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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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Study Hall: 1936

Study Hall: 1936

Washington, D.C., circa 1936. "Tech High School students." View full size. 5x7 safety negative, National Photo Company Collection.


Double take

Before enlarging the photo, I thought the librarian was George Washington.

As for the mural: Please don't tell me it has been painted over!

McKinley Tech Library

It may be too late for Dave to check on that muralist. Take a look at the photo here.

[OMG. The muralist is . . . Sherwin Williams! - Dave]

Dave's Backyard

If this HS still exists, Dave could visit it and get the name of the muralist, Dave lives close by.

[How nice that you know so ... much ... about ... me. - Dave]


Noooo!!! Not a stereotyped librarian! She puts the rest of us non-sensible shoe wearing librarians in such a bad light!

Tech Cyclorama

Thomas Hart Benton had a much looser and more fluid style than the stiff and somewhat formal scenes here. It is also not typical of Benton that he would have posed iconic figures such as Moses The Lawgiver (I think) over the doorway. This is much more in the style of the Capitol Rotunda.

[See below for what might be the artist's signature. The art instructor at McKinley was Alexis B. Many (1879-1937). - Dave]

The Mural

The mural has all the hallmarks of being one of Thomas Hart Benton's works. I'm working on verification. Great photo!

Safety Negative

Hi. Sorry for the dumb question but what's a safety negative?

[Acetate film as opposed to nitrate stock, which being chemically similar to dynamite was dangerously flammable. Wikipedia entry: Safety film. - Dave]

Study Hall

This is most likely McKinley Tech High School. My mother graduated from there in 1936, so when I saw the photo, my heart almost stopped. But she was not one of the girls in it.

[There's one more (below). - Dave]

Distracting environment

So many books available to browse, several panels, statues, those murals. I know I would be unable to study here, too many distractions; on the other hand with some additions it would make the perfect cafeteria for academics and artists.

But definitely not the place to prepare for my finals.


I'd love to know who the muralist was. This looks like the murals the WPA painted in many courthouses in the 30s. The librarian looks disapprovingly at the photographer disturbing the Golden Silence of "her" library

One of the great mysteries of life is how old maid librarians reproduce. However they do it, it must happen, since there seems to be a never ending supply of spinster librarians.

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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