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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Nine to Five: 1926

Nine to Five: 1926

"Bureau of Identification, Department of Justice." LOC date: "1916 or 1917." Wall calendar: June 1926. View full size. National Photo Company glass negative.

 

Hope they all liked each other

Tight quarters!! Love the clothes they are wearing -- definitely 20's. How the heck did the woman in the back on the left get in and out of that tight spot? Would have been much easier had they placed the desks facing out under the windows, but then they would actually be tempted to distraction from what most likely was boring work.

Hair story

I love the fingerwaves. I need this look now!

Wow, so clear

Wow, that photo is so clear you can even see that the lady front left had back skin.

[I sure hope so. - Dave]

The date?

How did the LOC come up with 1916/7? In addition to the obvious calendar, the hairstyles and dresses scream the '20s!

[Library of Congress date ranges are guesstimates based on dates for negatives with neighboring call numbers. Most or maybe all of the "1916-1917" batch, which went online starting in May, seems to be from around 1926. - Dave]

No Cubicles

It would be a pretty tight squeeze to move about in this office and the girl in the corner (with the glasses) is literally trapped in case of emergency. I believe an efficiency expert planned this office to be all work and no play, as there would be no personal phone calls, no handling of personal business, no privacy whatsoever, and every desktop is relatively clear of clutter. Yet they all look happy to have a white collar job. I remember when that indestructible golden oak (or tiger oak) furniture went out of fashion by the late 40's because my father bought several desks, chairs and tables for less than $10, which we used for firewood. What fools we were.

Windows 1.0

They work in an office with windows that open! I am so jealous!

Signs of the Times

I have a photo of my mother on the wall over my desk and she could be one of these ladies. Her hairdo matches perfectly. It was taken about this time when I believe she was 17.

As for the typing tables. That typewriter is securely fastened and at the end of the day, one tipped it up and it was kept dust-free below what would then appear to be a regular desk. How do I know? They were still in use 40 years later. So, Rob, you guessed it correctly.

Finger waves

Obviously the hairstyle of choice - finger waves are such a PAIN to do right. These ladies went through hours of sitting with pins in wet hair to get such a look and I will say they all look beautiful!

Beauty School Dropout

It looks like all the women in this picture went to the same hairdresser. Their haircuts all dropped above their left eye. Either they were conformists because their employers tolerated no individualism or they just liked that styling. They do, however, look pleasant enough.

Aha!

I own a desk just like this, and now I know why the middle folds down to reveal a lower platform. I had an idea this is what these were for, but no proof.

 
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