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About the Photos

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 • KEEP CLEAN WPA POSTER, 1939

High Roller: 1912

High Roller: 1912

Washington, D.C., 1912. "Borah, William E., Mrs., wife of Senator from Idaho." In a spiffy electric phaeton, sitting. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

 

Shorpy 101

I do so enjoy learning about history on this site.

Teachers should show these pictures to their students every day, and discuss the pertinent comments, which so often shed additional light on the subject.

Thank you, Dave & everyone at Shorpy, for providing such a wonderful historical resource.

Pictures are worth thousands of words!

Miss Gulch sans bicycle

Sure looks like Miss Gulch to me. After she sued Dorothy's folks for Toto's bite on her leg, she took the farm, liquidated it (as it were) and ditched her bike for this spiffy electric runabout.

Electric Cars

Aren't any new innovation. In fact they came before those run on kerosene and gasoline and the like. (The ambulance that carried President McKinley after being shot was electric.) At the turn of the (last) century, NYC debuted a fleet of electric taxi cabs! The problem then as now is battery life and that the cars are not as efficient or priced competative with internal-combustion engine ones -- which is why the government has to pay people to buy them. Besides, you have to burn something to charge the batteries. In the United States, most of our electricity is produced by coal -- and, yes, there were even "locomobiles" run on coal back in the early days of horseless carriages.

Tiller Steering

Brr! Not even a windshield (and of course no heater in an electric car). One advantage I never noticed before - you can tiller-steer a car while keeping both hands inside the warm furs.

Mary Tyler Moore I

That look wasn't seen again until "Ordinary People" in 1980, and MTM's line "Take ... the ... damned ... picture!"

Little Borah

Washington Post, Jan 17, 1976

Mary Borah, 105, Dies;
Widow of Idaho Sen. William Borah

Mary Borah, widow of Sen. William E. Borah (R-Idaho), who was once chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, died Wednesday at a nursing home in Beaverton, Ore. She was 105. Mrs. Borah had moved to the nursing home from Washington in 1966.

After her husband's death in 1940, she had continued to reside in their large apartment in the 2100 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, where she had accumulated a vast collection of oriental treasures and more than 600 statues of elephants from all over the world.

Known to her friends as "Little Borah," Mrs. Borah was always a staunch supporter of her husband's often controversial views. The senator, nicknamed the "Lion of Idaho," was noted as an isolationist who led the fight against the League of Nations. The Borahs first came to Washington in 1907 after his election to the Senate. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1936.

Born in Eureka, Calif., Mrs. Borah grew up in Moscow, Idaho. She was the daughter of W.J. McConnell, who had served as Idaho's governor and senator. She met Sen. Borah while he was a rising young Republican politician and they were married in 1895.

"Politics was my life," Mrs. Borah once said in an interview in later years. While her husband was living, they seldom took part in Washington social life.

She had contributed articles, however, to magazines and newspapers on social life in Washington and at one time was working on a book that was to include her favorite anecdotes on the foibles of Washington society.

As the wife and then widow of a famous senator, Mrs. Borah had been a guest in the White House of every President from Theodore Roosevelt though Lyndon B. Johnson.

And a mere 98 years later...

GM introduces the Chevrolet Volt, a car capable of traveling 40 miles on only the electricity in its batteries. History once again repeats itself.

Cool Ride

in several senses. It even has electric headlights!

The slush underneath the front fender, the tire chains, and bits of snow and ice by the gate on the left give a clue as to why the lap rug, and perhaps the reason for the expression on Mrs. Borah's face: "Whenever you're ready, Bill."

Freezing!

I note the chains around the rear tyres and the remnants of snow. No wonder she looks so cold and miserable. Mind you, the amount of fur wrapped around her no doubt helped.

Deborah

I forgot another clever remark by Alice. She originally pitched to her husband, also a womanizer, that they name "their" daughter Deborah. Nick balked, "Good lord, Alice 'De Borah'?" It would have been a clever inside joke.

There's a Reason She Looks Mad

Of the Senator: "He married Mary McConnell, daughter of Governor William J. McConnell, in 1895. They had no children.

By his mistress, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, he had one daughter, Paulina."

Senator Borah was a Real Piece of Work

As i look at this photo, I wonder what poor Mary's husband was up to while she waited -- and how often she waited like this while her husband philandered around the capital.

"The Lion of Idaho" was the father of Alice Roosevelt Longworth's daughter, a fact long suspected but only recently confirmed, not Alice's husband at the time, Speaker of the House Nick Longworth. A liberal Republican, Borah had been run out of town for impregnating another young woman.

He went on to oppose the League of Nations and much of the New Deal. Coincidentally, Larry Craig made mention of holding the Borah seat in his resignation (later rescinded) from the Senate after the dust-up over his apparently seeking sex in a mens room.

Seems there's something about that seat.

That Well-Known "Look"

Mrs. Borah's countenance is asking the photographer; "You can't be serious?"

 
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