Sepia Saturday – Desk Shots

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

Sepia Saturday 606 : Office Worker

I couldn’t find many photos of my people working at desks, but I found a couple of newspaper clippings – both used more as advertising than informational.

The first is my mother, taken in 1951. She must have been a newlywed when this was taken as she and my dad(Jerry) married in July of 1951. I have heard that my parents first met when my father went to the bank seeking a loan. Unfortunately, the clipping doesn’t include the name of the bank in Ottumwa, Iowa.

The next newspaper clipping is of my mother’s older brother, Albert, at Union Trust and Savings in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. My cousin thinks this was the mid 1960s while she was in elementary school. Her mom, Al’s wife, remembers that there was a drive-up bank in the Crossroads mall area when he was hired to manage it. At the time it was only a drive-up with a tiny walk-in lobby in addition to the drive up and a tiny office with a small desk, chair and not much else. It was several years later that the full bank was built and that picture was taken just before the grand opening and open house. She remembers this as a good time for Al as he had worked hard to bring in new customers.

I thought it was interesting that I had two clippings of siblings working in banks in different towns, in different years, with the clippings being more of a human interest type of advertising.

When I asked my cousin, Al’s daughter, for any information she knew about the photo, she also pondered this question: My mother would have sat at a desk a lot more than my father did, but where are all the pictures of secretaries?! At least one of the businesses for which my mom worked would have failed very early on had it not been for her, I think. Not sure that she would agree, but I think she was vitally important for a small city one-man show led by a guy who was new to the city.

This is my late contribution to Sepia Saturday this week. Take a seat at your desk and see what others have prepared by clicking here: Sepia Saturday.

6 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Desk Shots

  1. Both excellent choices to match our theme image. It’s interesting to see how a “desk job” has evolved. I happen to have a 1890s photo of a well-dressed man seated at a roll top desk with a pen at hand ready to dip into an inkwell. In that era it was the ultimate tool of any businessman. Later a typewriter, like the one your mother has, became a recognized symbol of office workers. I remember my high school offered classes in key-punch operator. What happened to them? In 2022 I doubt any bankers would be photographed with piles of paperwork at their desk like your uncle. Now it’s always clean and neat with maybe two computer monitors..

  2. Gee, I didn’t even think of office desks and I had a perfect picture of mine being moved when our dept. was switching places with another. Oh well. I’ll save it for another time. Meanwhile, you shared excellent choices. The one of your Mom at her typewriter is great. 🙂

  3. You mum seems to have held a senior position for a female in 1951! In Australia, I understand that a woman was no longer allowed to work in the bank once they were married!

  4. Nice desk family photos.
    I wonder how many banks there were in that city in 1951? And how many newspapers that would have carried the photo. Often the relatives don’t include the name of the paper or date in their saved clippings I have found.

  5. I learned to type on my dad’s old typewriter when I was in my early teens (late 1960s). In 1975-76 I went to secretary school and we still used manual typewriters, taking turns at the one electric machine in the classroom. In my first job after that I learned to operate a telex-machine… Super-exciting 😉 Who’d have thought that later in life I’d have my own laptop, tablet and smart-phone!

  6. I am impressed by these photos — and even more by your mother being secretary to a Women’s Credit Club. How innovative at a time when it was hard for women to get credit in their own name. My mother, who was probably the same age as yours, did not have her own credit card until after she retired as a school music educator, when she needed one for travel to Music Association meetings around New York State. Your mother was definitely ahead of the curve!

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