Insurance Office, Albuquerque, 1897

Two men in suits sit in wooden rolling chairs in front of open rolltop desks. A dog sleeps in front of the stove. Framed pictures, documents, and advertisements hang on the walls from wires.

Selling insurance, 1897 Albuquerque style. The New York Life Insurance office was located in the N. T. Armijo building, on Second Street just north of Central Ave. It’s an interesting look at an office of the time—the rolltop desks packed full of papers, the wooden swivel chairs on rollers (I had no idea they existed back then, but it turns out swivel chairs were invented by Thomas Jefferson in the 1770s), and the stove with its long pipe. The carved doorframe is still a familiar sight today in many Albuquerque homes and buildings. And of course, no office is complete without a small dog napping in front of the stove. This photo is one of a series taken by William H. Cobb of Cobb Studios in Albuquerque.

Image Source: "New York Life Insurance office, Armijo Building, Albuquerque" (PA1990.13.73); digital images, "Albuquerque Museum Photo Archives," The Albuquerque Museum, Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, New Mexico Digital Collections (; crediting "William Cobb, Cobb Studio."