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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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

If I Had a Boat: 1921

If I Had a Boat: 1921

January 22, 1921. Washington, D.C. "Paul E. Garber (Smithsonian museum)." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Locomotive(s)

The locomotive pictured on the column is clearly the Stourbidge Lion. The vital clue is the inscription below the photo which says 'The Locomotive "Lion"'.

However, I don't think that's the image that z396z28 is talking about. Directly behind Mr. Garber, visible between his right arm and his head is another photograph of a railcar and locomotive. I think THAT is what is being identified - rightly or wrongly - as JOHN BULL.

No Bull

This (Locomotive on picture on column)is actually the Stourbridge Lion, British built for use in the USA. Smaller than the "John Bull" and larger than "Locomotion". Look close at the caption and compare with the Lion's pictures.

RR observations

The rail buffs have weighed in. The photo in back of the modelmaker is Pennsylvania RR's JOHN BULL.

Locomotion (not Little Eva!)

It's behind you. George Stephenson's 'Locomotion' introduced on the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1825. There's a working replica a the Beamish Museum in County Durham.

"Clipper" Fishing Schooner?

The model also went on to bigger and better things, like Mr Garber. I believe it is one of the "clipper" fishing schooners (c. 1855-1870) described by Howard I. Chapelle in two books, "The History of American Sailing Ships" (1946?) and "American Fishing Schooners" (1973). I think the model, prettied up with clean, non-stained sails and re-painted, is currently in a large display case with a number of other sailing small craft, in the National Museum of American History.

The "clipper" schooners were technically very advanced and achieved unusual speeds, but they had "the fatal ability to capsize when heeled beyond a certain point" (Chapelle's own words) and triggered a series of bad accidents. Eventually, owners switched to the seaworthy deep-keel schooners that fished the Grand Banks from about 1895 to 1933. South Street Seaport's "Howard" is one of the earliest of these.

So Much More Than a Model Fixer-Upper

Garber can be said to have been the heart and soul of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (NASM). He joined the Smithsonian the year before this photo was taken after working for the U.S. air mail service. He died in 1992 at age 93. Historic aviation treasures he personally was responsible for obtaining for the Smithsonian are many including Charles Lindbergh's Ryan that flew the Atlantic in 1927, the Wright Brothers' plane that flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903, and the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, the "Enola Gay" (named after pilot Paul Tibbet's mother). Here's my photo of the Enola Gay.

Following instructions

I hope the drawing on the wall wasn't the plan for what was to be built.

Sky's the Limit

Mr. Garber joined the Smithsonian the previous year (1920), and would eventually become the first head of the Institution's National Air Museum. Now, the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility is spread among 32 buildings in Maryland.

And in his spare time, Garber led the crusade to legalize kite-flying on the National Mall.

Restoring the Boat?

If that's his reference picture on the left he's never going to get it to look like that!

His Pants Say Flood

Shouldn't he be working on an ark?

It's a dirty job

but someone had to do it.

 
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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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