The Corner Drugstore, 1934

Good historical photos can give amazing glimpses into the daily lives of people in the past. This 1934 photo of Rasmussen Drugs in downtown Lincoln does exactly that, with fascinating historic ads and a surprise hidden in a window reflection.

Image of a corner drug store

One of the joys of the extensive History Nebraska photo collection is the inevitability of stumbling upon interesting photos that have nothing to do with what you’re actually looking for. (This is one reason we have a blog.) Here’s a scene from downtown Lincoln in August 1934 (RG2158-2424). According to the Lincoln City Directory, Rasmussen Drugs was located at 149 N. 13th St. The photo’s details tell a story of 1930s life.

Detail of the corner drug store. A sign that reads Kuklin School of Tap Dancing

A tap dance school is just upstairs, catering to dreams stoked by movies and vaudeville. (You can almost hear the reasoning: Fred Astaire is from Omaha, so why couldn’t the next great dancer come from Lincoln?)

Detail of the corner drug store. A sign that reads Special: Hot Plate Lunch

Looks like the hot plate lunch special costs twenty-five cents.

Detail of the corner drug store. Painted image of a woman in an advertisement

Coca-Cola invokes the 1930s ideal of feminine charm to sell its product.

Detail of the corner drug store. A sign that reads: Rector's Pharmacy, Chancellor 10 cent cigar, Drugs, Lunches, Soda

A cigar ad reveals the name of the pharmacy’s former owner.

Detail of the corner drug store. A makeup ad in a window display.

A makeup company offers a solution to aging skin, while the window’s reflection reveals the photographer’s unintended subjects: two boys by an automobile.

(An update about the photos we shared in this post: “More from the Corner Drugstore”)

—David Bristow, Associate Director / Publications

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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