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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Office Xmas Party: 1925

Office Xmas Party: 1925

        It's the Friday 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 glass negative. View full size.

 

Thought Bubbles

It would take me all day to write out thought bubbles for what I imagine is going through all those heads, but the lady at dead center seems to be thinking, "What was IN that punch? Did they repeal Prohibition and nobody told me?"

The "dark lady" downstage right is thinking, "I hope they snap that picture before I freeze to death down here on the bare floorboards. You would think the electric company would have better heaters in its own offices, but old man Pennyfarthing won't even spring for a rug to keep the draft out."

A Knockout

The woman with the pearl necklace sitting at the very corner of the desk is a knockout! She looks like a present-day actress whose name escapes me. The guy standing up and glaring into the lens at the extreme top right of the photo may very well be the Antichrist. His stare gives me chills. The guy behind him looks like an "evil character" straight out of Central Casting. This is a great photo.

Fat Chance

The corpulent boss, stogie in hand, actually thinks that removing his glasses improves his appearance. He also seems to be playing footsie with the marcel-waved cutie who inexplicably has an oil can in front of her.

What a mod hairdo!

The brunette peeking from behind the desk (right above the black purse) has such a 1960's hairstyle!

Wired

Could it be that they tapped the power for the Christmas tree lights from the ceiling fixture?

A Story in every face

This photo can inspire everyone to write a novel because there is indeed a colorful character with his own personal bio in every set of eyes. The bald guy with the candle on his head particularly stands out as one who has a complex persona but so does everybody else in the picture. Some appear depressed, some look beat up, some seem desperate. Make up your own scenarios. Personally, I used to look forward to the office parties when the most unexpected facets of co-workers' personalities would be revealed, giving us the rest of the year to talk about that until the next one. Stuffy old lady accountants and spinsters turned out to shock us the most when relaxed by a "touch of the grape". Lots of fun, too bad they have mostly been eliminated. Thank you for this blast from the past.

[That's a "GO-GO" traffic signal on Mr. Complex Persona's noggin. - Dave]

Dark Lady

Well.....the woman at bottom left certainly catches the eye. Something of a femme fatale, I think. Not generally popular with the more strait-laced ladies, like the woman two to her right who's giving her a very frosty look. The younger woman though, above and slightly to the left, is more sympathetic.

Since it's not uncommon here on Shorpy for unflattering comments to be directed at the olden-days womenfolk, let me be the first to say what a grim bunch the men are. I'll make an exception for the guy under the tree.

Just a little creepy....

Some of the looks on their faces, wouldn't you love to know what they were thinking!

 
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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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