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Photo Op: 1921

Photo Op: 1921

Washington, D.C., 1921. "Harding Cabinet group." Warren Harding, Vice President Calvin Coolidge and members of the new president's Cabinet at the White House. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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What no snipers on the roof ? Windows open and a breeze blowing through.

What A Group!

This is a pretty exceptional photo when you consider there are two future presidents, a former supreme court justice and the father of a future vice-president...not to mention the future head of the motion picture censorship board.

Wholesome Will Hays

Standing second from the left is the very recognizable Will H. Hays, President Harding's first choice for Postmaster General. Less than a year after his appointment, Mr. Hays resigned that position to become the President of the new Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPDDA), at an annual salary of $100,000 (President Harding's salary was only $75,000). Hays was so well paid because the leading motion picture industry moguls hoped that he could blunt the chaotic and costly impact of individual state-run censorship offices founded in the wake of the ironically fraudulent sex-crime prosecution of Hollywood comedian Fatty Arbuckle. The Hays Office, as it was known, was largely successful in calming national outrage by its management of the film industry's new vehicle of self censorship, the Production Code.

Lots of stories in both rows

I'll take Standing (l to r): Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior, architect of the Teapot Dome scandal; William Hays, Postmaster General, future architect of the motion picture industry's Hays Code; Harry M. Daugherty, Attorney General, ringleader of Harding's "Ohio Gang" sub-Cabinet; Henry C. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, father of FDR's Vice President, Secretary of Agriculture, and Secretary of Commerce Henry A. Wallace; Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, and future President who oversaw the Crash of 1929 and the start of the Great Depression; and James Davis, who served as Secretary of Labor under three presidents and established the U.S. Border Patrol and immigration restrictions (he himself was an immigrant from Wales, so who would know better about such things?).


It requires a certain amount of skill to sit (or stand) for a successful portrait -- the Pres and VP are, as we can see, accomplished pros. Coolidge would gamely endure thousands of such shots during his administration; Herbert Hoover, standing behind him, seems somewhat less practiced.

Da Boys

Seated L-R: John Weeks, Andrew Mellon, Charles Evans Hughes Sr., Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Edwin Denby

Standing: Albert Fall, William H. Hays, Harry M. Daugherty, Henry Cantwell Wallace, Herbert Hoover, James Davis.

Okay class, details on the above.

You there in the back

For heaven's sake, stand still. A hundred years from now, no one will be able to make out your face.

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