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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Ambulance Station: 1919

Ambulance Station: 1919

Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Red Cross emergency ambulance station." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Check out the maypole electrical pole camouflaged by the trees to the right of the house.

[Those are telephone lines. - Dave]

Red Cross Rank

Commonly misinterpreted as overseas service bars for duty in World War I, the bars on their left sleeves are actually rank insignia. The Red Cross had a rank system for nurses from one (highest) to seven (lowest). The rather matronly nurse on the far right, for example, would be described as a "Grade Four." No insignia on the sleeve meant they weren't fully qualified as nurses yet.

Awesome Boots

I spent 15 years in EMS and never had cool boots like that.


Remember, this was the height of the Spanish Influenza that killed so many people. These volunteers are brave!


Is this the 16th Street station shown in other photos here? Same diamond pattern roofing, lighted cupola and striped awning but with a completely different roofline and dormers.

[This is an interesting question. Seems to be the same general location (same buildings to the right and in the background). Another version of this photo shows a 1919 license plate on the truck. Yet this image, with 1920 plates, and another image, dated 1917 and showing a 1918 license tag, both show the shorter building. Leading me to think there are two similar buildings in close proximity. - Dave]

Those Atlas ambulances

seemed to be popular with the Red Cross. They were manufactured by Martin Truck and Body Corp. of York, PA. According to this item in The Hub for January 1918, 8 were delivered to the NYC Red Cross.

Tank Wagon

Wonder about the wagon partially visible. It appears to be a "tank car." There's what also looks like what may be a gas station. Huh. Could be connected.

[For another view click here. - Dave]


Looks like someone didn't make it to the party.

So much for my morning

These wonderful old photos that present something familiar in an unexpected way are my favorites. I wonder how much productivity I'll lose this morning researching if The Red Cross provided standard ambulance care in our cities the same way they did on the battle fields. The attire, the trucks, and now the research.

[Browse no further than this post, and in particular this comment. - Dave]


Someone appears to be getting a timeout.

Red Cross Motor Corps

The American Red Cross Motor Corps was first organised by Florence Jaffray Harriman and had about 45 members (mostly made up of women of independent means). Its garage at 16th and M streets was shown here in an earlier post.

The War and Navy department primarily used the service to transport war workers who had fallen sick, although in most cases it dealt with those suffering from the influenza pandemic of 1918.

Left out?

I wonder why the lady in the top left window wasn't allowed in the picture. She looks sad about it.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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