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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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Dance Class: 1919

Dance Class: 1919

"William Lee's School, Georgetown," ca. 1919. Come closer, Mr. Photographer ... just a little closer ... National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Nothing cuter than Edwardian kids.

Sistine Madonna

It was painted by Raphael, 500 years ago. You can see the original in my hometown Dresden, Germany. Nowadays another detail of that painting is more famous. Those two angels that seem to hang out everywhere when kitsch is close...

Sistine Madonna

Go to google books and type in "Sistine Madonna and schoolroom" and you will see many articles praising the use of art to decorate classrooms and this piece in particular as being particularly attractive to children. I don't think it indicates that this was a religious school.


I wish I could remember the artist- but our Episcopal church in the Chicago suburbs has the exact Madonna and child print in the halls outside the Sunday school and it's been there for about 100 years. I imagine it's not so much "religious" as cultural- it's "art".

Chapter and Verse

"ne_time_now" asks if the Lee school was parochial. I'm guessing yes, but not Roman Catholic, as is usually the case in the U.S. today.

As (s)he notes, the Bible quote as listed is directly from the King James Version. The use of KJV makes it really unlikely that it's a Catholic classroom; instead, they would be employing Douay-Rheims, the Roman Catholic English translation from the same era as KJV and the sole English version used by the Catholic faith until the mid-20th century. In Douay-Rheims, the same quote is rendered as "Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly". But then one must consider the Madonna and Child picture, something that wouldn't likely get such center stage in many Protestant denominations, at least not today. Combining KJV and the Madonna picture, my conjecture is that the school is Episcopal, with a rather "High Anglican" flavor to it.

And Miss Blonde Curls does look like Nellie Olsen.


The third little girl on the left looks like me when I was younger. It took my breath away.


I thought the same thing when I saw it. There's Nellie Olsen, in all her spite and glory!

Celebrate Dutch Month!

It looks like there's a Dutch theme to the bulletin board and decorations. I wonder what that was about?


Check out that light fixture -- awesome.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

The King James Bible - "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Was having trouble figuring out what was covering a portion of the Madonna and Child portrait until I realized that it is probably a reflection from a window on the opposite wall. Interesting with G. Washington and the Madonna overseeing the classroom; was the Lee school a parochial school??

Little House

The tall girl 2nd from the right looks like the evil girl who was the shopkeeper's daughter in "Little House on the Prairie."

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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