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Joe Leiter: 1912

Washington, D.C., circa 1912. Joseph Leiter Sr., "capitalist, grain speculator and horse fancier." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1912. Joseph Leiter Sr., "capitalist, grain speculator and horse fancier." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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More agile than he would appear...

He just ran into the frame from the left, sliding into place. Thus the rug buckle.

All that woodwork

It's a lead-pipe cinch that the balusters were machine-made, and I'd bet the handrail and all the mouldings were too, and possibly the treads and the starting step; perhaps even the newel post came from a factory. Moulding planes were still around in numbers in those days, but the omnipresence of this kind of woodwork was made possible by machines. I imagine that a lot of handwork went into the final fitting, but that would be so today as well.

Literary Character

Leiter was the model for the main character in Frank Norris' last completed novel, "The Pit." Now that I've seen the photo, I have to dig out my copy of the book.

Tres Chick

Looks like he uses Dagwood's barber.

If they cast him in a movie...

...he'd be played by Eugene Pallette. I'll bet he even had that froggy voice. If it weren't for the subject's dour looks, this looks like it could be the set of a screwball comedy. My man Godfrey is about to walk by and fix that rug... or Edward Everett Horton is about to trip over it.

Groundhog Day wasn't just a movie!

I've suspected for a long time that Bill Murray isn't human.

Now here's more proof.

He was already 1,000 years old when this picture was taken.

Woodwork perfection

Simply amazing. That woodwork is done to perfection, no doubt with only hand tools. A house built today, with every conceivable power tool known to man, typically look like it was done by a four-year-old.

Man with a rug that doesn't fit.

Nouveau riche

I'm not Charles

Durning, I just play him on TV.

Wrinkly trousers

Didn't suits in those days come with two pairs of pants, so you could wear one while the other was being pressed?

Nice Double-breasted Vest

This guy could pass for Tony Soprano's grandfather.


Joe Sr. died in 1932 at age 63; his son was killed in a hunting accident in 1921.

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 11, 1921. -- Joseph Leiter Jr., 10-year-old son of Joseph Leiter, millionaire resident of Chicago and Washington, was killed by the accidental discharge of a shotgun while duck hunting in Louisiana.

The accident happened while he was hunting near the mouth of the Mississippi River; an unexplained explosion of a cartridge in his gun caused the discharge. The boy had accompanied his father on the hunting trip, although the father was not nearby at the time.

The slain youth, son of the man who became world famous when he cornered the wheat market in the Chicago pit, was a grandson of Levi Z. Leiter of Chicago, who founded the Leiter fortune. He was a nephew of the late Lady Curzon of England. The boy would have inherited an estate of several millions had he grown to manhood

I also wonder about the rug. But I do like the three different carving styles on the posts of the stairway banister.

Hey Yo!

He kinda looks like an older Tony Soprano!

Joe Jr.

Separated At Birth

I think he could pass for Winston Churchill's twin brother.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

It's Pappy O'Daniel!

"Shake a leg Junior! Thank God your mammy died givin' birth. If she'd have seen you, she'd have died o' shame."

Stalwart Fellow

Confident and assured with himself, but why didn't he have a rug that fit the room?

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