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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Toy Story: 1925

Toy Story: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "The toy shop, 1207 New York Avenue." The former Apolonia Stuntz store (seen earlier on Shorpy here and here) where Abraham Lincoln is said to have bought toys for his son Tad, now the Lee Lung First-Class Laundry ("Bosom 6¢"). A scene so sun-dappled and languid, it's making us ... very ... sleepy. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Louis Kurtz: Presidential Bootmaker

Washington Post, Sep 23, 1923.

Made Boots for Gen. Grant.

By Byrd Mock.

How many people in Washington know that the shoemaker to President Grant still makes shoes at this little shop at 1209 New York avenue northwest?

Above the door of this battered-looking old shop is the legend, "L. Kurtz, Boot and Shoe Manufacturer," but it takes good eyes to make out the lettering dimmed with age, for the sign has never been changed or renewed since it was first nailed over the door of the cobbler's shop 43 years ago, when he moved from the old shop at 733 Seventh street northwest, where Grant, both as general of the United States army and as President of the United States, personally paid frequent visits to have his boots made and repaired, as well as to order shoes for his entire family.

At the time Gen. Grant gave his first order for pair of boots, L. Kurtz was a young apprentice to his uncle, Louis Kurtz, and it fell to the young man's lot to stitch the tops of the uppers of the general's boots and to fit them to the bottoms, which were made by his more experienced uncle.

Gray haired, horny-handed, wrinkle-skinned, almost at the end of his three score and ten, Louis Kurtz still toils. "Week in, week out, from morn till night," smiling as he sits on his low and much worn cobbler's seat, keeping a sort of jagged rhythm with his hammer strokes with which he punctuates his conversation. …

[Stories of Grant's first visit to the shop, his shoe size, "He wore a 7½ on a wide last," and visits from Grant's children. Other famous patrons: Gen. Sherman, Adm. G.W. Baird, Judge Dent, and President Mckinley.]

Before inflation

To launder a complete shirt: 7 cents for the shirt, 15 cents for the collar, and 3 cents for the cuffs - a total of 25 cents. In 1966, it cost me 25 cents to launder a shirt (with starch) in Carbondale, IL. The collar and cuffs were attached.

Rooms For Rent

I wonder how you got to your room when Lee Lung had closed up shop for the day.

Boot & Shoe Repairing

It's good to see Louis Kurtz is still going strong these 12 years later. His store hasn't changed a bit.

Looks like horsey

has a hairball.


Is that 6 cents a bosom? Perhaps a dime for the pair?

Camera Shy

The horse may be drowsing, but his groom is very aware of the photographer.

SHORPY OLD 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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