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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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Dr. M: 1924

Dr. M: 1924

October 28, 1924. Washington, D.C. "Dr. Hazel E. Munsell of Agriculture Dept." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Smiling eyes, though

There is something about the set of her eyes and mouth that makes me think that she could be a very jolly person. I can imagine that she has a big laugh. She may not have been particularly pleased to have to take time out her day to pose for the photographer, though.

Dr. Munsell

I don't think she looks ill-tempered at all. She has been posed -- who would keep such a perfect arrangement of glass bottles on the pull-out where they could be knocked over? -- and she is waiting for the photographer.

Lovely hands, too.

Taken, perhaps, to commemorate her Ph.D. in 1924? What an accomplishment for a woman in the '20s!

Glaring across the Generations

I think her granddaughter made the National Geographic a while back.

"I've Got Rhythm"

The metronome was commonly used for "sound therapy," to increase one's focus and attention span." It still has some proponents today; maybe its better than ADHD meds for some kids.

Maybe not so grim

What's that on her sleeve? A bit of decoration on an otherwise plain dress. She may be less Spartan than she seems. I think most people in these old pics looked grim because they had to hold so still.

Also, I think the metronome might be a handy way to time a chemical reaction without having to look away at a stop watch. Set it going at one beat per second, then add your ingredient and count the beats.

"Better take your vitamins!"

Dr. Munsell was one of the great proponents of healthy "dietetics" during the 1940s. She became famous for revising "Pattee's Dietetics," an important medical guide in 1947:

Having reached its twenty-third edition, Pattee's Dietetics has proved its usefulness. The entire book has been either revised or rewritten by Dr. Hazel E. Munsell and by authorities in nutrition, medicine and nursing. The text is well organized and is simply and concisely worded. Because of the experience and training of those who prepared it, it is authoritative. It can serve both as a textbook and as a work of reference and will continue to have wide appeal to all those who deal with the feeding of both well and sick persons regardless of whether they are professionally trained or not. The clearness of the text, which at the same time gives considerable detail, makes this possible. It discusses both the fundamentals of nutrition and its practical application.

One Hyphenated Word

There is one way to describe this woman ... ill-tempered.

Writing on Tablet

Is it possible to make out what she wrote in the full-resolution image?

["National Photo Co." - Dave]


That is Hazel's age in this shot -- wow, she looks easily 10 or 15 years older. Here's a woman who a bit of makeup and a softer hairdo would have worked wonders for (not to be sexist, mind you -- I'm a gal myself!)

As Usual

I cannot read the good Doctor's handwriting.

As usual

Comments about her looks but no appreciation of how hard it was for women of her day to achieve status as a professional in a world where men were considered the "experts." Not only did she have to make it through university but to make it through the ranks of her profession.

If she looks "hard," it may be a byproduct of hard work and effort.

And, after reading her bio, I see that, like many women of her day, she had to take time off to take care of her aging father. Not many professional men had to do that.

Desk Set

You could almost call this by that title - a most interesting collection of items on that beautiful old desk!

When I was very young I loved all the cubbies and drawers in my dad's desk.

Let's Tock

I heard that Dr. Munsell was noted for keeping a steady pace at work. Why else the metronome?

Dr. Munsell & Mrs. Hyde

I hope she's not drinking anything out of that flask.


That's Miss Jane from the Beverly Hillbillies!

1891 - 1989

More about Hazel here.

The Position

I think my prostate just ran and hid.

A pair of piercing eyes

Not a woman to get on the wrong side of by the look of it.

I'd like to make a comment

But I'm scared of her!

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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