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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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Cultivated Minds: 1952

Cultivated Minds: 1952

Columbus, Georgia, circa 1952. "Library staff." On the premises of the Columbus Enquirer. 4x5 acetate negative from the News Archive. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


What is that water holder/stamp licker device actually called?

[A moistener. Often touted as being "sanitary" to distinguish from a sponge cup. -tterrace]

Vintage moistener

For the young whippersnappers in the audience, that rectangular ceramic or porcelain item on the desk in the foreground was a standard requirement in most offices of the mid-20th century. A little water was placed in the "tub", then the rolling cylinder was put back and it would be used to attach stamps (they were not self-sticking in those days) or to seal envelopes or to wet a finger for collating, etc. Very heavy, about 3 lbs. each, and if it wasn't cleaned often, it would start to smell yucky. They had 'em in all the offices I worked in. Today they're on e-Bay costing from about $10 to $40 each. Who knew?

Checker-board floors

Amazing how ubiquitous checker-board floors were in the 1940s-50s. Never understood this.

"Just look at her."

"Sitting there with her fancy earrings, fashionable scarf, and grease pencil. Make ME face the wrong side of the office, will you? We'll I'll show her. I'm going to sit right here and scribble all over this Shorpy photograph with an ink pen. PERMANENT ink! That'll show her."

3 Gb of data

All this information would fit on a thumb drive, accessible in microseconds.

It could do double duty as a barrette!

The speed at which this data could be accessed is not something these three ladies could even comprehend in their day.

Cultivated Mind

The motto is from the founder of the newspaper, and goes on even longer but the editors did some fixup work.

Data Storage

I wonder what percentage of an inexpensive laptop's hard drive all that information would occupy.


Elbow in the stamp pad again?

Mirabeau B. Lamar

The full quotation by Lamar, second President of the Republic of Texas (1838-41), is: "The cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy and, while guided and controlled by virtue, the noblest attribute of man. It is the only dictator that freemen acknowledge and the only security that freemen desire."

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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