What It Was Like Having 13 Kids In The 1920s

May 18, 2016

They say everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame ... although there's no guarantee that people will remember after your 15 minutes are up. Luckily, although any fame might be short-lived, photos are forever. Sure, they might be stuck in a filing cabinet somewhere and forgotten about, but there's always a chance that they will resurface and delight a whole new generation of people.

That's exactly what's happened in the case of this large family, whose names have been forgotten while their images live on. In 1925, Leslie Jones, a photographer for the Boston Herald-Traveler, traveled to their home in the Boston area to document the family and the reason that made them newsworthy: the birth of their 13th child!

So, why was that such a big deal? Didn't all families used to have children by the dozen? 

The short answer is no; while there was a time when having an extra-large family was common, advantageous, and generally unavoidable, the 1920s were not such a time. In fact by the '30s, the average family in the United States had around 2.3 kids, which is a little less than the current average of approximately 3.18.

This family, on the other hand? With a whopping 13 kids, they were well above average!

The eldest were teenagers at the time these photographs were taken and the youngest was just a newborn.

In total, by 1925, Mom and Dad had ten daughters and two sons; the infant's sex, like the family's name, is now unknown.


Can you believe it took having seven daughters before they had a son? The girls are definitely winning in this household.

They don't let their large family size keep them from doing all the same things any other family does, like go for a spin in the family car!

Using methods that would certainly be deemed unsafe (and illegal!) today, the family of 15 demonstrates exactly how they fit everyone in the confines of the car ... more or less.

Although they fit in the car, thanks in part to the convertible top, it's definitely not a comfortable arrangement for a long drive. After all, I remember fighting with just two sisters about legroom on road trips; can you imagine the quibbles between all these siblings?

Despite their uncanny ability to cram themselves into just one car, there are some places that this family can't fit.

Like underneath a single umbrella ...


... It's just not going to happen.

That's OK, though, they'll just have to buy multiple umbrellas. Luckily, buying in bulk is something they're used to doing.

For instance, check out this impressive array of shoes!

Dad has definitely become an expert at polishing a long line of shoes in next to no time at all.

It's hard work keeping a family this large going, but, at the end of the day, all families will tell you it's worth all the effort!

Don't forget to SHARE these awesome vintage photographs with your friends and family!

H/T: Mashable | Boston Public Library - Leslie Jones Collection

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