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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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Six Shooters: 1921

Six Shooters: 1921

Washington, D.C. "War Risk Insurance basketball team, 1921." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Axe and bolos

My first thought is that the axe was from the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. On closer inspection of it and some research, I now believe the axe and bolos (as they would have been called) are from the Igorot tribes located in the mountain provinces of Luzon


Women's basketball was a six-on-six game back then, which explains the six persons. However, only three of them would have been shooters under the rules of that game.

Wall hangings

I believe those items on the wall are from the Philippines, very specifically the island of Mindanao.

The lady in the middle of the second row

is Mrs. Ryan of the Bureau of War Risk Insurance basketball team (1921).

Tools etc.

I know I saw this same or a very similar collection of tools in another Shorpy photo before.

[In the offices (here, and here) of the National Photo Company. - Dave]

From WRI to USVB

It was good that the initials of the team were pinned on the uniforms. Among the "war risks" covered by the Bureau of War Risk Insurance during WWI was soldiers' disability, which lead to a rapid expansion of its work, then its size. Congress and the Harding Administration lost faith in this arrangement in 1921. In August and September 1921, they abolished the Bureau and transferred its functions to the new United States' Veterans Bureau.

These little curious things. They point the way.

That wall hanging belongs in an Agatha Christie book.

War risk

What an amazing collection of hatchets, handsaws, machetes, and assorted blades on the wall behind them. And is the backdrop some kind of gridded map?

SHORPY OLD 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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