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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

W.S.S.: 1917

W.S.S.: 1917

Washington , D.C., circa 1917. "W.S.S. poster." (Aha. So that's what it is!) Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

 

Puzzle Solved

That's the Belasco Theatre on Madison Place.

http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7618/

Billboard Bubbles

The billboards I see today appear to have much smoother surface than the one in the picture. It seems to have a lot of air bubbles. They must have a much better squeegee system now.

Where this is

I was able to make out some of the text on that mysterious cornerstone:

UNION OF WASHINGTON O.G.A.S ….
OF THE MEMORIAL BRIDGE WHICH IN CONNECTING
THE NATION’S CAPITAL WITH ARLINGTON SHA…

and the bottom line ends with
GREAT ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC

Construction of the Arlington Memorial Bridge didn't begin until nearly 10 years after this photo was taken, although plans for the bridge were made around 1901 or 1902. I would love to figure out the name of the theatre behind this billboard...that might provide a clue about the location.

[From a 1902 article in the Washington Post: "It is the desire of the Stone Cutters' Association that the stone be placed on government property in some prominent location, preferably on Lafayette Square." A cavity in the stone contained Washington newspapers, a Grand Army badge and a copy of the Stone Cutters Journal. - Dave]

War Savings Stamps

were sold in both WW1 and WW2 to help finance the cost of the wars. They came in 10 and 25 cent denominations, and were aimed at school children. During WW1, the Boy Scouts were heavily involved in promoting and selling them.

During WW2, you could paste them into special booklets and, when filled, the booklet could be redeemed for a $25 War Bond. I was very proud when I got that Bond, doing my kid bit to win the war.

Cornerstone

That cornerstone is pretty interesting. It appears that it is dated as 1902 (MDCCCCII), yet the picture is dated 1917. I also notice that the cornerstone edges are protected by wood cornerguards as if it getting ready to be installed, yet the billboard latticework was cut out to accommodate the stone, implying it was there before the WSS! advertisement.

Before Bonds

That was a shorthand expression for "Buy War Savings Stamps." Either that, or Microsoft Windows Sharepoint Services is older than I thought.

War Savings Stamps

Billboard for War Savings Stamps to help the war effort. I still have my War Bond given to me by my parents from World War 2.

Comedy is too easy

Shakespeare dropped his middle name when he started doing tragedies.

 
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