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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Burro Drawer: 1912

Burro Drawer: 1912

Washington, D.C., or vicinity ca. 1912. "U.S. Army burro and cart." (The caption on the negative sleeve actually says "U.S. Army goat and cart" but I will go out on a limb and say that the fellow on the left is no goat.) View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Amazing Indeed!

You shouldn't fell too sorry for the burrito. That's how the burro keeps his strength up.

[Fun fact: "Burrito," the diminutive of "burro," means "little burro." - Dave]


It never ceases to amaze me how can such a small animal be strong enough to pull a cart, its contents, the man sitting on it, plus its harness. Someone mentioned they felt sorry for the soldier. I feel sorry for the burrito too.

It is a goat

This was a recently declassified, pre-Great War, covert operation to smuggle goats behind enemy lines by disguising them as donkeys. Taft was a clever man.

Furry donkey with a bad haircut

There's only one type of donkey that could look that ugly - the "Baudet du Poitou" from France. Today there only about 200 or so purebreds left, and at one time they were close to extinction, with only 44 known to exist. What one of these truly strange French beasts is doing working for the U.S. Army in 1912 is a real mystery. The Poitou was brought over to the US to crossbreed with other breeds of donkeys (maybe after a few beers, perhaps) to develop the American Mammoth donkey.

Be all that you can be!

The photo reminds me of a Bill Mauldin cartoon drawn during the invasion of Italy. His bone-tired soldiers Willie and Joe are working on a muddy hillside in a driving rain, building a log pathway to a latrine. One of them looks disgusted and the other says, "Quit your complaining! You're learning a trade!"

Little GTO

Maybe he got caught with the post commander's wife, daughter or son. Just thinking.

How does a guy get out of this chicken outfit? what the look on his face seems to be saying. I'd be requesting a transfer too.

The Original Tote Goat

Those carts were originally called "tote goats." Easy to assemble, they were used worldwide. Burros were low maintenance and are still a common means of transportation in places like Africa and Mexico. The Tote Goat trail bikes got their name from these sure-footed ancestors.

Fort Myer

I'd guess Fort Myer in Virginia. The duplexes look like officers' quarters.

Who has it worse?

The donkey is looking semi-miserable, but has a long thick coat against the cold. But Mr. Donkey Cart driver had to have had sore legs/butt from sitting astride the edge of the cart like that. How on earth does one get assigned to this duty!?

Government Issue

That cart looks rather makeshift for the Army. I guess this was before huge defense contracts and $1000 toilet seats. The burro seems well equipped for winter temperatures.

Wagons ho, but kinda slow

This photo gives new meaning to the term army draft.

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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