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Media Room: 1926

Washington, D.C., circa 1926. "Home of Mary Roberts Rinehart," prolific writer of mysteries. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1926. "Home of Mary Roberts Rinehart," prolific writer of mysteries. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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What a beautiful sunroom!

Or "solarium," as it was known in fancier houses. I love the lamp with the beautiful morning glory art shade. But what is most delicious is that tasteful radiator cover.

Mary Roberts Rinehart and her husband, Dr. Stanley Marshall Rinehart, moved into that house in the early 1920s, when he was appointed to a post in the Veterans Administration. She stayed until 1935, when the stairs got to be too much for her (she’d suffered a heart attack the year before).

The house, at 2419 Massachusetts Ave NW, north of Sheridan Circle, is now the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia. The sunroom is still there.

2419 Mass Ave

Mary Roberts Rinehart lived at 2419 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Today the house is occupied by the Zambian Embassy.

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What Is it?

It doesn't look like a radio but I'm not sure what else that would be on the table. And I don't see an electric cord running from it. Would it run on a battery? And is that a fan or maybe a heat lamp in the background?

[That's the speaker. - Dave]

My room

I love this room so much I downloaded it. I want to live in there with the french doors, and comfy airy wicker, and growing things and floor to walk on and not polish, and read a few mysteries written by the occupant, who is surely still in residence. Who would want to leave!

Model 30

First will be many questions about the radio. It is an Atwater-Kent Model 30, the first AK to utilize one-knob tuning, a prime selling point. Here are a few pictures of a hulk I discovered to show what the radio becomes after 84 years.

Very nice.

I like this so much better than today's equivalent. Peaceful. Books are a nice touch. Figure the odds of seeing any books in today's media rooms.

I'll take it!

Just add it to the side of my house, please.


Principal member of the HIBK (Had I But Known) school of mystery writing, as in "Had I but known when I descended the stairs to that musty cellar ..." A very successful formula in its day.

Atwater Kent

That was an up-to-date radio set for 1926 -- an Atwater Kent Model 30, one of the first sets on the market with a single tuning dial. Typical sets had three tuning knobs, and you usually had to adjust all three to tune a station. This is a battery set but the outboard wet-cell battery is nowhere to be seen.

[This is one of several photos taken in the Rinehart house, showing the same radio in various settings. Perhaps one of the many circa 1926 Atwater Kent promotional shots in the National Photo archive. - Dave]

This is her Gutenberg page

Certainly prolific, it will be interesting to see what they are like. The Circular Staircase is supposed to be good.

Memory jogger!

Seeing Mary Roberts Rinehart's name took me back to high school in a hurry. I read several of her books then, and thoroughly enjoyed them all, though I suppose they might seem dated to me now. How nice to see a place where she may have begun to spin a tale!

Better Living

... through basketry.

That doesn't look like a very comfortable chair for radio listening.

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