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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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A Doll's House: 1915

A Doll's House: 1915

Circa 1915. "Room with painting of child, roses, and portiere." A room with a view, or possibly a narrative. Detroit Publishing Co. glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Who's the artist?

The picture of the young girl has a signature in the lower right corner, but I have neither the talent or knowledge to identify the artist. Any guesses?

["Farraday." - Dave]

Orient Yourself

Poor Little Rich Girl and Bink are probably right about the girl although its almost impossible to know. The girl in the portrait and the girl in the nursery are way too similar looking, especially, if these photographs were grouped together as they appear to be in the link. This is my major complaint about library cataloguing and the lack of effort by the Federal government in grouping things as they were found rather than as reordered. This is especially the case at NARA.

[As noted below, these images are grouped not "as they were found" but by their Detroit Publishing catalog numbers, which are inscribed on the negatives. The LOC Prints & Photographs division has put a great deal of money, time and effort into archiving and presenting these materials-- a collection of more than 14 million items. - Dave]

Fascinating Series.

I was so taken by the feelings and thoughts these excellent photographs gave me that I never questioned the why and where of it until other viewers did and the debate began. For myself the first tip-off was the glass windows in the "nursery", they seemed frosted to me. Then I noticed the frosted widows on the exterior shot of the store and wondered.

Nevertheless, they sure did a heck of a job: worthy of a professional with an 8x10. This has been fun, hasn't it?

Little Agnes

LOL, tterace!

What were they driving at?

I wish I knew why the photographer choose such creepy lighting for the nursery. The kid's more lurking than playing.

Since they didn't tell us, Tterrace's narrative will do.

The chair on the left

I shown this picture to my husband because of this chair. He tried to tell me that it was cast iron while I'm steadfast that it's wood. Any thoughts?

[It's carved wood (and full of undercuts, which would prevent it from being cast anything). Click below to enlarge. - Dave]

Thank you Dave! I knew you were god like. :)

Scare Chair!

That chair would terrify a child -- what with its bony feet, snarling, fighting monsters and gargoyles on each arm! It belongs in the attic or cellar!

The girl, the house

I question whether this is someone's house. This is a Detroit Publishing picture. Furniture showroom, department store model room, decorator show house might be more likely.

[Wherever it is, it's an urban setting, and at least a few stories up. The view out the windows (from these rooms as well as the nursery) is of city rooftops. - Dave]


The fireplace mantel and brickwork are clearly the same, but I don't think the pictures are before and after a renovation. These seem to be different rooms in the same house. It's clearly the house of a wealthy person: the collections, the portrait of the young girl, and the signs mentioned in other comments point to that.

It's too bad there isn't any more information in the captions from the original negatives. I'd love to know more about the girl and the house.

[Really there isn't any information, period. The caption here is, in the parlance of the Library of Congress archivists, "devised by library staff." All we have to go on are the Detroit Publishing catalog numbers inscribed on the negatives. This series of pictures is bracketed at one end by the Xmas gnome photo (043414) and the nursery photo (043415), followed by two plates of the Pardridge & Blackwell department store (043420 and 043421 -- note the gap of what might or might not be four missing negatives). The lower end of the sequence is 043411, preceded by gap of five possibly missing pictures, then a series showing the E.M. Bigsby women's clothing store in Detroit. One thing to keep in mind is that none of these Detroit Publishing pictures are someone's personal snapshots taken on a whim -- they were made by commercial photographers with big expensive cameras, for reasons that may be obscure to us in cases where the caption information has been lost or never existed. - Dave]

A Familiar Fireplace

The odd thing is that the fireplace here is the same mantel and bricks and decoration as the fireplace in the gnome Christmas photo below from the same year. Before and after redecoration pictures? The wallpaper and every other thing is different.

A Parlor Tale

Little Agnes sighed as she absently toyed with her pretty new hair bow. Visits from relatives could be such a bore. All that fuss when Uncle Henry threw his back out on that ugly wooden chair. Aunt Clara calling for a bottle of Mullen's Liniment, Uncle Henry insisting on laudanum, whatever that was. Mother in such a tizzy she nearly upset the table and all the roses. Father so perturbed by the confusion that he finally fired up the Stanley Steamer and went for a drive.

Agnes perched herself in the big wicker chair in the sitting room with her doll in her lap. The commotion was only just perceptible now that Uncle Henry had been removed to Mother and Father's bedroom for his recovery. All would be perfect but for her horrid cousin Elmo, who she knew was lurking in the parlor. Most likely, he was hiding behind those drapes, hoping to surprise her and pull her hair as she entered.

But Agnes had her own surprise for Elmo; just this week, Mother had said she was now grown up enough to have her very own pair of shears to trim her hair. And they came to a very nice, sharp point.

Follow Up

This appears to be a continuation of the tour and a follow up to the last posting. Great barrel-back chair on the left. All in all, has the feel of a display set.

Poor Little Rich Girl

The girl in the portrait has to be the same one as in the nursery! She's even holding one of her dolls though I can't make out which one.

"Painting of child"

She looks a lot like the little girl in the toy-filled nursery.

Usually, just the eyes follow you

That's not the same little girl we thought we left in the nursery, is it?

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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