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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Whorls and Ridges: 1925

Whorls and Ridges: 1925

Washington, D.C., 1925. "Justice Department, Nat'l. Bureau of Identification." Filing fingerprints at the forerunner of today's FBI. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Looks like a cold, snowy day outside.


Lulu? You perhaps mean Louise Brooks?

[It's her common nickname, used by herself in fact, in her memoir Lulu in Hollywood. - tterrace]

Until J. Edgar Hoover took over

The Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation was nothing to brag about. Almost anyone with connections could be a field agent, and the quality of the furniture in this photo reflects the Bureau's stature in the Federal bureauacy. Agents were poorly paid, poorly trained and had to depend on public transportation to get to the scene of the crime. Hoover changed all that, eventually turning a lowly haven for slackers into the world's greatest criminal investigative force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hoover had just started as Director when this picture was taken. A few years down the line, a cigarette butt on the office floor could lead to a 10-day suspension!

Working in the back

I find the double-sided desks most interesting. I can see the woman on the far left has drawers, but unless the man in the middle has some on the opposite side from the way her desk is built, he just gets to work on the backside of the other guy's desk.

Guess I'm spoiled and greedy

I couldn't imagine having to share my desk with somebody else. That's some mighty close quarters, there!

Sparse Furnishings!

The room is rather bare, the desks look very old and scratched and have been placed next to the windows to take advantage of the natural lighting.

The Bureau did not seem to spend a lot of money on workplace amenities. Is that is a cigarette on the floor by the girl on the left (no ashtray on their desk!) although the men seem to have one.

The girl on the left, 2

Haven't you ever heard of Lulu Brooks jms? That hair cut and drop waist dress screams jazz age!

Hard at Work

There they are looking for Anarchists, Bolsheviks and any others looking to overthrow the status quo.

The girl on the left

The first thing I noticed was the unusual haircut and clothing style of the young woman on the left for the time. The other three people in this picture look very 1925, but the left-hand woman looks like she's out of 1960s London.

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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