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© 2014 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNAVAL EN LA HABANA, 1941

Office Xmas Party: 1925

Office Xmas Party: 1925

        It's the week before Christmas, which means it's time for a hallowed holiday tradition here at Shorpy: The Office Xmas Party! Which has been going on for close to 90 years now. Will Clarence in Sales ever get up the nerve to ask out Hermione from Accounting?

Washington, D.C., 1925. "Western Electric Co. group." There are enough little dramas playing out here to keep the forensic partyologists busy until Ground Hog Day. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Young bald guy

Every time I see this, my eyes go to the young, very handsome man who is looking over the shoulder of the rather portly guy on the right side of the photo. Balding men didn't have many options, then, like they do now, but I rather doubt that the premature balding kept all the young ladies away from him!

I wonder which of these men were veterans of WWI?

At the Ion Department Christmas Party . . .

That exotic woman sitting in front of the desk in the lower left STILL seems distracted by something just out of camera, and the woman in front of her is still watching her carefully.

It's a wonderful photo worth our annual holiday attention!

--Jim

Not Al Jolson

Wade in NW Florida: if he looks like anybody of that period, it would most likely be Eddie Cantor, not Al Jolson.

Best Christmas Party Ever

First, Dave, you have cured my holiday depression. I found this during a post-Xmas hangover and there are no words. I was instantly addicted to your site. Thank you.

Second, if there is anyone out there with connections to the BAU I would like you to seriously consider imposing yourself on that relationship and get them on it. I'm dying for a more complete story. You must be too if you're reading this. You know who you are. Pick up that phone and give him/her a call.

Another year older

I just love this photo. There's so much to analyze. Saw it last year for the first time. Here we all are, another year older. That would include those in the picture, in a macabre sort of way.

Why the oil can

Those three objects in front - Maybe just spur-of-the-moment party silliness?

Al Jolson

Is that Al Jolson in front of the "Traffic signal" bald guy? He's peering out just a bit from behind the guy with the vest and holding his glasses. 1925, the timeline is right. :)

Thank you, Dave

I hope this re-posting will bring new fans. Merry Xmas,everyone!

Iconic Status

This photo has taken on a level of immortality that few others can hope to achieve. A Photograph for the ages that will always be appreciated and admired. A Tradition is born! Thanks to Dave and all that visit here; hopefully someday your office pictures will be shown here and we can all marvel at how far we've come in so short a time.
Tiny Tim said it best so I shan't repeat it but that is my wish for one and all.

Shorpy Christmas card

If Dave would produce an annual Shorpy Christmas card I would buy a few boxes, and I'm sure others would as well. Cards with this photo would be seen in every business cubicle in the country and quite a few places around the globe. It says Merry Xmas for me.

So much to read into

This picture is as familiar to longtime readers of this blog as our own family photos and as evergreen as that Christmas Tree was before it was cut down. One can imagine so much here, for example that as soon as the photographer finishes with his duties, the Volstead Act will be violated by most of the people in this room (there are a few who look as if they might disapprove), and the usual office party shenanigans will occur, some of which might have consequences in the months to follow even if they all swear that what happens at the Office Party stays at the Office Party.

Party Hearty

Ooooo -- Roaring twenties office party, bathtub gin. Oooooo -- I think I just threw up in my throat a little bit.

3rd row

from the top 3rd from the left. I'm in love.

Oh wait.

She apparently had a good time with my grandpa.

As she is my grandma!

"The gal sitting on the floor behind the Oil can has had a drink or two already, and she is plotting mischief. I can see it in her eyes! Was she the good time that was had by all?"

Festivus

Its good to see this one again. I just keep looking at the people and see more than a few that would have been great company. I hope everyone, viewers, commenters, Dave and webmaster Ken has a great Holiday Season in the company of friends and loved ones.

The ion Department

A quick flip of the door confirms we are in room 504 of the ion Department.

Cost of that tree

Could not have been more then a dollar in 2011 money

Must have been last minute!!!

Up to no good?

The gal sitting on the floor behind the Oil can has had a drink or two already, and she is plotting mischief. I can see it in her eyes! Was she the good time that was had by all?

"Pure horse, Danno. Book 'em."

Having just spotted the drug paraphernalia on the left - the scale, the packaging materials, the kimono-wearing parrot - our undercover coppette in mid-pack has whipped out her official police hat and ignoring the cries of "that baggy's not mine!" is about ready to haul the whole gang downtown. A bust like this baby was sure to bump her upstairs and away from all these dreary office parties.

My hat!

How did she get it?

Lord Almighty!!!

It's the butler in the pantry!!!

I have never, ever seen so many guilty people in one photograph.

Unbelievable that it was not staged. But it obviously wasn't.

Wow!!!

Another Shorpy Party!

I love this photo and we're going to test the limits of the reply counter. Merry Christmas everyone and have a grand new year!

Secrets never revealed

There is no question that many secret alliances and not-always discreet hook-ups probably took place during and after this festive celebration 86 years ago. Luckily for those involved, there were no surveillance cameras, cell phone cameras, tape recorders, security guards, texting devices or other pesky snooping devices that could cause the merrymakers a permanent record (and deep lifetime regret) of their missteps. They were the roaring 20's when people gathered their rosebuds where they may and parties were for having the best time you could have. I'm betting many of these revelers took their sweet and sordid memories of that night to their graves.

Completion

All this tableau requires (perhaps) to make it complete, is a large paper bag on the floor stuffed with goodies, including the obligatory pair of turkey-feet protruding upward in a festive fashion.

Best of the Season to All in the Shorpyverse Continuum!

I never tire of looking at this one.

Always noticing something new, frinstance,

The object on the scale, seems to have some heft to it based on how far the scale dial has moved, maybe a cast iron toy?

The young fellow on the far right, Candy Cane in his right hand but whats on his left hand? Looks like it's slipped inside of something, a toy holster maybe?

Beauty

I love the woman sitting on the floor next to the desk looking away. At first glance you think; boy she looks tired, and then you look again and you see how beautiful she really is. She is just stunning. I also find it interesting with the commentary just how similar our comments in the office were to the ones posted on this site. We too made up stories about these folks. I love this photo. Thanks for sharing it.

It would be a chore, but could someone please

colorize this!

Western Electrical Fire

I can't believe, in 90+ comments on this remarkable photo, that not one person pointed out the extension cord running from the ceiling light fixture to the tree. I think the answer to the comment about how and when these folks died is: a few minutes after this photo was taken, in a horrible electrical fire.

General Electric Crime Family

Ok, a lot of the men look like mafiosi with the big-lips guy in front being the capo. The two guys at the right, top, are hit men.

The Timeless Desk

I'm still using the exact same desk as the one in the photo; my wife purchased it from McGill university when they replaced the professors' desks in the mid 1960s.

Oh what fun

Adolf (second from right at very top) has quite the leer going on. Peter Sellers could imitate him well. Mystery Lady could have been even more beautiful. I imagine her long hair flowing and her prominent features brought out even more with an expert's touch.

What is Stogie Man carrying, besides his eyeglasses? I also wonder who took this photo. It obviously took some arranging, with the piling up of people.

Excellent, almost spellbinding picture! I come here about six times a day just to visit it. I wonder who lived the longest, and what year they all died and how? Yes, I'm a morbid one.

At First Glance

and in the zoomed out view, I thought the gent at the far right might be the office troublemaker and that the folks wrapped him up in Christmas lights for his just deserts. Alas and alack, when you go in for a closer look, it's simply the ravages of time taking their toll on the negative.

[This batch of plates has water damage along one side. - Dave]

Office A-Go-Go

The gent at the back is, indeed wearing the miniature street signal (it has 4 arms to the signal so not a railway signal) on his head. Firstly, the only thing behind him is a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall, certainly nothing that the signal could be perched on. And, secondly, if it was sitting on something, it would not be sitting at the angle it is.

Then and Now

I'm wondering -- in today's world there is usually at least one person at an office party of that size who gets a little too inebriated and winds up making photocopies of their nether parts for distribution to all. Was there a way to do the same thing using a mimeograph machine or whatever other copying technology existed in 1925? Would the tipsy individual first have to draw their naughty bits on some special copy medium? Our grandparents sure had a lot of hardships to deal with.

RE: Oh Great

If CBS could give us Rudolph, Shorpy can give us Western Electric.

The Lady of the Desk

just wandered in from the Sergei Eisenstein film that was shooting on the set next door. She's on a break between takes of the Odessa Steps sequence.

Some Like It Hot

The mademoiselle standing in front of the woman wearing the Policeman's hat could have been Billy Wilder's inspiration for his casting Jack Lemmon in drag.

Another World

These people are denizens of another universe that, no matter how many photographs we study or books we read, we will never fully understand because we didn't live in it and never will.

These are people who knew how to navigate themselves in the distant world of 1925. All of these people were born at the beginning of the last century and were brought up by people from the 19th century.

If a modern young person were to be suddenly transported here without preparation he would find it completely disorienting and possibly quite frightening, because of so many technological and cultural and social differences between now and then.

An unflattering portrait

My god, this is by far the ugliest group photo I've ever seen! Both girls and guys look like winners from the Walmart Ugly Photo Contest.

Slow on the uptake

I'm pretty sure Mr. Semaphore head isn't actually wearing that thing on his head; it's behind him. What is alarming is the second head growing out of his chest. The heads seem to be in agreement to lurk.

Kimono-wearing parrot?

With a bouffant, no less? Over there, on the scale!!

The gal with the candy cane, to our left of the much-ballyhooed oil can chick, seems to be presaging late '60s hairstyles.

And yes, the balding dude in the rear with the traffic semaphore on his head wins the covert group-photo clown award in spades.

Deja vu

I loved this picture.

But the lass in front of the desk, looking stage right, is memorable. I think I've seen this picture before.

Then I noticed the dates of the previous comments. 2208? Surely two years cannot have gone by so quickly.

[To say nothing of the 198 after that! - Dave]

Sad to Say

So many hotties, so many dorks.

Uh-Oh Tannenbaum

That's the most bedraggled Christmas tree I've ever seen. It has more tinsel than needles.

Steamy

There are some SERIOUS sexual crosscurrents and hot vibes in this picture! Amazing!

I can't find Don Draper

Nor Joan Holloway, but this sure conjures up thoughts of Mad Men, 45 years earlier. I burst out laughing when my eyes scanned to the guy in the back with the stop and go-go item on his head! Maybe THAT is the flavor of the evening? More GO than STOP? This is the roaring 20s after all and these are certainly modern women..

Yes, this picture and your readers' comments may be my very favorites to date!

Oh great!

Shorpy is doing reruns for the holidays.

Kidding.

Merry Christmas.

2010 Interpretations

This year, I think the Black Widow has pretty much just had it with that place.

Stink-Eye isn't looking at the Black Widow. She's disapproving of something messy on the front of the desk.

Season's Greetings

Hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season, from Walter and all his friends in this, my favorite Shorpy picture.

Timeless people

Ever notice how nearly every photo of a large group, from about 1900 on, contains at least one person who looks like he/she could have been photographed in just about any decade, or just the other day? The lady by the desk behind the pretty girl with the pearls looks like a teacher at my kids' school! There is nothing about her teeth, hairstyle, makeup, etc., that gives away the fact that she was photographed in 1925 except, of course, for most of the other people in it.

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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