All About the Photo-Strip Book

Once upon a time, there was a household called "Moxie" in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In that household lived Scott, Bill and Warren. Across town lived Seth, Jack and Jim. This was around 1976-77 or 78, I’m not certain.

Scott worked at a small department store, which was right next door to a Woolworth’s five and dime with a standard old-fashioned passport photo machine. He was fond of whiling away a portion of his lunch hour snapping amusing photos at fifty cents for four poses.

Seth worked downtown at a publishing company where he assisted Jack in running the shipping room. Seth would frequently blow out of work a few hours early and meet Scott in Central Square to join him in this harmless and amusing pastime.

Various of us had been fooling around with photo machines for quite some time. Some of the strips in the book date from when Seth had been living with Warren in Framingham in 1975 and there are some which were contributed to the book that were made as early as the sixties. Note in particular one of Bill in which he appears to be no more than twelve years old. I think the next oldest is one of Seth at fifteen. The majority of the strips, however, were made in the mid to late seventies at that single machine.

For a while, the strips resided in a shoe box or were pasted into various pages of the Moxie house book.

A few years later after the residents of the various households had shifted around, Scott and Seth were occupying an apartment in Somerville and uncovered the photostrips. At that point, they were acquainted with Henry Platt, a talented musician who made extra money by creating beautiful hand tooled leather bound manuscript books. He made one to contain the photostrips at Scott and Seth’s request and the photostrip book was born.

Over the years, more strips have been added, but they were never created with the frequency that they had been in the seventies.

By 1984, the sequential photostrip machine had vanished from Woolworth stores and most other places to be replaced by single pose machines that were simply not as fun. In 1997, Woolworth’s itself ceased to exist.

These pictures are part of a shared personal history and were a total gas to make. Please enjoy them.