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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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The Healing Arts: 1922

The Healing Arts: 1922

Washington, D.C., 1922. "Social Hygiene exhibit. House of Detention, Women's Bureau. Clinic -- Mental and medical examinations are essential in order to make intelligent disposition of cases." National Photo glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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One for Ghost Hunters?

If this photo were taken out of context, and the staining was not seen as affecting the photo itself, this could be a candidate for ghostly spirit heads imprinted on the wall looking at their possible point of departure from this mortal coil.

Eugenics and Stirrups

Involuntary sterilizations and abortions were once legally sanctioned means to toward the "intelligent disposition of cases." Considering that the Social Hygiene movement quite openly included the elimination of "racial degeneration" and "genetic defectives" among its progressive aims, there were probably quite a few unsavory operations carried out in this room.

Wonder if there were drains in the floor?


what went on in this room -- note the stirrups on the table; the stethoscope on the table; the lidded disposal can. Medical examinations (of the women in detention) were "essential in order to make intelligent disposition of cases." That is, did they have a social disease and/or were they pregnant. One wonders what the "disposition" might have been.

Even Now

I'm gonna guess that the great majority of inmates did not have even basic health care outside the Jailhouse. At least the Department of Corrections Doctor was a step in the right direction. Amazing that to this day some prisoners are getting better care than their families on the outside.

Can't help it; house of horrors!

I am sure this was typical for the time period, but I think it would make a GREAT set for a horror movie. Even the stirrups have a sinister appearance. Yikes, where's the garlic and the holy water?

I hope those spots

are on the picture, and not the sheets!


Looks like something out of a horror movie.

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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