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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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Modern Receptionist: 1948

Modern Receptionist: 1948

Oct. 27, 1948. "Russel Wright, 221 E. 48th St., New York City. Office with secretary." Large-format negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

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American Realism

Looks like an Edward Hopper painting.

I like it!

I'm not saying I'd want to spend a lot of time there, but I love the clean, sparse look.

Ah, Modernism

Complete with a zombie.

My Guess Would Be

She is meditating on Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness and how they relate to glass ceilings.

The Beginning

Of a whole lot of nothing. Gee, I hope it hasn't been ruined with an update.

That's no secretary

That's Mary Wright, Russel Wright's wife.

She would die three years later at the age of 47 (according to her obituary in the New York Times, "after a long illness"). She was a published author and businesswomen, and - again according to her obituary - "Founder and Secretary of America Designs, Inc."


The fake flowers don't even soften the harsh, dreary effect. You'd expect at a minimum one of those clocks that have hands but no numbers on the wall above. One wonders where such spartan design ideas came from after the lovely interiors of the 1920's--I think it started with Art Deco.

[Those are something like rhododendron leaves, and they're real. Russel Wright and his pottery were pioneers of modernism in housewares and furnishings. In color you would see a lot of "blond" wood. - Dave]

Very modern

I had no idea they had recessed lighting in the 1940's. It's very modern looking even today.

Tuesday is out.

How about Never. Does Never work for you?


It's not as bad as it looks. She has all sorts of personal needs stuff on her side of the counter, where there are shelves and drawers.

Clients and customers are just an annoyance taking up a small part of her rich day.

At 5 p.m.

She turns into an ashtray.

Ms Roboto

She activates when a client approaches the counter, then shuts down afterward to conserve power.


If he had been a filmmaker, he would've been Hitchcock.

How horrible

Must of had a high turnover of people.

Maybe it looks better

in color. But I don't think so.

Permit me to be the first

That poor woman looks like a mannequin straight out of 'The House of Wax'. What a cold, lifeless place to spend your day.

It Cuts!

Severe design with severe reception.

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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