honored tradition that is passed down from generation to generation. 

19 Spending Some Quality Time With Your Kid On The Couch

For a dad in the 1950s, there really is nothing quite like unwinding after a long day at work. And what better way to unwind after that long day than to relax on the couch and watch a little television. Oh, actually I can think of a better way. If you’re a 1950s dad, you spend some quality time on the couch with your kid by your side. Think about it. You spend the whole day out at work, so you don’t get much time to spend with them, so why not take the time at the end of the day when you’re relaxing with your slippers on to spend with your kid.

18 Teaching Your Kids How To Ride A Bike

Think about this next scenario. Your kid has been asking for a brand new Schwinn bicycle. They keep pleading and pleading with you for it. Not wanting to deny your kid what they really, really want, you decide to go out and get them one. Now that they have their brand new bike, they need to learn how to ride it. Well, that’s where good old dad comes into the picture. If you’re like our next 1950s dad, you teach your kids how to ride a bike, just like your dad did from him, and his dad for him. It’s a tradition.

17 Checking Up On Your Kid’s Progress In School

Whoever said that just because you’re a dad in the 1950s, doesn’t mean that you don’t care about how your kid is doing in school? Well, for whoever said that or thought that, I’m here to tell you that that is just not true. And do you know how I know this? Because I have photographic evidence, that’s how I know it. These 1950s dads cared about their kid’s schoolwork as much as they did their own work. Let’s just hope that this kid received all A’s in his class. Otherwise, I don’t think dad will be too pleased to read that report card.

16  Carving The Turkey On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving… The time for good food and good family to come together on the fourth Thursday of November and to be thankful for everything they have. And when it comes to Thanksgiving, the biggest part of it is deciding who gets the cut up the turkey. Well, seeing as how back in the 1950s dad was the head of the household, that high honor was reserved specifically for him. Apparently, no one else was ever allowed to go anywhere near a turkey and a set of knives at the same time. On a side note, boy does that turkey look good.

15 Teaching Your Kid The Meaning Of Hard Work

I tell you what, kids these days don’t understand the true meaning of a hard day’s work. There’s nothing quite like rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. And I’m talking about real manual labor. Not that newfangled computer work. I’m talking about using your hands and getting some dirt under your fingernails. And if there is one group of people who know about the true meaning of a hard day’s work, it’s dads from the 1950s. Just look at this next dad teach his son how to mow the lawn. He is teaching his kid what it means to do chores and be proud of your hard work.

14 Playing With Your Kids In the Park

It’s a beautiful day in 1950. The sun is shining, the birds are chipping, the grass is ever so green. And on such a beautiful day, the kids want nothing more than to go to the park and play. Well, it turns out that dad is no slouch when it comes to giving his kids what they want. So what does he do when his kids want to go play? You guessed it. He takes them to the park, and they all hit the seesaw first. Unlike this dad, I probably would have gone with the swings first, but that just goes to show what I know.

13 Reading To Your Kids

Reading is fundamental. Moreover, being read a story is just as fundamental. And not only is having someone read a story to you when you’re a little kid fundamental, but it’s just plain enjoyable. And what makes the experience even more enjoyable is when your dad reads to you. Normally, most dads wouldn’t have the time to sit down and read to their kids. However, back in the 1950s, dads would make the time to do it. Just look at the expressions on these kids’ faces. Is there anything better than being read a bedtime story from your father? I didn’t think so.

12 Taking Time Off To Play Games With Your Kid

Working from sun up to sundown can take a toll on anybody. And when dad comes home after a long, hard day at work, you can imagine that they would want nothing more than to kick their feet up, take a load off, and just relax. However, 1950s dads must have been made of something else entirely because even after a full day of work, they were still more than happy to play the “Davy Crockett Alamo” game by Walt Disney with the kid, as shown in the picture. If there is one person you can count on, it’s dad.

11 Trying To Handle Business With Parenting

I don’t know about you, but multitasking is pretty darn difficult to do. I know when I try to multitask, I end up messing up both things. So leave it to our 1950s dad to not only handle daddy duty but also handle his work duty too. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. Seriously though, can you imagine trying to close a big deal over the phone while you have a crying baby to deal with in your hand? Dad’s must have a sixth sense about themselves in order to handle business while parenting. Let’s just hope he closed the deal.

10 Having To Be Stern When It’s Called For

Ugh… now comes the not so fun part of being a parent. Trust me when I tell you that no parent ever wants to be the bad guy. Unfortunately, it’s just something that comes with the territory. Nevertheless, as necessary as something like being stern should be, nobody handles it better than dads in the 1950s. As much as those dads would prefer playing catch with their kid, or watching tv with them, or just playing with them in general, these dads knew how to be tough with their kids when it was called for. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

9 Taking Your Kids To the Toy Store

I know this might be a little but difficult but try and think back to the time before we had iPhones and iPads to when parents would have to buy their kids actual physical toys instead of downloading apps. Or how about thinking back to when before you would buy something on Amazon, you would have to go to an actual physical store to buy toys. If you can’t remember, that’s fine. It’s been a while. Nevertheless, back in the 1950s, this is how dads would take their kids toy shopping. And that’s a pretty sweet pedal bike if I do say so myself.

8 Playing Together With The Whole Family

Isn’t this just a beautiful idyllic picture? It’s one thing for a dad to play one on one with their kid. But it’s a whole other thing for the whole family to spend some time playing together. I don’t know about you, but this is something you just don’t see very much of nowadays. And that’s a darn sad. Granted, I have never played croquet in my life, nor do I have any idea how to play or what the rules are to the game, it’s still nice to see this 1950s dad spending time with the whole family playing together.

7 Taking The Family To The Movies

There’s nothing quite like taking a trip to the movies. And this next 1950s dad knows the feeling well. What better way to treat your wife and kid than with the majesty of cinema. I guess there must have been a dress code for movie theaters back then because I don’t think I have ever seen someone go to the movies in a suit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, I kind of like it. Why can’t all men dress up in suits for a special night out? At least they didn’t have to worry about cell phones going off during the movie back then.

6 Going For A Drive With The Wife And Kids

Sometimes, all you really need in life is to cruise the open road. And what could make a road trip better than going at it alone? Well, if you guessed taking the whole family with you, you would be right. Just look at those faces. Have you ever seen a family so happy to be taking a drive together? Back in the 1950s, dad would get the whole family together to just go for a drive. You’re probably asking yourselves, “where’s the fun in that?” The fun is in spending time together and taking in the scenery. And what could be more fun than that?

5 Relaxing In Front Of The Television

Remember earlier how I said that baseball was America’s pastime? Well, relaxing in a chair and watching television can definitely give it a run for its money. And in the 1950s, there was nothing dad enjoyed more than relaxing in front of the television. I would have to assume that this dad is watching either the news or a sports game, because what else really was there on television back then? Maybe a variety show? I’m not really sure. Anyway, this picturesque scene is what you could expect from a dad after a long hard day; watching television with his kids by his side.

4 Taking The Baby For A Stroll

No need to adjust your screens for this next one. This is indeed what it appears to be. I’m sure that when you think of dads from the 1950s, you probably don’t think of them walking around pushing around a baby carriage. However, I think it might be time you start to. It seems that when they actually had the time, in between everything else they had to do, dads would take their little ones for a stroll. I must admit, I’m quite taken aback by how much these 1950s dads helped out with everything. You learn something new every day.

3 Not Being In The Delivery Room

I don’t know about you, but I find this next one kind of strange. Why is it that dads in the 1950s had no problem taking care of the kids in any manner possible, but when it comes to being in the delivery room with their wives for the birth of their child, that was absolutely out of the question. I just don’t get it. I mean, am I missing something here? This is one of the few things that thankfully did not become a tradition that still exists today. I guess we should have just been glad that these dads were at least still in the hospital when it happened.

2 Going Fishing With Your Kid

There are a few things in life that are as iconic as a dad going fishing with their kid. I don’t know what it is about it, but there is just something about a father and kid fishing that just screams perfect and peaceful. If you had to sum up what a dad looked like in the 1950s, it would probably have to be a dad fishing with his kid. I can’t speak on to how much father’s go fishing with their kids nowadays, but back then, it seemed to be a pretty common occurrence. There’s nothing like father and kid bonding.

1 Teaching Your Son How To Do Guy Things

Umm… is it just me or does this kid look to be a little too young to be shaving? Not only is this kid a little too young to be using a safety razor, but he’s a little too young to have any facial hair. Oh… I get it. This dad is letting his son act like a grown up by letting him shave his imaginary beard. And let me guess, the dad took out the actual blade in the razor, so he’s shaving with nothing and is in no harm at all. That’s just like a 1950s dad to teach his son how to do guy things.

Sources: ArtOfManliness.com, MagnoliaBox.com, Mnhs.org, FineArtAmerica.com, MasterFile.com, MensJournal.com, GettyImages.com, Reddit.com

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