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Double-Decker: 1921

Double-Decker: 1921

"Garfield Hospital Christmas tree." Nurses at the Washington, D.C., hospital circa 1921. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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From the Second Floor

In the days when hospital patients were less mobile, being able to see the tree from the second floor was probably very cheering for the patients up there.

I wonder why the second-floor nurses look more jovial? Maybe they got to put the star on top.

Don't you know?

They took the roof off to get that tree in! It had hinges for just this sort of thing.

More miserable

I don't know which looks the more miserable - the tree or the women in front of it.

Someone forgot to say "Cheese!"

The nurses below deck seem pretty solemn, but perhaps like many nurses today they were overworked, underpaid, underappreciated - not much to be cheerful about in a place nobody chooses to be in at Christmas, or any time of the year. At least quite an effort has been made to add some festive decor.

This photo is one of those instances when it is hard to claim that "black and white is so much more dramatic!"; color was a generation away but it would have added considerable charm to this scene.

[Color photography goes back to the late 19th century. Kodachrome, the first mass-market color film, was 14 years away when this picture was taken. - Dave]

Rats Nest

In plain, flat black and white, that Xmas tree looks like a creepy, dirty rats nest - although it was very probably beautiful in real life. It's a wonder, given it's size, that they even got it in the door!

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