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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Desk Set: 1925

Desk Set: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "Bureau of Identification, Department of Justice." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Feng Shui

Seems to me that if they just turned those two desks 90 degrees, everyone would be a lot happier.


You know it happened more than once. The poor guy in the rear left begging to be let out to use the bathroom, while the others laugh. "I'm busy Earl- use the window!" The image of him climbing up and around the cabinets makes me smile.


They can't even turn their office chairs forward - the fellow in the front left has to sit sidesaddle!

They're wasting all that space on top of the filing cabinets. The Mad Stamper guy could crawl up there with his papers and pretend it's a loft. He'd be a lot more comfortable.

Office Space

It looks like the proto-FBI was growing fast, they were jamming people in wherever space could be found. This was an era when the 'bullpen' office was still standard, everyone except the bigwigs would have their desks together in the middle of an open floor.

Drunk Woodworker

The left desk is half an inch taller than the right! Sacrilege! Oh, never mind—they're different models or manufacturers.

What, no "Brazil" comments yet?


Check out the pens and the pen holder.

Did you get the memo?

"Hey guys, this interoffice memo I just opened says they are moving two more desks and four more guys into our office tomorrow." Does anyone know if deodorant existed in 1925?

Agility Required

I can't even figure out how the guy in the left foreground gets in and out of his own seat, let alone what he has to go through to liberate his coworker.


How do they ever get any files out of the cabinets?

Justice, indeed.

Justice, indeed. This seating arrangement is a weight control program. Perhaps the Bureau of Weights and Measures would be more apt.

Bureau of Cramped Quarters

That guy in the far seat would have to get his buddy to move if he had to go to the bathroom. Somebody MUST have jammed these two desks into that end of the room just for the photo. They can't even open the lower file drawers without moving furniture.

These guys look serious!

Geez, at least we have casual Fridays and foot room in our ubiquitous cubicles, eh what! I can't imagine being stuffed into those suits for eight hours and no wiggle room. No matter, these guys were replaced by a computer. Heh.

Tight Fit

I'm way too fat to work in this office. If the guy in the back seat has to go to the bathroom, does he crawl out the window?

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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