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Bathing Is Compulsory: 1922

Bathing Is Compulsory: 1922

1922. Washington, D.C. "Women's Bureau." The House of Detention display at the Social Hygiene exhibit. National Photo glass negative. View full size.


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I have to love that one poster uses "employe", the old alternate spelling of "employee" without the double-e at the end. I worked for GM for many years and they steadfastly adhered to that spelling until the mid-late 1990s. People used to joke about some bean counter having figured out that they saved money by dropping the extra "e".

[Other examples can be found here when you click "quotations." - tterrace]

Segregation as Hygiene

One of the "truths" in segregation was that even the dirtiest white man was cleaner than the cleanest black man. It served to bolster the superiority of whites over blacks.

Ohio Avenue NW

The Juvenile Detention Home seen here on Shorpy as it appeared in 1922. Located in the infamous "Hooker's Division" neighborhood south of Pennsylvania Avenue and just east of the White House, it was torn down along with every other building in the surrounding area to make way for development of the present day Federal Triangle.

Segregation in the small print

This being Washington DC in the 1920s, there is, not surprisingly, racial segregation in their model prison. The center panel on the top depicts a "White Girls Bedroom" next to a photo of a "Colored Girls Dormitory."

Don't mess with her

The head of the Women's Bureau was Lieutenant Mina van Winkle (1875-1932) who seems to have been a very formidable woman,a leading suffragette in New Jersey she became head of the Bureau in 1919. Among her once controversial ideas, such as not jailing prostitutes but instead treating them for 'social diseases' is this gem from 1925.


We often forget how Southern Washington DC was- white girls get bedrooms and colored girls get dormitories and we are assured that the restrooms are segregated as well.


"Clients are requested to notify police of any friendless, homeless or incorrigible boys and girls"

So if you were a shy kid with no friends, the police would come get you? But at least you'd get your own bed, and wouldn't have to share, I guess.

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