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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Hopper Employment Agency: 1920

Hopper Employment Agency: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "National Personnel Service Bureau." Our second peek into the bureau's office, a scene that reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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The Conversation

Talking Heads

       Earnest Alice on the right seems to be telling a shocked Mary on the right something daring.

       "I'm telling you Mary if one more drinking office manager asks me to show a little knee I'm going to bob my hair and join the Temperance Movement and make sure office mangers across the United States will not get another drink."

Best Positions

Washington Post, January 19, 1924.

Best positions for bookkeepers, accountants, clerks, auto mechanics, electricians, chauffeurs, salesmen, office boys &c.

National Personnel Bureau
305 Bond Bldg., 14 & N.Y. ave. M. 644.

Drop Head

Sorry I didn't notice this earlier, but the Bureau seems to have one of those new-fangled "drop head" office-typewriter desks. The top of the desk flips open, raising the typewriter up from its hidden position within the desk.

This would have been a "patent pending" model. The patent was approved in Nov., 1921.

Here's a link to the sketches that show how the desk worked.

Office Skills

I'll bet NONE of them know Powerpoint.

motion in a Hopper painting

Nope - no flappers here.

One bohemian, maybe.

I see movement

Without going through every Hopper image, I can't say for certain, but I can't recall him ever painting anything that looked like motion. Streets empty of automobiles and streetcars. A lone gas pump on an empty road. People sitting or standing, but rarely walking, much less running. The blurred figure entering the room seems to violate a Hopper space.

Other than that, I agree, it's a Hopper painting. I like the inkwells, suggesting that I wouldn't have lasted an hour in that office, not having been trained in "penmanship" of the sort that was required back then. I could have handled the manual typewriter, though. My dad bought four of them at a company auction in 1977, thinking his sons would need them in college. He didn't predict the swiftness of the personal computer revolution!

Please take a seat

Poor women have been cooling their heels out there so long they're starting to get moldy.


Was it common practice to have what appears to be an exterior, double hung type window between rooms on the inside of a building?

[This was taken from the inner office, looking out to the waiting room. Think of an older-style doctor's office, with the receptionist at a desk behind a sliding glass window panel. In this case, the window slides up, not to the side. - tterrace]

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