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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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Emily Greene Balch: 1920

Emily Greene Balch: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Miss Emily Greene Balch." Recipient, in 1946, of the Nobel Peace Prize. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Dowdy Beauty

She has the penetrating gaze of one who has earned the right to wear dowdy clothes. Not that it's a crime to wear dowdy clothes. In fact, some days, I'm convinced it's a badge of honor.

I knew she looked like someone I'd admire, even before I googled her.

That Hat

What it cries out for is a single droopy daisy.

What a life!

I'd never heard of this woman, but after reading her bio (link is in Yooler's post) I'm sitting here with my jaw hanging open. How many people accomplish a tenth of what she did in one lifetime? (Answer: Very few.) I've got to submit this now so I can get busy and start doing something to justify my time here on earth. She sure did.

Beautiful Woman

in charge of her own fate. I'm rhinking her hair drops nearly to her waist. I'm in love with her. Good woman to have on your side.

Ms Greene Balch

Prim would be an upgrade.

Every picture on Shorpy tells a story

The one this photo tells is remarkable. I love to find the back stories behind the shots, and this portrait of Miss Balch is remarkable.

What a remarkable woman this was! She'd been active since the 1890s, and very involved with the formation of the League of Nations. She'd even gained fame by being fired by Wellesley, where she had tenure, for her pacifist activities! She then becaame editor of The Nation.

So it's possible that one of the directors of numerous script writers/contributors might have been making a specific reference to an officious single female "townsperson" who thought she knew better than everyone else what was necessary for the good of a community.

She was a wonderful woman. Thank you for introducing her to us.


What gravitas. I bet she could stop traffic with that look. The hat is ... shall we say, incongruous?

If I had

her intelligence, her energy, her dedication and moral clarity, I would more than happily take her looks too, which are after all very handsome. And she lived to be 94 so presumably pretty healthy too.

Do take a minute to "Google" her - a very interesting woman and a very interesting life.

The styles were against her

The dress and hat aren't flattering -- by the 1930s styles and lines were much simpler and she looked much better, in a severe way.

One of the Best

Born to privilege and gifted with a sharp intellect, she possessed a deep empathy for the poor and a hatred for the slaughter of war and the inherent oppression of women's rights and racism. Miss Balch spent her life striving to eradicate those evils.

What not to wear, 1920 edition

She would look a lot better if she were a bit more fashionable; I bet that even in 1920 those clothes were pretty dowdy!



Beauty is in the eye of the Prize Committee

Any of you guys who've won a Nobel are allowed to comment on her physicality.

No? Don't have one on you? Then shut yer piehole. For crying out loud. Get to work on your own face.

Auntie Matter

Scenario: Emily Balch and Inez Thomas cross paths in the studio that day. They shake hands. Blinding flash of light -- mutual annihilation ensues, with only a few quarks and leptons left to tell the tale.


She looks like one's maiden aunt.

My Beautiful Wickedness

Miss "Balch?"

You mean, Miss "Gulch?"

An activist for peace and a Nobel woman

Still a young woman at the time (just 53!), she lived well into her 90s after winning the Nobel at age 79.

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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