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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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Who Are You: 1921

Who Are You: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Edwards boy." Shorpy fans will recognize here our equivalent of Judge Crater, Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Earhart all rolled into one: An abiding mystery impervious to the curiosity of the multitude. Who was the Edwards boy? We don't know. And what is he doing here? View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Good Comments

Shorpy has the best comments of any site I've ever been on. Thanks to all of you.

Like having a personal Googling staff

That's what it's like, here on Shorpy. Taking just this one photo as an example, look what Los Sharpos came up with to add some interest and content to what initially was just an old photo of a boy with a radio. I don't know of any other site that compares.

Mystery solved

I can tell by the gleam in his eye that he was really smiling, on the inside! He's using that machine to communicate with people from 90 years in the future, including Dave. When this shot was taken, Dave was reading him the comments from the first two pics of him that were posted. They had agreed to call him only "the Edwards boy" to increase interest, but Dave actually knows his full name, when he was born, the name of the girl he likes, what camp he went to that summer, and even his shoe size!

Here's Your Answer

The Edwards boy was old man Edwards' son.

Who is it?

It must be a young Tom Swift checking on the weather before heading out on another adventure.

Mystery boy

I did some research using the following guidelines: Male with last name "Edwards", born in Washington DC area in the year 1910 (+/- 2 years), putting his age between 8-12. I used the 1920 Census to come up with the data, and found 47 people that fit the basic criteria. One of the other pictures listed a name of Edward Edwards as then-governor of New Jersey; there was only ONE person on the census that matched the info, and had the name Edward Edwards. He was born in Washington DC county in 1910, which would have made him 11 at the time of this photograph. I could only look up basic info on the site While I don't think it was the governor, it might have been his son, as his name was Edward I Edwards Jr. By the way, if anyone wants the list of the other boys with the last name "Edwards" that I discovered, let me know.

[The other photos seem to indicate the lad is visiting from elsewhere, and so probably not a native Washingtonian. - Dave]

Sumidagawa Vase

Meanwhile, on the little writing table against the wall, we find a colorful Sumidagawa ware vase, named for the Sumida River in Tokyo. This hand-thrown export ware was first produced in the Asakusa District of Tokyo by a succession of Inoue family potters named Ryosai, and usually featured humorous hand-sculpted and applied figures of Japanese village folk and animals, decorated with brightly colored enamel glazes against a brushed red-orange lacquer background. The family moved their production center to Yokohama in 1924, where it is still made. Here's a comparison with a piece from an online auction catalog.

Cat's Whisker

Looks like the lad is adjusting the cat's whisker detector on his crystal radio. The long wires lead to the antenna and ground.

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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