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About the Photos

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 • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Attention Honeymooners: 1939

Attention Honeymooners: 1939

From August 1939 comes this unlabeled negative, one of a series of pictures taken by Herbert Mayer in Virginia and Maine and residing in the Farm Security Administration archive at the Library of Congress, and its cryptic message. Honi soit qui mal y pense: Happy Valentine's Day from Shorpy! View full size.

 

Someone needs to relearn

French because the direct translation of 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' is 'evil be to him who evil thinks' buuuut if it is actually Latin it's more along the lines of 'Evil is not welcome'. Side note... "honi" should be "Honni"

[It's archaic, not modern French, and appropriate for the historical context of the phrase. - tterrace]

The photographer

The photographer was my great uncle. He owned a lumber company in Virginia, not sure how his photograph got into the archives.

The bed

Here's a postcard of the room.

[But steer clear of the Lupe Velez bathroom. - tterrace]

Mail Pouch

Mail Pouch would paint your whole barn free in return for the ad space, not just part of it.

They forgot to mention

Hourly rates.

Into the Woods

In the late 1940s, my parents, with me in tow, spent several Summer sojourns at the Summit. Being but a tad at the time, my recollections now are somewhat sparse -- mainly the nice lady who ran the gift shop and let me play (carefully) with some of the toys, my first taste of honeydew melon in the restaurant, some time in the swimming pool, finding the odd golf tee whilst rambling on the golf course. Oh, and attempting to ride the messenger's bike down the toboggan run. I'm sure my parents found other attractions to the place, though decency militates against my contemplating them. With the Internet, I could probably find out almost instantly what ever became of the place, but I prefer to remember it as it was then: a renowned haven for harried city dwellers (and apparently the repository for some of a failed actor's furniture).

A billboard so naughty

... they had to say it in French.

No Thanks, Mr. Gilbert

I think if I was on my honeymoon I'd let Hollywood icon John Gilbert keep his bed while the missus and I got our own. Thanks for the offer though. And I do speak French and I do think evil of your offer.

News item: Aug. 26, 1936

The Summit Hotel and John Gilbert's Bed

From The National Road in Pennsylvania, pp. 54-55 (available in Google Books) By Cassandra Vivian (Arcadia, 2003): The Summit Hotel

Caption from post card on page: Summit Hotel, Golf and Country Club, (above the clouds) Uniontown, PA

"Sitting atop Chestnut Ridge (the south side), the Spanish mission-style of Mount Summit Inn was once famous as a honeymoon hotel (actor John Gilbert's bed is in its honeymoon suite). It was built in 1900 of native mountain stone to accommodate the tourists of the automobile era. The view is spectacular during all seasons of the year, and a huge veranda surrounds the hotel."

There are additional postcards and text in the adjoining pages.

John Gilbert

Another Rudolph Valentino-esque silent film star, John Gilbert died an alcoholic a few years before this photo was taken, but when the sign was painted he would have been one of the leading men of his era.

He was blacklisted by Louis Mayer after a fight between the two at Gilbert's (planned) double wedding, where he would have married Greta Garbo (who jilted him at the alter) while one of Mayer's leading directors, King Vidor, married his on bride, in what would have been a blockbuster event.

Sad tail of one of the early great romantic leads in Hollywood.

[The rest of him sounds sad, too. - Dave]

An old saying.

 
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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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