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About the Photos

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 • THE NAVY NEEDS YOU IN THE WAVES

Home Office: 1920

Home Office: 1920

"H.E.F. in den, 2227 Nichols Avenue," circa 1920. Herbert E. French owned National Photo, the source for so many of the images seen here. Evidently he surrounded himself with his work. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

 

Closets

The closet doors in my house (built in 1926) have the same latches.

What fun

I spent a very long time just enjoying this room. Thank you.

Roycroft and Gibson

H.E.F. was very fond of Charles Dana Gibson. The curious chair looks very much like Roycroft work, and there are what appear to be several Roycroft printed mottoes pinned on the wall, though I am not sure if "Cheer Up, there Ain't No Hell" is one of them.

Old Prints

I think I have a few of those prints high on the upper right wall. They're printed on thick stock and one says "Copyright 1903 Collier's Weekly."

Office

By the looks of the top hinge on the door on the right, it seems to have been opened quite a bit. I'd suggest it is a door to the outside.

Piped

He's a fan of tobacco. Could be a water pipe on the desk.

The mystery object

appears very similar to a mariner's or astronomer's sextant, but not exactly. Whoever comes up with the correct answer should win two autographed 8 x 10 glossies of Keefe Brasselle.

Sense of Humor

H.E.F. seems to have a great sense of humor with his walls covered in "posters" and beautiful women... he even has a prank-type of toy... seems like a modern day frat boy almost.

Yet another placard

You should be ve-ry careful, you know,
you might get interested
in your work, and
let your pipe go out.

-- James McNeill Whistler

Blam

Methinks the weapon is what was called a naval quick firing gun.

Pressed

If those were three ironing board cupboards, that would explain "There ain't no Hell." Who needs hell when you have ironing?

What is it?

What is the purpose of that object setting on the left side of his desk that looks like a tangled hose? Is it a work of art?

[Looks like a speaking tube. - Dave]

The Little Doors

I wonder if the little doors are for those built-in ironing boards we see so often in Warner Bros. cartoons. They're on an exterior wall so unlikely to be cupboards.

[Three ironing boards? - Dave]

No snake

I thought it was a snake too, hubby said no, it's a cane. I guess that would make more sense.

[Hubby is wrong. - Dave]

Slithery message to the maid

With a few changes, I could work very happily in this room.
1. Add a computer.
2. Throw out the masochistic desk chair and bring in something with a bit of pad and swivel.
3. Exchange the wood snake for a cat and a note to the maid, "Leave this room alone."

Seriously, what is the deal with the snake? Highly irregular, I'd say.

Reflection

The matted photo to the upper right of the gun photo looks to be the Washington Monument and reflecting pool. Yes?

My, My, My...

all those saucy ladies on the walls.

A kindred spirit

. . . with a love of photography and boxers. (The canine variety)

Who's there?

Above the door on the right:

Opportunity knocks daily
Usually in the morning

HEF's decor

I think some of this constitutes examples of his work. National Photo shot ad layouts -- composites of artwork and type for brochures and flyers. A lot of the printing seems to have been done by Standard Engraving. Together they did postcards, novelties and souvenirs for the National Remembrance Shops. At least this is what I gather from some of the National Photo commercial stuff that I've come across the past couple of years.

Mixed molding message

H.E. is using his chair rail as a picture rail...

No more waiting.

The "fascinating object" might be a naval deck gun, dating from the turn of the century on.

Lair of the black mamba

On the rug, slightly to the left of his chair.....is that a rubber snake?

Thar she blows!

The fascinating object appears to be a harpoon gun without a mounted projectile and rope. I'm fascinated with the Gibson prints hung overhead.

EEK!

I just saw the large snake (boa?) on the rug behind Mr. French. Wonder if it is alive.

[It's a wood snake. - Dave]

Psst! Look behind the man's seat

I think there's a snake on the floor. But is it real or is it a model?

H.E.F. style

H.E.F. was an Arts & Crafts kinda guy, wasn't he?

Show Your Colors

Herbert apparently liked this poster but wasn't so keen on the advertiser.


source: Library of Congress

The previously noted "Cheer up there ain't no hell", was copyrighted and printed by the Celebrity Art Co. of Boston Mass.

I love the bulldog print too; it looks very modern. I know its a stretch, but something about the expression reminds me of George Rodrique's Blue Dog series

Hef!

Most photos titled "Hef in Den" would have a rather different assortment of pinups on the wall.

Poster Optimism

Note the poster to the left of the door:

"CHEER UP THERE AIN'T NO HELL"

Humm, interesting!

I am waiting

I can only hope someone can explain what the fascinating object in the photo on the board might be.

 
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