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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Ladies Lounge: 1915

Ladies Lounge: 1915

Circa 1915. "E.M. Bigsby Co. showrooms, restroom, third floor." Another of the depopulated interiors that seem to have been a Detroit Publishing specialty. E.M. Bigsby was a ladies' clothing store on Woodward Avenue run by one Miss E.M. Bigsby. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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The spitoon

The spitoon in a ladies' lounge would be for chronic coughers. Remember that tuberculosis was still a terrible scourge in 1915.

Floor covering

What is paving that floor? If it's linoleum, it's the sloppiest installation I've ever seen, as well as the ugliest pattern. It looks like wallpaper.

[That's carpeting. - Dave]

A pinch between the cheek and gum

I suppose it doesn't matter if it's a pinch of snuff or a wad of chew, tobacco "enjoyed" in this manner probably induced the need to spit. That's something you don't see in etiquette books of the day: Polite Expectoration. Actually, I hope that's just a decorative urn waiting for its potted palm to arrive.

Fit for a Witches' Coven

Those metal claw and crystal ball feet on the table are absolutely scary! I bet the balls give off an evil glow when the ladies start hovering about their lounge. RUN!!

No privacy for the ladies

Where are the toilets in this restroom? Inside the compartments with the huge windows overlooking the street and the frosted glass panes facing the lounge?

On the plus side, it looks like they've provided plenty of reading material.

[This isn't a bathroom. - Dave]


Very un-ladylike to have such a vulgar item next to the column. And are those carbon arc lamps indoors? the light must have been beyond harsh.

[Those are gaslights. - Dave]

My! It looks so ...

echoey ... echoey ... echoey. And cold. I do like the claw-and-ball table feet.

Optical (?) effect

If you view the pic in Hi-Def, pan to the flooring and then use your mouse's scroll wheel...the pattern on the floor does some weird things...

I suspect

... that it's filled with sand for those fashionable ladies who smoke.

I Hate to Ask, but

is that a cuspidor on the floor of the ladies' room?


I wonder where they led you?

[To the second floor. - Dave]

I had forgotten

When I was a teenager a furniture store in downtown Poughkeepsie had a similar, but not nearly as elaborate, mock home setup as you have shown in this series. This was the period when the downtown areas of so many cities went into rapid decline due to the building of shopping malls outside of town. In fact, the only reason I even saw it, on a closed floor of the store, was I had been doing some maintenance work for them.

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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