SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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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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Elephant Bank: 1924

Elephant Bank: 1924

Washington, D.C., 1924. "Charlie Becker, midget trainer with Singer's Midgets, walked the smallest elephant of his troupe to Merchant's Bank, and made a deposit for Keith's Theatre. The elephant delivered the money satchel directly to the receiving teller." This was of course a less enlightened era, decades before the advent of cage-free tellers and free-range banking. View full size.

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1413 G Street N.W

The Merchants Bank moved into this five-story location (seen here on Shorpy) one half-block from the Department of Treasury in 1918. Like many other Washington commercial buildings of that era, its interior was designed by architect B. Stanley Simmons.

Working for Peanuts

the elephant and the bank teller.

Dirty floors

I'm always amazed to see in Shorpy photos how dirty the floors in public places were back in the '20s and earlier. Imagine any bank today having a floor that filthy, and I don't think they can blame the elephant.

Service Elephant

It looks posed to me, but it might be a service elephant. Maybe a memory aid.

Mayor of Munchkinland

He played the Mayor in the 1939 version of "The Wizard of Oz."

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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