new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Debs at the Hotel Harrington: 1921 | by Washington Area Spark
Back to photostream

Debs at the Hotel Harrington: 1921

Eugene Debs, along with supporters and news reporters, poses for a photograph in front of the Hotel Harrington at 11th & E Streets NW December 26 or 27, 1921 after his ten year sentence for speaking against World War I was commuted.


The group includes Celia Rotter of the Debs freedom conference; Lucy Robbins of the American Federation of Labor and the Debs freedom conference; along with a number of newspaper reporters.


Debs, the great labor and socialist leader who ran five times for U.S president, had been released from the Atlanta penitentiary Christmas Day and headed to Washington, D.C. to call on Attorney General Harry M. Dougherty and President Warren Harding who had commuted his sentence.


Debs joked that “I’ve started for here four or five times (to the White House), but this is the first time I ever landed,” (referring to his five times running for President).


After a day and a half in the nation’s capital, Debs headed home to his wife in Terre Haute, Indiana.


Debs was known for organizing the American Railway Union, one of the first industry-wide unions in the U.S. and leading the unsuccessful Pullman Strike.


He was the greatest socialist in the United States, garnering nearly a million votes when he ran for president from his prison cell in the 1920 election. Debs had been imprisoned for making a speech opposing the draft and America’s entry into World War I.


For more information and related images, see


For a blog post on Debs visit to Washington, DC following his release from prison, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is an auction find.

2 faves
Taken on December 26, 1921