SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

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]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Office Xmas Party: 1925

Office Xmas Party: 1925

        It's the Tuesday 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 92 years now. Will Clarence in Sales ever get up the nerve to ask out Hermione from Accounting? Is there gin in that oilcan? Ask the bear.

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.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

It was ninety years ago today ...

... and the photo never ceases to give.

Must have been a heck of a party

All the way in the back is a tall bald man with a traffic signal on his head! That's better than a lampshade. The body language between the woman on the far left and the woman to her right who is glaring at her is really very sad. You wonder what sort of ugliness was going on behind the scenes. The lady looks like she's been crying a bit. Who knows. It's fascinating to see such a candid photo none the less.

Tough Day At The Office?

The best part about these office parties are the grab bags. It's always the best way to regift. Other than that, I hope Dave, Ken, tterace and all our outstanding commentators and readers have a wonderful holiday and a healthy prosperous New Year.

Re 2%, and Raise your glasses

I think glasses were considered unattractive. I remember lots of members of this generation (my grandparents') or the next who would whip off their glasses whenever someone raised a camera.


Shorpy's annual "Office Xmas Party" has arrived! There's my guy standing in the back row, far left still waiting for me. Swoon.

Happy Holidays, Shorpyites!

And thank you, Dave, for all that you do.

I have to ask

Does "Office Xmas Party" have the largest amount of comments?

[That record might be held by Our Lady of Lourdes School. Another much-commented post was The Beaver Letter. - Dave]

Wee fish, ewe, a mare, egrets, moose

... and a hippo gnu year!

Roaring Twenties!

Thanks for this flash-back, Shorpy!
Love the very mysterious Lady on the left...
and still dislike that pompous guy with the cigar.

Hours and hours

I, like so many others here, have spent hours with this image. I'm always drawn back to the woman in the lower left. She's always struck me as the office outcast trying to get out of the picture. The woman to the right of her, with the lace collar, looks like her boss giving her the stink eye for not participating.

Threadbare Boughs

Now I know where Charlie Brown got his tree. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks again!

This is now my official notification that the Xmas season has begun. The Office Party re-post.

One must wonder

if oiling the bear will make the Yuletide bright?

Modern Woman


Do they know?

The standing gal, 3rd from the left, and the kneeling gal (center and one row back) both have the same necklace on (7 little cascading chains ending in a pearl). I think that the boss-man, J. Edgar Hoover (on the right with the cigar), is having an affair with both of these gals and he gave them both the same necklace. He thinks it's really funny and smiles when he sees them together; his own little private joke! I wonder if the gals know and are just playing him for whatever they can get? We will never know for sure.

What's with the oil can?

I understand the Teddy Bear and little house in the front of the photo. But what is the significance of the Christmas Oil Can?

[Yet another beloved Christmas legend inspired by this photo. -tterrace]

Merry Christmas Shorpyites

Merry Christmas to one and all, fans of the photos posted in Shorpy. Thanks to Dave and everyone who helps out with the site.

I hope the new year is good to all and everyone will be back next Christmas to view Xmas Party.

I've been a member for 3 years, 2 days and anonymous for several before that I think.

Glad for Trad

It's truly a fun Shorpy-looker tradition to view this pic large and spend an hour time traveling and reading the comments. Hope everybody had a Groovy Solstice yesterday. Happy Holidays!

Time for a Shorpy Xmas party!

I think we are overdue to have one where we all meet and discuss THIS picture (because with 150 comments, we clearly have a lot on our minds about this W.E. holiday soiree).


I had to do ctrl-f for all three pages, and I'm amazed that no one to date has identified J. Edgar Hoover standing in the front row, cigar butt in hand, between vest-and-watch chain guy and three-piece suit guy. I can't believe I didn't notice him when I first commented three years ago.


I can almost hear Tevya, singing the song in "Fiddler On The Roof", but not quite. It is of course the Holiday Season, office parties and good will to men and of course women. It is time for us Shorpy Junkies to wish each other the best of the season. Good health, prosperity and peace to all. Thanks to our Hosts Dave and Ken and to our interlocutor terrace for their grand efforts.


Thanks for posting again, this is one of my favourite pictures on Shorpy. Some odd Barnets going on with some of the women though...I'd love to know if there was a gramophone at this party and if so, what the playlist was.

Dean Norris

Ah, it wouldn't be Christmas without this delight from Shorpy!

The guy behind the big boss's left shoulder looks like a sightly younger version of actor Dean Norris. According to IMDB, Dean Norris was born in 1962 or 1963, but if this post on Shorpy is any guide, he's at least 100 years old. Is he pretending to be younger than he really is? And what's the secret of looking so young?

Sic transit ursus

I love the Shorpy Christmas party! This guy still startled me when I spied him on the floor, despite the fact that I commented on him FIVE YEARS AGO.

Hair dressers

Who did the hair styles back then, terrible......

Hey, long time listener, first time caller!

I wonder if camp Pierce Brosnan (top row, far left) found the Ion Deptartment accepting of his flamboyant wonderfulness.

Times they don't change

The women definitely place this picture in time by their clothes and hair. The men, especially the back row, center in photo, remind me of my father's photos of the late 1950's. It's all quite timeless.

No one seems to have noticed

but the shy guy in front of GO GO is none other than Irving Berlin, on a guided tour of the Western Electric facility and already evidencing the reclusiveness of his later years. At uppermost left, we have the mustachioed miscreant looking disdainfully at those beneath him, which is everyone. And finally, we have Grishkin at lowermost right, a rather handsome woman whose lean and hungry look hath a troubled aspect not customarily associated with holiday gatherings (apart from those with family members present). She seems to have wandered in from one of those Russian plays that Ira Gershwin makes reference to.

All of which can only mean one thing - it's Christmas time here at Shorpy's. Greetings and salutations to all!

White Elephant Gift Exchange

I going with a White Elephant Gift Exchange for an Office Christmas Party. It explains the goofy gifts and the attire. Some of the exchanged presents still have tags on them.

Tales from the Jazz Age

I'd like to take a crack at imagining who some of these people could be --

Oil Can Girl (seated at bottom, center) - Never turns down a chance to cut a rug at a speke. Very generous with the contents of her hip flask, which in a pinch can supply fuel for her sometime-boyfriend’s Hupmobile.

Desk Girl (seated at bottom, left) - Staring intently at a winged, two-horned leopard and wondering if she should jump up and scream at everybody to run for their lives.

Lace Collar Girl (two left from Oil Can Girl) - Wondering why Desk Girl is staring so intently at the office kitty-cat.

Time Warp Girl - (immediately above Desk Girl) - Up until a few weeks ago was a liberal arts major at an Ivy League university in the year 1969, then stumbled through a time portal into 1925. Decided to stay and get a job because, well, things are a lot less crazy here.

Starlet Girl - (above and to the right of Time Warp Girl) - Avid reader of Photoplay, Picture-Play, Screenland, Movie Weekly, Movie Mirror, and lots more. Passionately believes that her good looks could bring her fame in Hollywood, if only she could manage to stop tossing money away on magazines and save up for the train fare.

Hat Girl (immediately above Starlet Girl) - Took a few slugs from Oil Can Girl’s hip flask, now having trouble remembering her name.

Trashed Girl (immediately to the right of Hat Girl) - Took even more slugs from Oil Can Girl’s hip flask, but still conscious enough to realize that if she stops leaning on the girl below her, she’ll tumble to the floor.

Handsome Guy (standing in the back, left side, farthest left) - All the office girls have swooned over him at one time or another. Been engaged six times, but it always breaks off when he tells his bride-to-be that his mother will be living with them.

New Pretty Girl - (third from left, standing) - Just started work this past month. Soon to be Handsome Guy’s next ex-fiancee.

Wow, this is way too long already. Anyway, you get the idea. This is fun!

This photo

is what prompted me to make an account on Shorpy. The first thing that jumped out at me was, is that a man in drag standing with his hand on the young lady's shoulder? The lady in question looks a bit like Drew Barrymore.

I noticed the indentations between the eyes of many of the men, and realized that they did take their glasses off for the photo, to minimize glare. No featherweight lenses in those days!

Colorized Version Hidden in Plain Sight

Check out for colorized version in Colorized Photos by members. Dave, do I get a prize for finding it?

An Evocative Photograph

The romance of old photographs is especially powerful in a picture like this. Studying the faces of what we assume are long departed strangers, we can't help speculating about the nature of their inner lives and how things turned out for them. Who ended up married to someone who made them happy or miserable? Which one(s) got ahead and who descended into poverty? Who died young - and so on?

With hindsight we know that only a few years after that Christmas party in 1925, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Then World War II winnowed out a great many - how did this group of individuals make out through all those difficult times? There are many such questions which occur to the curious.

This is an extraordinarily evocative photograph. The transience of everything is plain to see in this picture if you notice such things.

Love this photo....

Like so many of you, I love it when this photo is trotted out! We are so drawn to it and love imagining what this party must have been like, the silly little gifts, the party girls, and those who just wanted it to all be over with so they could get back to work.

Each year I am struck by the lady behind the one in the striped blouse. She looks like she could have been in my high school annual from 1970. Yes, I dated myself there! Her hair style looks like it could have been from the 1970's, unlike her co-workers with their many finger waves. Keep posting this one, Dave....truly a classic!

Lots of single women in that office

No wedding rings on almost all of them. Perhaps a woman worked until she got married, or at least until she had children - and then she was sequestered in the kit home built in one of America's booming trolley suburbs.

It must have been a major change for these ladies to go from office life, with its daily human contact and pleasures (such as this office party) to a few rooms, kitchen and nursery figuring predominantly. My grandmother still reminisced proudly about her work as a lawyer's assistant in the 1920s, way back before she got married, had three children, and spent most of her time in the top floor of a Boston triple-decker for the next 20 years.

Every year

Every year when I look at this, I think the same thing: do all those dames hate Desk Woman for the same reason, or different ones?

Party Time

The office parties and associated grab bags were created to give us all a chance to regift.
Allow me now to wish all of our Shorpy viewers, creators and commenters a very happy Holiday season. Let us all be well, prosper and keep returning to this wonderful site.

Could it be?

I've looked at this photo for three Decembers now, and I just noticed that the girl sitting behind the girl with the striped blouse, and how much she looks like she could be Johnny Depp's great-grandmother.

Raise your glasses

I'm sure one of our more knowledgeable posters might know better, but I wonder if glasses were removed to prevent unwanted flash effects?

What's Left To Say?

Besides their clothes and hair dos, two things that I’m glad have changed: The way Christmas trees look and protective coating for hardwood floors. And I’m guessing they had a White Elephant gift exchange, thus the whimsical gifts.

Re 2%

The cigar smoker on the right in the three-button suit and the gent on his right both are holding eyeglasses, all the more to ratchet up their smashing good looks. Well, maybe just looks.

The Girl with the Curl -- and the candy cane.

There once was a girl
with a pretty little curl
right in the middle of her forehead
When she was good
She was very, very good
and when she was bad
she was even better!

My cue

I don't even start listening to Christmas music until I see this picture reheated. It's a classic.


Of the 47 people in the photo, only one is wearing glasses. Did the Ion Department require perfect vision of its workers?

Is there anybody out there?

Surely one of these people in the photo has a living relative (great grandkids, grandkids, etc) that might be able to shed some light on this photo.

Naughty or Nice?

This oft-repeated photo is starting to remind me of the traditional holiday tune by Eric Cartman (of South Park fame) singing about the Swiss Colony Beef Log; irreverent but fun.

What's printed on that document?

Dave, can you zoom in on the piece of paper being held by the guy kneeling in the center, right in front of the tree? It's almost as if he's trying to show it to the camera. Thanks!

Just a something something
You and Yours
A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year
Division Four Office

The face that could sink a thousand ships

The guy holding the cigar, oh man I want to punch his face!

The other 13

I have just spent an extremely enjoyable hour reading all the comments reaching back to 2008. Of the 47 people in the photo, 34 have been commented on. So what about the other 13? Six guys in the upper left have been ignored, plus seven gals in the pack. The most prominent of the abandoned baker's dozen are, to my mind, the two women standing side by side, closest to the tree. Both have bead necklaces: one tucked in, one on the outside. They seem neither hot nor cold, neither suicidal nor drunk. The two of them actually look (dare I say?) like really nice people.

Worth a second or third look

There are some half dozen ladies in this photo. Like the one right behind the corner of the desk, with the chevron shapes on her dress and the one directly in front of the door on the left that are definitely worth seeing again.

Merry Christmas Shorpyites!

NOW it's the holiday season...

..when Shorpy breaks out this holiday classic! I wonder what pop-culture figures of the past year will be likened to our hard-partying crew?

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2018 Shorpy Inc.