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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

Major Mite: 1922

Major Mite: 1922

December 7, 1922. Washington, D.C. "Two in one. The smallest midget and smallest 'camel' shriner in existence. Maj. Mite had to skirt the camera left carelessly by a photographer when leaving the White House." Clarence Chesterfield Howerton (1913-1975), a.k.a. "Major Mite," was 9 years old when this photo was taken. According to his obituary he was in the "Our Gang" movies and played a Munchkin in "The Wizard of Oz." National Photo Co. View full size.

 

Camera

I could be mistaken, but probably not. I actually own a nealry identical camera, which I still use. Mines a 5x7 with no rotating back. I'll post a photo of it.

Wizard of Oz

He played one of the baby Munchkins. He pops up out of an egg wearing pink and rubbing his eyes while they are singing Ding Dong the Witch is dead. He looks cute in this pic, but in Wizard and Our Gang, he is quite homely!

"Free Eats"

The Our Gang series short that starred Major Mite (as a very creepy looking "baby", with a very deep voice dubbed over his) also had the distinction of being the debut of young George "Spanky" McFarland, the only child of the dozens hired by Hal Roach to be billed separately.

Although Free Eats is the only film listed on Imdb as having starred Major Mite, I saw him on another short, quite a few years ago. As in Free Eats, he made odd pauses in speaking that I thought were kind of interesting.

Nice camera

Love that RB (Rotating Back) Graflex even if I can't tell whether it is 4X5 or 5X7.

If You See Something, Say Something

If anyone left something the size of that camera on the White House steps these days, the country would be put on Orange Alert.

Little Rascals

The Our Gang episode has the gang as charity guests at the home of some wealthy patron. He played one of the two dwarfs pretending to be babies so they could get picked up by the wealthy attendees and grab jewelry. He stayed in a carriage. They are caught when Stymie catches him smoking a cigar and says, "They're not babies. They're fidgets!"

[Free Eats (1932). -tterrace]

Aww yes my little Chickadee!

W.C. Fields as a boy.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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