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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Letterbox: 1911

Letterbox: 1911

Washington, 1911. "Post Office Department mail box." In front of the Old Post Office building. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Tree Protection

In American Samoa I remember seeing metal sheets wrapped around the palm trees to keep coconut crabs from climbing up.

Chicken wire

I wonder if chicken wire would deter lobbyists?

Flying Rodents

How is chicken wire going to keep a rat from climbing a tree. That would be adventure climbing for a rat.

Corner mailbox

When I was a child there was a mailbox just like this one on our street corner. I can't begin to count the times we used it a base during neighborhood tag games.

Not so out of date

Actually, this looks much many of the letter boxes we still have here in France.

Chicken wire

Knowing DC, and depending perhaps on the tree, such improvised devices are often intended to keep rats off. In some climes, sheet metal panels are wrapped around and affixed to palm trees to protect the coconut from the hungry rodent.


Where I live this was done to protect the trees in a park (near a stream) from beavers. This would seem unlikely in this case.

Me, teacher

Strangely enough, that's what was officially termed a "post" style collection box. Get all aesthetic on me, will ya.

A Restless Wind

Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe.

-- John Lennon

I Have a Comment!

Actually, it's more of a question. Does anyone know the purpose of the chicken-wire wrapped around the tree? I have my own idea, something to do with keeping horses from nibbling on the bark, but this is clearly speculation.
I would like to hear from someone who does know the correct intended purpose.

But, yes, it is art, too.


Who could possibly leave a comment for this photo? It's just plain art.

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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