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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

A Slippery Slope: 1922

A Slippery Slope: 1922

January 21, 1922. Washington, D.C. " 'Boot leg.' Woman taking flask from her Russian boot." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

 

Swastikas in New Mexico

When I attended New Mexico State University in the late 1970's, the name of the yearbook was "The Swastika," and the cover of every issue was embossed with a (backward) swastika. This was supposedly a Native American good-luck symbol, and had been the yearbook's name since the school's founding long before World War II. My father, a WWII veteran, and thousands like him attended NMSU on the GI bill after the war. None of them apparently raised serious objections to the name or symbol on the yearbook.

In the late 1980's the yearbook's name was changed. This has always been my prime example of the idiocy of modern academia. The real men who actually fought the Nazis had no objection to the symbol on the yearbook: It had been around a lot longer than the thousand-year Reich, and it was oriented differently. The poseurs forty years later had no historical context and fought a decisive war against a symbol. By doing so, they let the Nazi evil expropriate the meaning of the swastika.

About the same time, they also got rid of the school mascot, Pistol Pete, a cowboy with chaps and hat brandishing two six-shooters. Way to go, guys, medals all around for that courageous action!

[Talk about prime examples of idiocy. - Dave]

Nazi Floor Decor vs Communist Floor Decor

The swastika was a sign of good fortune in many cultures before the Nazis co-opted it and ruined it forever. It is still a common Buddhist symbol throughout Asia.

Also, just a gentle correction to the comment regarding the floor pattern, that "they'd have to order it from Russia." Nazism and communism are not the same thing, though many Americans unfortunately believe they are. The Soviet Union fought Nazism in alliance with the United States during World War II. Associating communism with Nazism is not only historically inaccurate, it is deeply disrespectful of the fact that 13% of the Soviet population died in WWII trying to defeat Nazism, a staggering casualty rate that dwarfs the US casualty rate of .32%. So the communists may have been many things, but Nazis they were not. Also, in the present, there are probably more adherents of Nazism in the US than in the former Soviet Union. So don't be hatin' on the Russians!

[That was a reference to the current, not 1940s, political scene in Russia. Think skinheads. - Dave]

Pass The Flask

Cankles and a well-filled boot flask. Relationship theorists clearly see the cause and effect.

A swastika tour of D.C.

Dave's example above is only one of many, some still visible in D.C. This stone is in Rock Creek Cemetery:

A bit more about it.

Twinings

I am in love. A beautiful babe, sturdy legs , and a boot flask. Where can I find me one of them today?

Two sets of

Piano legs.

What I'm really wondering is...

How surprised the owners of this place must have been when WWII broke out. "We need new floor tiles!"

Hit Parade of 1922

Ain't she sweet?
See the bottles on her feet.
Now I ask you very confidentially,
Ain't she sweet?
Ain't she nice?
Got a cape that's full of stripes.
Now I ask you very confidentially,
Ain't she nice?
She's got a chair
That's made of wicker;
She's got a pair
Of boots with liquor.
Ain't she pert?
See her hiking up her skirt?
Now I ask you very confidentially,
Ain't she sweet?

So over.

You just don't see fur stoles and swastikas much anymore. Never mind the flask-in-the-boot trick. Passe.

The Broken Cross

A venerable decorative motif in several cultures that goes back at least a thousand years.

[Below, an ad from 1910. And people complain that the Washington Post is "too liberal"! - Dave]

Poor Thing

Obviously, by her attire, the poor woman is cold and needs a little fortification to boost her circulation.

A Wonderful Piano

That is an Ivers and Pond piano of the 1918--22 vintage. a truly fantastic instrument that would be worth well over $10,000 now if in good shape or restored. I have two friends who have them and a number who are searching. Only Shaw, Steinway, Anderson or a Steiff (the brand I have) could match or excel that quality. They are noted for exceptional structural integrity and were made in Boston.

Hand Laid

The floor was probably laid manually tile by tile. I'm sure you could still do it if you had time, patience, skill, the right tools and whatever else it takes. Probably why you don't see that sort of thing anymore.

Once again . . .

. . . those naughty little swastikas appear out of nowhere!

Kinsmen Club

Looks like the photo took place in a Kinsmen club hall given the plaque and charter framed above the piano.

[Those are Kiwanis Club plaques. - Dave]

Floor Decor

For some reason it's almost impossible to find that pattern at Home Depot anymore. They'd have to order it from Russia.

 
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