Squad Goals

Posted on August 3, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church. To read more posts by Joanna click HERE.

Sometimes, looking at photos of people having a good time is entertaining and cheerful. ‘What a good time that was,’ you might reminisce, if it’s a photograph in your own album; or, ‘I bet those folks were having a blast, that looks like fun’ if it’s a historic photo from your family or from a museum collection.

Avrum “Pat” Rifman (in straw hat, front row; 1905-1991) with friends, summer 1933. It does look like these folks are having a blast, doesn’t it?
Gift of Ruth Rifman. JMM 1996.108.10

At other times … like, say, four-plus months into global pandemic … those pictures can be a bit more depressing. When social and family interactions have been minimal (at best) for weeks and weeks at a time, that unexpected Facebook flashback photo of former Fun Times popping up in your feed simply serves to remind you of what you’re missing. This week I accidentally found myself looking through a folder of vacation snapshots from five years ago, and I persevered through the whole collection even though I soon realized that it was a mistake: Not only have I not seen these friends since February or March, but we were supposed to make a repeat trip to the UK this past June, which of course didn’t happen. We’re lucky that we’re all doing relatively well right now, so a missed vacation is definitely a “champagne problem,”  but still – these photos that usually cheer me up had the opposite effect right now.

Front foreground to background: Kate, Helen, me, and Liza, walking part of the Jurassic Coast path (southwest England), in 2015. Photo by Kate, who has the selfie skills.

So what did I do next, after my sad foray into “Vacations … I Remember Those”? I went through the JMM collection looking for more group photos of Fun Times! Despite the slightly depressing perspective overlaid by the current circumstances, I love this kind of photograph. The phrase Squad Goals always comes to mind when they show up in a search, and in fact, I already had a running list to call upon when the idea for today’s post came up. So please enjoy these historic #SquadGoals from our files, and I hope that they inspire you to dream happily of future group events… when it is safe to enjoy them once more.

A card game underway at Levindale, circa 1980. What stories and jokes are these fellows telling while they plan their next hand? Gift of Gloria Harris. JMM 2011.87.54


A small dance troupe, ready to take the stage at the JCC, 1976. As a dance recital veteran myself, I know exactly how these ladies feel as they pose for the camera; I only wish we could see them in action. Gift of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore. 2006.13.1812


Members of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, including Clara Rosenzweig (later Grossfeld, 1897-1964), 1920. These young ladies, in matching white outfits with their ILGWU badges proudly displayed, are dressed to go out and make waves. Gift of Harriet Waldman. JMM 1993.136.8


A group of women – I like to think they’re all in the same Mah Jongg club, taking the time for a poolside outing for a change, though we have no details on the actual reason for the gathering – at Camp Milldale, 1966. Gift of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore. JMM 2006.13.545


Members of one of Baltimore’s three chapters of Tau Beta Sigma, a national sorority for Jewish high school students, enjoying what is probably prop beer in a photography studio “bar,” circa 1946. Pictured are Milly Cohen, Frona Abramovitz, Dorothy Barber, Bernice Schloss, Raisa Breman, Betty Cushner, a Ms. Brenner, and Lucille Rosen. Gift of Dr. Virgina T. Pond. JMM 1984.211.2

If you know more about any of these photographs, whether participants or the occasion, please let us know in the comments! It’s fun to imagine the social activities and conversations going on in these scenes, but it’s even better to have the real stories.


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