When my father could still speak, he would sometimes ask, “Do we really want to be a nation of bankers and shopkeepers?” By which he meant, “Do we really want to become a nation that doesn’t make things?” And, when talking about the nation of “bankers and shopkeepers,” he would inevitably mention England, a once-great manufacturing power that had allowed its amazing industrial advantages to wither away, leaving only “the capitalists,” who controlled and circulated most of the wealth, and “the shopkeepers”—everyone else—who retailed things. Continue reading
E.B. Thompson was a successful photographer active in Washington DC in the early decades of the 20th century. Thompson, who was probably born around the time of the Civil War, gained prominence around the same time as Theodore Roosevelt; indeed, the Rough Rider may have been Thompson’s chief patron. Readers may recall reading this post about Thompson’s 1899 photograph of the coffins of American war dead awaiting burial at Arlington Cemetery.
Besides documenting the political scene, Thompson created and preserved many other pictures—photographs and stereographsof everyday life in the District and other subjects of local and personal appeal. Among them was this picture of a turn-of-the-century open-air market, taken around Christmastime, as you can see.
Evidence internal to the photograph (such as the clothing and shutter speed) suggests it was taken no earlier than 1905. Prints of the original image were then colorized for sale. The color does a lot to draw us back into that earlier time.
Image: from this source.