SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Government Printing Office: 1912

Government Printing Office: 1912

Washington, D.C., 1912. "Government Printing Office -- views." The G.P.O. a century ago. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Rats in the Alleyway

My maternal grandfather was born in Washington, D.C. He took great pride in the fact that he was born on Flag Day in 1903. His father died at an early age leaving his wife to raise 4 young boys. She enjoyed quite a social life so her sons learned very quickly how to fend for themselves. Like rats scurrying the District's alleyways they, too, scrapped for food. The bakery was a favorite because of the stale donuts and heels of bread tossed at the end of the day. And so, as the story goes, my grandfather began sweeping floors at Merkle Press. The business owner saw potential in Joseph Howard Johnson, Sr. His hard work and perseverance did not go unnoticed by Mr. Merkle. He thought it worth his time and effort educating my grandfather with every aspect of the printing trade. My grandfather retired 47 years later with a gold watch, golf clubs and a legacy like none other.

Messy Work Place? - JellyBelly

JellyBelly .. You must have missed this mess.. which I do believe is the messy-ist work place Mess on Shorpy

Um, I think I'm in the wrong office.

A stern looking crew here.

Got broom? This office has not been 5S'ed in a loooong time.

Can we say underage employee?

Several of those "young men" look exceptionally young, i.e., 16 or under. But the kid in front, far right is still in kneepants. One thing I've learned from perusing Shorpy is that boys didn't wear long pants until they reached puberty. So - that makes this kid 12, 13, 14 maybe? Guess the Gov't didn't concern itself with such minutiae back then.

[They're office boys, a.k.a. clerks, gofers, interns. - Dave]


This looks like a much better choice for jobs than coal miner.

Really Gets into His Work

That fellow in the front must really love his job. He's got ink all over him, including his nice white tie!

Dress Code

Only one guy with no tie, or even a collar. And a mustache, too. He looks like the last guy in the shop you'd mess with. Meanwhile, everyone else has to wear a tie and keep it tucked in, or risk strangulation.

Who picks up the trash?

They may have a very nice wastebasket next to the second press, but they sure don't seem motivated to use it.
Basket empty. Floor full.

What a mess!

This is one of the most unkempt work places that I have seen on Shorpy. Scraps of paper and empty boxes scattered all over the floor.

Bureaucratic food chain

A bunch of guys who make government forms and one of the guys who use them.

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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