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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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Undeliverable: 1925

Undeliverable: 1925

July 28, 1925. Washington, D.C. "Undelivered mail of World War soldiers (crucifix in bottle)." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

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His good side?

Perhaps this IS his good side!

It's... It's...

It's an extra brain!


83 years later, and he's still taking crap from people because of something on his face that can't be helped.


Let me make sure you get my "good side"

What it is

is his lunch.


I'm wondering if this is the type of growth this man had. It looks very much like the same one a friend's daughter had on her face. At the time (1980s), the doctors were not able to treat the poor child, whose nose was as a dark purple swelling. I believe things have changed since then, but I am wondering if this gentleman was told it could not be removed and he had to live with it and the reactions of those around him.

What you see is what you get

I find it more interesting to view people as they were naturally, warts and all. No beauty poses, no facelifts, teeth that did not see braces or whitener.

At least he's not embarrassed

Many people would have refused to have their photo taken if they had that kind of "injury."

Oh, and he needs to sew that top coat button back on. It's about to fall off.

The scene in the bottle reminded me of the Monty Python movie where Eric Idle sings "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

Do it, Dave

Blow up the bump. I know you want to.

Background bin

What's that in the bin behind him - bike tires? Was some doughboy trying to ship an Army motorcycle home piece by piece?

I couldn't help myself

Small children with sticks commonly mistook the purple growth for a small piñata. This often led to savage head beatings resulting in minor brain injury. This ultimately led to his safe career as the keeper of very undeliverable mail.


While whiling away the day, I just now came up with this great new way of smuggling contraband across our borders.

There wouldn't be a lot of contraband, just enough to fit into a smaller second head protruding out of my first. No one would think to look there if it was inconspicuous enough.

Don't know what made me think of this brilliant scheme. Just came to me.

Surely Not

Tell me that is not a "happy face" on the crucified victim on the extreme left.

Charter Member....

...of the Aaron Neville "Wear Your Mole Proudly" club. I am what I am, moles and all.


Could be an evil undeveloped twin attached to his brain!!


Mole. Bloody mole. We aren't supposed to talk about the bloody mole, but there's a bloody mole winking me in the face.
I want to c-u-u-t it off, ch-o-o-p it off, and make guacamole.


That's the second worst pimple I've ever seen.

It could be

Just a nasty hematoma from a recent bump to the noggin.

Doughboy Folk Art

Hopelessly strange though it is, that crafty little Golgotha-in-a-whiskey-bottle would probably fetch a good price in a folk art gallery today. It reminds me of the comment that one of the old Christie's Asian porcelain experts came up with about thirty years ago, which he used when he had to say something nice-sounding to the proud owners of egregiously bad pieces that he'd rather not have seen at all: "You know, I really almost think that that is one of the most interesting of its type that I have ever seen!"

Don't think of elephants.

You'd think the guy, or even the photographer, would want to photograph his best side. Could it be that was it? I was so distracted, I never even thought to look at the crucifix-in-a-bottle.

Yes, yes, that bottle's fascinating

Now just turn your head a little more for the photo. Right angle for looking at the bottle and all. Thanks.

The Egg

and Eye.

Egg on his face

Holy moly. I hope he had that thing on his head checked out.


Dude, what is that on your head?

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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