Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Mystery Christmas Day Photo

I originally published this post in May of 2011.  I have never had this mystery solved, so I am republishing this post just in case there is a historian out there.

And yes I could contact the Broome County historian, but what is the fun in that?

The Mystery Wartime Photo (May of 2011)

On my almost daily walks through downtown Binghamton, New York I frequently pass a number of historic buildings, among them the Security Mutual building.

Several weeks ago, scaffolding appeared around the building.  Some window work is being done. Two or three weeks ago some banners appeared, strung between the supports of the scaffolding.  One of them features a photo it says was taken of employees, right outside the front entrance, on Christmas Day 1943.

It's hard to see the photo (I had to stand in the street to take this and I tried to get the entire banner into the shot) but the photo contains mainly women.  There are only a few men, and they are old.  This tracks with the fact that this photo was taken during World War II.  The young men were fighting overseas.

How many Security Mutual employees went off to war?  Did they all return safely?  I don't know.

Were all of these women working there before the war?  Or did some take the place of the soldier employees, to disappear into the home again after the fighting was over?

Then, I had still another question.  Right now I have no answer to this question, either.

What were they doing there on Christmas Day, 1943, instead of being with their families back at home?

Did Security Mutual ask them to come in for a company sponsored Christmas dinner?  Or, because of the war effort, did they have to work?

Why the photo, to begin with?  Was it sent to soldiers overseas?  Was it done to boost morale?

I would love to know the story behind this photo.  I hope that someone knows.


  1. I'm sure Security Mutual would tell you.
    (By the way, I've had my life insurance through their firm [among others] since 1964!)

  2. Good mystery! I know my aunt worked for Paul Revere Insurance and back then they did not get many days off so maybe this was kind of a fun thing, time out to pose for a picture?

  3. Not a clue! But I love the "community mystery" aspect of this story.

  4. Hmmm. Good questions. Too bad no one answered.


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