Back to the “Office”?

Looking back on what work environments and offices of the past looked like.

By J Blomqvist

New York magazine recently featured a story entitled “Remember the Office?” It was a retrospective on office life with pictures from New York from the 1950s to the present. It got me thinking about office life in DeKalb County. Since 2020, when COVID-19 hit the scene, many people left their offices and began working from home. Or from the parking lot with the good wi-fi! This photo essay shows some of what “office” life was like in DeKalb from the 1930s and on. From the buildings to the office furniture to the workmates and the office parties, office life may not be the same as it once was, for better or for worse. Whether your “office” is a cubicle,  a classroom, a cash register, or a construction site, we can reminisce and remember…

office blog post

First National Bank, circa 1960s, unidentified woman
First National Bank collection- 2002.93

DeKalb County administrative building, January 2, 1986

DeKalb County administrative building, January 2, 1986
Joe Lee collection- 2011.29

DeKalb History Center archives

DeKalb History Center archives, 2019
Photo by J Blomqvist

first-national-bank-decatur-resized

First National Bank, Decatur, circa 1960s
First National Bank collection-2002.93

typewriter-resized

Typewriter used by the Decatur City Clerk, Mrs. Mortie H. Christian.
From the DeKalb History Center collection-1997.2

dekalb-county-board-of-health-resized

DeKalb County Board of Health, ca. 1937, Clairmont office
DeKalb History Center photo collection- DeKalb Health Department, Clairemont

research-and-development-office

Research and Development office, DeKalb County- 1975
From the Joe Lee Collection- 2011.29

clocks-being-repaired-resized

Clocks being repaired, 2000
From the DeKalb History Center collection

check-writer-resized

Check writer; Before computers, checks could be created with check imprinters, which added security, since payroll checks could not be made without the machine.

Blue steel check imprinting machine, with vinyl cover
Royal F&E check protector
Sign-O-Meter and dater

From the DeKalb History Center collection- 2011.20

guy-hayes-unidentified

Unidentified worker, location, specific year; collection features photos from 1940s-1970s
From the Guy Hayes collection- 1984.304.3309

unidentified-typewriter-resized

Unidentified worker, location, specific year; collection features phots from 1940s-1970s
From the Guy Hayes collection- 1984.304.4955

sgt.-emily-west-resized

Sgt. Emily West, no specific year; collection features photos from 1940s-1970s
From the Guy Hayes collection- 1984.304.7282

What was office life like for you? What do you miss about it? What do you NOT miss about it?

Contact DeKalb History Center