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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]

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The Office: 1925

The Office: 1925

"U.S. Patent Office. July 16, 1925." Alternate caption: "Creeping clutter engulfs august surroundings." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

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What a bunch of nerds!

Central Casting couldn't have done any better.

As a matter of interest...

About 15 years ago I was researching information on a "Hushaphone" accessory for a candlestick telephone and needed drawings. All I had was the patent date (Dec. 6, 1906). I went to the patent library (there is one in every major U.S. city, part of your main library), where they keep a "stack" of those books you see on the table. I asked for the Dec. 6, 1906, book. Twenty minutes later the librarian brought me three of these -- three for one day! She mentioned the patent area being a "very large" part of the library stacks!

I went through every page of the first volume, every few pages of the second volume and was ready to pack it in when I just opened the middle of the third ... and there it was, the exact right page!

Scholarly Slackers at Work

Boss (entering from the right): "Quit making like Barney Google for the cameraman, you idiots, and get back to translating those captured German code books! Don't you realize that they might attack us again some day?"

Lost in the stacks

The "ghost" standing in the bookcase on the left looks like Ben Linus from "Lost." That show's producers are indeed quite clever and ambitious.

Creeping...or just plain creepy?

Tell that guy sitting on the left to quit staring at me! There's a ghost in the stacks right behind him but he keeps looking at me! That's it; I'm outta here.


The clutter indeed is a vast contrast to the previous photos of this same space. Interesting lift device on the left side there for moving books or papers from one level to the next between the balconies. Still a grand and majestic space despite the intrusion of those desks and the people. Vacker!

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.

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