Saturday, June 17, 2017

Gladys' Photo Album: Dancing on the Rooftop at Work, 1926

Sometimes I buy things at estate sales because I take pity on them. I see them and know that they need to be in a place where someone can truly appreciate them and their historic context, rather than see them go to someone who will take them apart and sell the pieces individually online to collectors, hoping to make a huge profit.

I have nothing against resellers making a profit, but some things deserve and require better treatment than being flogged to the highest bidder.  That's why I brought home the pages from Gladys Gale's photo album from her daughter's estate sale several months ago.  I felt sorry for the crumbling black pages packed with small photos.  I didn't want to see the pages cut up and misused.  Gladys (later Gladys Uebele) has a story to tell, and it's interesting to look through the pictures and see Gladys and her friends having fun in Southern California, just before and after the start of the Great Depression.  

My favorite picture from Gladys' album shows the young adult Gladys and two of her friends, on the roof of a building in downtown Los Angeles in 1926.  Written along the side of the photo, white ink on black paper, are the words:

Day at the office  
On the roof Stewart Dawes Bldg. 1926

Underneath, it says:

Varus, Gladys, Harriet
Dancing trio

They stopped dancing long enough to pose for some additional photos, some of which include a fourth young woman wearing dark stockings (on the left in the photo below).  Perhaps they took turns taking the pictures?  This photo, below, is labeled "Irene, Varus, Gladys / See the birdie!"

The next shot is labeled "Vanity case brigade."  A vanity case was/is a portable bag or case with a mirror, used to carry makeup -- probably at least powder and a powder puff.  There are five in the picture, so I wonder if there were really five young women on the roof that day?  Stewart-Dawes was a shoe company, but I wonder if they also made vanity cases?

A closer look shows us the cases a little more clearly.

And the young woman with the dark stockings joined the brigade in another photo. 

This photo, below, is labeled "Smiling Trio."

They look like they're enjoying their break from work.

The June 17, 1923 issue of the Los Angeles Times says that the construction of the Stewart-Dawes Shoe Company building at the southwest corner of Eighth Street and Santee in Los Angeles, had recently been completed.  

Here's a link to a photo of what the Stewart-Dawes Building looked like, a little while after Gladys and her friends danced on it.

The photo came from the USC Digital Library:


Keywords: #vintage  #1926  #vintagelosangeles  #1920s  #artdeco  

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