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Looking Up: 1918

Looking Up: 1918

Washington, D.C., circa 1918. "No caption." Who will be the first to invent one? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Yes, yes, yes . . .

Yes, but who is that STUNNING woman??? Note, she's wearing spats. What a smashing outfit she has on in general.

Major Maurice Connelly

Thanks to Cliff's excellent searching, we now know that the aviator on the left was Maj. Maurice Connelly (1877-1921). Connelly served in the 63rd Congress as the representative from Iowa's 3rd congressional district, in 1912-1913. An Army aviator during the war, after the Armistice he was reassigned as an assistant to General Kenly, and was later killed in a flying accident in 1921.

Rank has its privilige

allowing General Kenly to put his (probably ungloved) hands in his overcoat pockets.

Not in my time. Some buck sergeant would have been all over me for doing the same thing.


The truth is finally revealed to onlookers as the world's tallest Scotsman strides down Pennsylvania Ave.

The definitive cutline.

The cutline for this photo, as it appeared in the Seattle Daily Times on December 17, 1918, reads as follows:

This photograph shows members of the Senate military affairs committee at a demonstration of the improved radiotelephone. Col. C. C. Culber [sic] is telephoning orders. Senator Francis E. Warren is listening in, next to him is Maj. Maurice R. Connelly, a former member of Congress, and on the left, Senator John W. Weeks. Back of Colonel Culver is Maj. Gen. William L. Kenly, chief of aeronautics. Copyright, Harris & Ewing.

Top Brass

The older officer behind the radioman is Brig. General William L. Kenly (1864-1928), the newly named Director of Military Aeronautics and briefly head of the US Army Air Service. His first assistant was Col. H. H. (Hap) Arnold, who does not appear in this photo. I think the officer standing at left is Kenly's successor as Chief of the new Air Service, then-Brig. General Charles T. Menoher (1862-1930). Here are period portraits of both.

High resolution

Well, I don't know what's happening here, but I'm impressed with the high resolution of these old photos. You can actually see the texture of the fabrics! The old (and much newer) Kodachrome of my dad never achieved this kind of resolution.

[The image area of this 5x7-inch glass plate negative is about 26 times that of a 35mm slide. - tterrace]

"Never tired, hungry or cold"

Military outside, a MPD DC officer inside.

Aviation Demonstration

To build on other comments, These officers are certainly all aviators in the US Army Air Service (one of several evolutionary names till finally arriving at the USAF in 1947). Since it is in DC, this most likely occurred at Bolling AFB, which is located within the District. As a retired AF officer, my guess would be an aerial demonstration of some sort with the officer in center in radio contact with the pilot. Probably performing heretofor undemonstrated capabilities and wanting an influential senator to witness, so he can go back to Congress in support of further development and funding. See how much things have changed over time? ;~)

High wire

"What's Houdini up to now"

The Senator is old-fashioned

Button-up shoes.

The Men in Uniform

are all US Army officers: the one with aviator's wings is a major or lieutenant colonel, the one with the headset is (I think) a full colonel, the older man behind him is a major general and the rest are officers (the hat badge is peculiar to the breed) of undetermined rank.

Unless I miss my guess, the lady is not just stylish but quite handsome. She may well feature in other Shorpy pictures.

And the faces in the windows are worthy of Hogarth.

Daredevil Audience

Perhaps they are watching the death-defying feats of Jug Reynolds.

Anybody recognize the uniforms? Are they DC police or military?

Sen. Warren Visits Army Radio Demonstration

The gentleman at center who's listening in on an Army Signal Corps wireless telephony demonstration is Senator Francis E. Warren of Wyoming (1844-1929), then the powerful Chairman of the Senate Subcommittees on Military Affairs and Appropriations. A Civil War veteran and winner of the Medal of Honor at 19, Warren was the first elected Governor of Wyoming. He then represented Wyoming in the US Senate from from 1890 to 1893 and from 1895 to 1929, where he chaired several important committees for many years. He was also General John J. Pershing's father-in-law.

Overheard in the crowd

"Keep watching, I know we'll be farked any minute."

No Way!

Faster than a speeding bullet, my foot!!!

Sign of things to come

Man on left with cigar: "You know, that air travel thing might just catch on one day".

They all said

"It'll never fly."

A Business Opportunity

The pickpockets had a wonderful time of it...

Complaint Department

Sir, he misspelled your name.

It looks like he's really angry.

Chin up, folks!

I'm pretty sure this is the line of patients outside (and inside) the office of a highly specialized chiropractor.


Does that young lady on the ladder realize she forgot to put on her bloomers?


The guy in the center wearing the headset seems to be military and it looks like he's talking to an aircraft or dirigible.

Watching the Celebration

Thousands took to the streets to celebrate the end of the Great War.
No doubt aircraft participated.

Overcast of Thousands

"Take a good look, as someday everything you know will be stored in 'The Cloud'!"

Oh! The Humanity!

I'm betting it was a dirigible. It sure looks like these folks were expecting the spectacle they're watching.

The fellow who looks like a "man on the street" reporter, speaking into a microphone, is a couple years ahead of commercial radio, but by 1918 the military and the post office were experimenting with radio broadcasting in the Washington area.

And, yes, I know this shot was taken 21 years before the Hindenburg flamed out in New Jersey.

Look, up in the sky

... it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman!


The little guy with the headphones looks like Les Nessman, WKRP Cincinnati. Oh the humanity.

If it's good enough for Chaplin

I musta told him a dozen times, "Harold!! Why don't you come up with a simple, safe gimmick, like a derby and cane!!" But nooo ...


All that hot air has finally ripped the Capitol from its foundation.

Splitting a pair of earphones

Clearly nothing new!


So that's what something falling off a fiscal cliff looks like.

High tech indeed

I'm sure they're looking at airships, doesnt't matter what type of it. One guy has earphones! And one looks like talking on a cellphone ... nope, just my imagination.


I think he spelled out ... uhm, looks like ... "Drink Moxie."


It's a bird! It's a Zeppelin! It's ... a ... what the hell is that thing?

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