Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mental Hygiene

The Shorpy site has found another winner. I gather that most of their work is done by a guy named Dave, who searches out old photos from the Library of Congress and other sources. It's the kind of site that is very easy to get lost in - at least for me. There is usually an option to click on to get a hi-res pic which can offer sometimes stunning details. The pic that caught my attention on this morning's internet perambulation:

Washington, D.C., 1924. "Exhibit on Mental Hygiene." As we wash our hands, so must we wash our brains. Much poignantly straightforward signage. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

I've tried something different with this pic - instead of loading the hi-res version so that you and I can click on it (or right click on it to open it in its own window) I've tried linking it to the hi-res version at the Shorpy site. That way, you get to scroll around and have a bit of fun clicking on this and that. I do hope you'll try it, it took me a little while to work this out (Blogger moves the link to the caption unless you add the caption later.)

I clipped one of the posters on the wall; and well, this explains everything! I was a walking danger signal.

In case you're wondering how the site got such a name: it was the nickname of a real boy. He is the subject of the first photograph posted by the site, one of a series taken by Lewis Hine, whose pictures helped change child labor laws in the US.

December 1910. "Shorpy Higginbotham, a 'greaser' on the tipple at Bessie Mine, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. in Alabama. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

As the site became established, members of Shorpy's family added comments. (Shorpy shows up in four different photos.) One site visitor used the internet to see what he could find and talked to a couple of Shorpy's relatives, who were unaware of the Hine photos. He found that Shorpy died at the age of 32 in a mining accident. (If you're interested, his discoveries are posted on the Mornings on Maple Street blog.)

Some days, I really love the internet.

No comments: