It’s easy to relate to the first three words in the original caption for this photograph from the Harris & Ewing Collection: Initiative needed here. Whether it’s capturing a larger-than-life subject like the Capitol police officer below, or tackling the scanning and cataloging of thousands of fragile glass negatives, we can all agree that initiative is just one of the required tools for getting a big job done!
“Initiative needed here. Washington, D.C., June 3. Initiative was certainly needed when Clarence Jackson, diminutive news photographer, was sent to get a closeup of policeman Edward F. Brown, 6 foot, 9 1/2 inch arm of the law who guards the entrance to the Senate cloakroom at the Capitol. Jackson got the picture even though he had to resort to a desk to get on speaking terms with the huge policeman.” Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1938 June 3. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.24695
Earlier this year, nearly 16,000 new scans of glass negatives were added to the Harris & Ewing Collection, which now offers over 41,000 photographs of the people, events and architecture of Washington, D.C. between 1905 and 1945. The Harris & Ewing Collection features images of life in the capital city, ranging from politics to sporting events, aviation to tourism, military activities to society events, to name just a few. Portraits and group photos are also common.
Enjoy a small sampling from the collection below:
“President gets Xmas fruit cake. Washington, D.C., Dec. 19. Brig. Gen. Edwin Watson, a Presidential Secretary, accepting for President Roosevelt a fruit cake from Miss Mildred Cook, Secretary to Rep. A.J. Elliott of California. The cake is a gift from W.C. Baker of Ojai, Calif., who has baked cakes for the White House for the last 17 years.” Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1939 December 19. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.27837
“Don’t want smokestacks, Wash. D.C. These two 150-foot tall brick smokestacks on the mall in Washington, D.C. were considered an eye sore and ordered demolished. This picture shows one toppling. The other fell shortly thereafter. They first were erected when a central heating plant occupied the site.” Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1935 September 17. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.39414
“First of fair sex to obtain motorcycle license in Capital. Washington, D.C., Sept. 15. Although she weights only 88 pounds–one-third of the machine she rides, Mrs. Sally Halterman is the first woman to be granted a license to operate a motorcycle in the District of Columbia. She is 27 years old and 4 feet, 11 inches tall. Immediately after receiving her permit, Mrs. Halterman was initiated into the D.C. Motorcycle Club – the only girl ever to be accorded this honor.” Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1937 September 15. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.23371
“The Bam still a favorite. Washington D.C. July 7. Although out of baseball for the last few years, “Babe” Ruth still retains his popularity with the millions of baseball fans the country over. With Mrs. Ruth the “Babe” is shown autographing a ball for an admirer at the All-Star game today at Griffith Stadium.” Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1937 July 7. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.22986
“American Legion pays tribute to one of their buddies. Washington, D.C., Nov. 11. Scene at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier today as the American Legion paid tribute to one of there [update: i.e., their] buddies in solemn Armistice Day ceremonies. Stephen Chadwich, National Commander, is pictured placing the wreath.” Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1938 November 11. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.25360