~ Hans Christian Andersen
Recently, the wonderful blog Ephemeral New York told the story of how we came to string electric lights on Christmas trees. In 1882 an employee of Thomas Edison named Edward Johnson created a sensation among the New York society set when he strung crepe-paper-wrapped lights on his tree. Another 35 years passed before teenager Albert Sadacca, whose family owned a lighting company, proposed the first ready-made strings of colored lights. By the 1920s, even the White House had adopted Sadacca's idea.
|White House Christmas tree, 1920s|
from the archives of the Library of Congress
Two years later, in 1933, Rockefeller Center made the tree a tradition. Here are a few photos taken over the years, all courtesy of the archives of the Museum of the City of New York.
|Rockefeller Center 1934 by the great New York City|
photographer Samuel Gottscho
|A dramatic shot of the tree in 1945, as seen from Fifth Avenue|
|Rockefeller Center, 1948|
There's one more tree I want to show you. This was not in Rockefeller Center but in Dayton, Ohio.
For more information, see:
- Ephemeral New York: "How New York invented the Christmas tree"
"George, a camel, stepped on the foot of a Rockette; six sheep came off the elevator as three kings bearing gifts got on; human Christmas trees bumped into eight maids-a-milking at the water cooler and an elf came down with the flu."
~ William E. Geist