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In My Room: 1943

In My Room: 1943

January 1943. Washington, D.C., war workers at home. "A radio is company for this girl in her boardinghouse room." Medium-format nitrate negative by Esther Bubley for the Office of War Information. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Make and model of this radio

Does anyone know the maker and model of this radio?
Thanks in advance.

A moment in time now gone

Beautifully composed and evocative both of life on the US home front during WWII and the dreams and feelings of a young woman on her own.

I had a Westclox identical to that one during the 5os and 60s. It was simple, sturdy and reliable as the morning sun.

Great Moment in Time

What a great moment in time! Perfect shot. Makes me think how our grandchildren will look at our pictures one day.

In My Room Too

I'd found the clock at Goodwill before seeing this wonderful photo. Right away the clock on her radio caught my eye. Always something interesting, to be sure. Frequently unexpected too. I wish I could have known Esther Bubley.


The clock is a Westclox Spur. Built like a tank, with an alarm to wake the dead. Couldn't live without mine.

This could have been my mom

who left Lewistown, Pa., and went to D.C. in 1943 and got a job working in the Army Chaplain's office. She lived in a boardinghouse with a couple of here friends and met my father a few years later. Amazingly the young girl in this picture looks enough like my mother to pass as her or at least her sister.

Oh Frankeeeeeeeee


Radio Memories

In probably 1955, as a teenager, I bought a Zenith transistor radio. It was maroon, with a gold-colored handle that could also be used to prop it up at an angle. These were, I believe, the first commercially-available transistor radios and had just come out. It cost about $55 then.

Thirty years later, going through the Smithsonian, I saw an identical radio on exhibit.

That was the day, the moment, I began to feel old.

We had that clock

Made by Westclox -- a black face and radium green luminous numbers. I tried to do a search on vintage clocks just now but cannot find this exact one. Ingraham made a similar "Fireball radium" but this is a Westclox and I had no inkling it would be collectible when I tossed it out a few years ago.

Before television

We had aquariums.


When I was a teenager, the radio was a constant companion, at home and on the street. In the 1940s I purchased my first portable, a Teletone, for about $40. It needed an A and a B battery to power it, it also had a built in AC line cord. I bought it on layaway, 50 cents a week. In 1967 I bought a new Cadillac Sedan DeVille, it didn't mean as much to me as that radio did.

Dream Time

One of Esther Bubley's wonderful photos depicting life in the 1940's. Wartime dreams of the many working girls in our nation's capital. Esther also produced many photos of all areas of the country showing everyday life, the real drama of the time.

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