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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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A Clean Sweep: 1914

A Clean Sweep: 1914

1914. "U.S. Capitol. Cleaning interior." Harris & Ewing glass neg. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Senate Spittoons

There are still two spittoons on the floor of the U.S. Senate, even though the rules now prohibit chewing/spitting in the chamber.


The men in this picture might not have been able to get any better job than cleaning out cuspidors in 1914, But they clearly take their job and themselves seriously. Suits and a tie for what is essentially a janitorial job. Even considering that it is the White House, that's amazing. I know Executive Vice presidents who can't bring themselves to make it past polo shirts and khakis.

[This is the Capitol, not the White House. - Dave]

In their dreams

WOW, Mr Mel, that's what I was thinking! They probably thought that they were as close to the President of the United States as a black man could get.

DC Voting Representative - Yes and No

The people of DC do vote for a member in the House of Representatives. That person is not allowed to vote on final passage of bills. However, the DC rep is allowed to sit on committees, define legislation, and vote for bills out of committee. So, in some sense, DC voters can influence House legislation.

Nobody in DC could vote back then.

When my Mom turned 21 in 1954, she was a resident of the District of Columbia and she said they had no vote. It only came later that residents of D.C. were able to vote. They still have no voting representation in Congress.

Study Hard In School, Or Else...

I used to show my kids a grimy factory, field work, or some such thing to demonstrate the true value of an education, aka, the true escape from the drudgery of labor.

If our family finds wakes up one fine morning back in 1914, I'm taking the kids to the U.S. Capitol on Spittoon Cleaning Day. Even though this is elected expectorant, special spit, my point will be quite powerful. Quite.


Awesome picture, and amazing quality for a 1914 shot.

[Poke around this site a little and you'll find that photographs taken back then were generally sharper than ones taken today. - Dave]

Re: Dreams

So true, Mr. Mel. Heck, they probably couldn't vote themselves. DC might have been different, but I doubt it.


In their wildest 1914 dreams, could they have imagined a black man becoming the President of the United States?

I prefer the word Cuspidor

It sounds much classier!


They're cleaning out spittoons.

Cough, hack, wheeze...

What is that they're cleaning? Looks like old ashtray covers, 22 of them?

[Dog dishes? Velvet-rope-post holders? - Dave]

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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