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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PUEBLOS OF THE SOUTHWEST

Rules of the Sale: 1920

Rules of the Sale: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Conbro clothing store, interior." Happy shopping, everyone. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

 
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Mystery Solved

CONBRO Clothes, which was located at 930 F Street NW, was next to the Metropolitan Theatre. It appears to have been in business for approximately one year with advertisements for the store starting to surface in local newspapers in December 1919. This store was managed by Jack H. Koppelman. A fire at their warehouse at 116 E Baltimore Street, in Baltimore, Maryland, preceded the sale scene shown in the photo here and in the sale announcement below from the Washington Times on August 4, 1920. No date for the fire was given in the other ad.

Conbro claimed there were a total of 10 stores in the chain, but no details of other locations were provided. Possible locations, culled from multiple sources, seem to have been Pittsburgh, Akron, Indianapolis, Flint, and Detroit.

A week's pay for a pair of pants

I was surprised by the prices as well. This illustrates how much we would all likely be paying for clothes right now if they were all still made in the USA.

Alterations

Well of course you could get alterations, but they're not included in the sale price.

"Sale" prices?

Wow! For a clearance sale, these seem lofty for the time!

Today, that $24.44 suit (or jacket?) would cost $262, using the Consumer Price Index, or $1350 (!!) using GDP Per Capita, an estimate of "affordability."

Re: "free alterations"

I take that back. After further scrutiny, I see ONE "battle-axe" facing the camera who IS going to have a voice in her man's attire. She's wearing earrings and a turned-up brim. Sorry.

And free alterations too!

A couple of the salesmen have tape measures around their necks so they can make the clothes fit perfectly. This looks like the wedding gown sale at Filene's except they are all men and it may be a summer clearance since they are wearing straw hats. Imagine, not a single domineering wife or girlfriend is visible in there to tell her guy what to wear.

[It's spring ("spring suits," palm fronds). - Dave]

 
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Shorpy.com | 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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