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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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Woman's Bureau: 1922

Woman's Bureau: 1922

November 1922. Washington, D.C. "Woman's Bureau, Metropolitan Police Dep't. Telephone calls bring prompt attention." National Photo Co. View full size.

 

What, no spittoon?

Not fair.

Cold Office

I just noticed that she is on the exterior side of that double hung window. That really makes this office uninviting!

Fish on bun, Jello and milk

She must not have been paid much. From the looks of that sassy hairnet, she had to moonlight as a cafeteria lady.

Depressing dimensions

When your office is taller than it is wide, that's not good.

The dark side of the Bureau

Ms. Mina Van Winkle, director of the D.C. Police Women's Bureau, provided this explanation to an audience in Boston in 1920: The Bureau was organized to enforce "the District's war-time legislation," but "proved so valuable as an emergency measure that it has been made permanent." In 1928 Ms. Van Winkle told a reporter that "Washington is the mecca for all psychopathic women of the nation."

The feature story explained that one of the Bureau's functions was protecting lawmakers "from psychopathic women who flock to the city while Congress is in session with wild and utterly unfounded tales of wrongs done them by prominent men. ... Due to the vigilance of the policewomen, the government officials and other well-known Washingtonians accused of serious misdemeanors often do not even know they have been involved," because the Bureau's policewomen intercept such women, sending some to "some insane asylum" and others home to their husbands, fathers, or brothers.

Nearby Places

Greetings from Bethesda, Maryland, one of those "nearby places." Which unfortunately can now take an hour or more to drive to during rush hour from downtown D.C.

Guess it's not as nearby as it used to be!

Security Fire Alarm

I love the little iron hammer on the short chain. Break the glass to get to the fire alarm button. If a prankster sounds the alarm, just follow the blood trail. If the fire is real, well, decisions, decisions.

Everything within easy reach

... except the pencil sharpener! That chair will swivel so she can easily use the books on the other table, and the typewriter is well out of the way of the writing surfaces. I've worked in worse.

Giant fingerprint faux finish

Maybe Martha Stewart will have a special on how to achieve that in your own police station.

Also, funny how this photo makes even the pencil sharpener look old-fashioned, even though hand-cranked ones are still fairly common.

Ruth Buzzi the elderly Lily Tomlin?

The large purse is absent!

Hello Central

Give me Dr. Jazz.

911 What's your emergency?

We'll have a car out there sometime this week.

One Ringy Dingy, Two Ringy Dingy

Is this the party to whom I am speaking?

Cell, Phone

If this is typical of an office in the DC Police Department, I'd hate to see what the cells in the DC Jail looked like.

Not a negative comment

Dingy, and a lot of it doesn't seem the fault of an old negative.

Washington "And Nearby Places"

What a quaint expression, that!

Call indicator box

I have an oak call box in my kitchen the same as the one to the right of the light fixture; it was once used to summon the servants to different rooms by pushing doorbell buttons. The DC police must have used this one as an intercom of some kind.

Nothin' like a hairnet

To take away any semblance of sex appeal.

So spatious and inviting

No expense was spared to accommodate the WB.

[It was an extra-spatial kind of spatiousness. - Dave]

Ergonomics

That particular arrangement is my personal idea of hell.

Hey! Fish!

If this was NY's 12th Precinct, I would expect Wojo and Fish were out on a call. Obviously they modeled the set of "Barney Miller" on this.

Behind Bar

Can't decide if that bar is to keep her in or others out. In either case, it appears one would have to crawl under it. At least she has the keys.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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