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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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Traveling De Lux: 1924

Traveling De Lux: 1924

Washington, D.C. "Jeff Davis, 8/30/24." The entrepreneur and self-styled "Hobo King," last seen here, ensconced in his limousine, a circa 1917 REO touring car. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


King Jeff

King Jeff was a skilled lobbyist with an eye for public relations. His League of Hoboes of America incorporated in 1908 and campaigned for good roads, rural irrigation and flood control, among other issues.

Jeff always took pains to explain that a hobo was a working man - not a tramp, a mooch, or a bum. "He is the greatest optimist in the world and believes the world owes him an opportunity."

Other hoboes-who-would-be-king included Dr. Ben Reitman, the bawdy-house physician, labor organizer, and lover of Emma Goldman, whose biography The Damndest Radical tells of Davis and the relationship between the two men.


Some do pronounce it KARO (as in the syrup) , but southern Illinois locals generally say KAY-ro.

Say Yes to Michigan!

Looks like he had a trip through lower Michigan, Benton Harbor, South Haven, K-zoo and Camp Custer, which would be Fort Custer, Battle Creek, where my father was inducted into the Army in 1943.


Its pronounced Kai Ro. .

Mohawk Cord balloon tires

This Mohawk ad from 1924 shows a tire with a tread like the spare on the rear of the REO, likely the same as the Mohawks mounted on the wheels. They were made by the Mohawk Rubber Company of Akron, OH.

He made it to Cairo

do they pronounce it KARO?

Square pants?

Is that a real sponge (the actual animal, not a synthetic one) resting on the shovel head? If so, I can't imagine what he uses it for -- the car looks as if it hasn't been washed in years.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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