Monochromes: Look Upon the Beauty of an Empty Courthouse in 1941

Amy Schellenbaum

Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.


The year is 1941: Williamsburg is an eerily blank canvas to be coated in hipster garb in later decades, Charles Eames proposes via letter to his future wife and design partner Ray Kaiser, and Miami starchitect Morris Lapidus is living in a twee house in Brooklyn. That year the domestic ideal was white and pristine, and the courthouse/library of Richmond, Virginia reflected the aesthetic de rigour, with a beautiful (almost mausoleum-like) stillness and starkness. It's the kind of quietude that lends itself for some great high heel clicks echoing of the marble walls, and the kind of midcentury perfection that belongs on a Mad Men set.

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· Virginia State Library & Courthouse, Richmond, Virginia [Library of Congress' Gottscho-Schleisner Collection]
· All Monochromes posts [Curbed National]
· All Dwelling posts [Curbed National]
· All 1940s posts [Curbed National]