China then and now–Children

Recently Joann and I talked about the Esther Expedition at the monthly gathering of the China Outreach Ministries near the University of Minnesota. We’ve told our story several times to different groups, but this was the first time to a mainly Chinese audience.

We included a few slides of then-and-now photos– shots we took trying to duplicate pictures in Esther Nelson’s albums, 1924-1951.

Afterward, one Chinese student asked if we could show more of those. I promised him I’d post some. For today, I’ve gather some shots of children.

In the early 1930s, Esther wrote home asking if someone could send designs for a kiddie car that she could give a local woodworker. In December 1936, she wrote: I do have so much enjoyment at Christmas time in making things and giving to the children. I knit a couple of suits for two children, had two kiddie cars made for others . . . 

 nelson kiddie car









Here are a couple of kiddie cars in 2012:


Nelson Kiddie car








In Esther’s day, baskets carried many things, including babies. Today too.

nelson baby basket





Nelson baby basket IMG_9574








Baskets also weren’t and aren’t bad for keeping tabs on baby on the ground too.

Nelson baby basket









Little boys in every generation seem to be unsmiling about dressing up.

1940s. Photo by George Cole, colleague of Esther Nelson

1940s. Photo by George Cole, colleague of Esther Nelson












In cold weather, you still can see toddlers dressed in thick quilted clothes, chin to toe. And that’s indoors too where it may be as cold as outdoors. At this point, I’m going to mention something that will seem perfectly normal to most of my Chinese readers, and quite the opposite to most of the rest of you. Look at the red pants of the modern-day little girl. There’s a gap in the middle. She’s in church, so there’s cloth (the white center section) wadded in there, but otherwise, there’d be nothing–just an open middle from front waist to back waist, as you can see in last photo, taken last year.

Nelson quilted toddlers IMG_1229









Nelson toddler pants






Well, that’s all there is for today, so I guess there’s just one thing left to say:

The End.

3 Comments on "China then and now–Children"

  1. Pamela Nees says:

    Some things just stay the same, don’t they? Love the children’s photos! So sweet!

  2. Paul says:

    I love this. If it works, why change it? They’re still waddling bundles of cuteness all this time on.

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