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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 • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Tax Man: 1929

Tax Man: 1929

May 20, 1929. Washington, D.C. "Secretary Mellon laying cornerstone of Internal Revenue building." View full size. National Photo Company Collection.

 

Dad at the IRS

My dad, who recently passed away, worked at the IRS for 35 years, providing a solid income for us to live in the 'burbs. The job provided a good retirement and medical benefits, too.

I wish I had found this site before he became very ill--many of these photos likely would have sparked even more interesting stories.

He grew up in Silver Spring, attended Bullis, U of M and Georgetown, so he was a witness to the growth of the D.C. metro area for 58 years!

Andrew Mellon

He does look like he'd make a great Count Dracula, but that tombstone-like cornerstone probably has something to do with it. I almost wonder if the photographer had that in mind, the obvious comparison to the IRS is certainly not new!

Andrew Mellon

Far from "getting blood from a turnip" Mellon reduced the top income tax rate from 77% to 25%, and reduced taxes on the lower income groups. The reduction of the top rate was based on the notion that the higher the rate the more likely people were to try to avoid paying their income taxes. Worked too. Ironically, just before he left office as Secretary of the Treasury in 1932 the Justice Department started an investigation of his tax returns. He was exonerated.

Blood From a Turnip?

Whoa! He gives me the chills just looking at him. Don't think he'd care much for our new "kinder, gentler" IRS. And yes, I think he could get blood out of a turnip.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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