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Historical Photo Archive: 1930s to 1940s

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Saturday Evening Post advertisement   Photo of 50th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday Evening Post debut
Saturday Evening Post readers saw this advertisement, on of the first magazine messages from The Principal, in 1934.
  The company celebrates its 50th anniversary
The company gathered to celebrate its 50th anniversary in January 1930, less than four months after the Wall Street crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. The company's optimism about the future was evident when President Gerard Nollen gave each attendee a $10 gold piece.
     
Photo of the 1930s mens and womens basketball teams   Photo of agents looking at the foundation of Corporate One in Des Moines in 1938
Basketball teams
Throughout its history, the company has sponsored sports activities for employees. Particularly during the Depression, when money was scarce, employees relied on the company for social outlets. This photo is of the men's and women's basketball teams of 1930.
  Foundation of 711 High
As the grip of the Depression loosened, the company made plans to provide larger quarters for its growing company by constructing a new building at 711 High Street in Des Moines. Employees got a close-up view of the newly poured foundation in 1938.
     
Photo of downtown Des Moines in 1930 before corporate one was built   1940s "Bankers Life" watch
Future home of The Principal
In the mid-1930s the Presbyterian Church (at left) and parking lot (at right) stood on what was to be the site of Corporate One at 711 High Street in Des Moines.
  A 1942 classic
Company merchandise in the 1940s included this "Banker's Life" watch.
     
Photostat machine in 1940   1940 photo of the construction site of the Home Office in Des Moines with the Kabitzer's gallery.
High tech copiers of the 1940s
When the company opened its new headquarters at 711 High St. in Des Moines in 1940, not only did the building boast of some of the most modern architecture of its time, but it also came equipped with the most modern equipment. This photostat machine, advanced technology in 1940, copied a page in a record eight seconds.
  Kabitzer's gallery
When the new Home Office building was being built on 7th and High Streets in Des Moines, Iowa, the company knew it would arouse curiosity. Rather than discourage on-lookers, this "Kabitzer's Gallery" went up on 7th street to allow people to safely watch the construction and the building took shape.
     
Photo of the 1940s office area in 711 High home office of The Principal   Photo of the lobby of Corporate One when it opened in 1940
Officescape
When the present Home Office at 711 High Street in Des Moines, Iowa opened its doors in 1940, it featured open working spaces uninterrupted by columns for better workflow. In color, this office setting from the early 1950s would be resplendent with green on floors, desks, chairs, filing cabinets and telephones.
  711 High main lobby in 1940
The impressive main lobby of Corporate One in Des Moines as it looked in April 1940 immediately after it opened. The wide center path resembling carpet is actually Virginia greenstone with Montana travertine on either side. The walls are of polished travertine, with walnut-panelled recesses on the east and west walls.
     
Photo of 1940s "gray ladies" at The Principal   Photo of the gym during a blood drive during World War II
Gray Ladies
During World War II the Red Cross organized the Gray Ladies. They were a group of volunteers dedicated to raising morale of the troops and the home front. They worked 1 1/2 days a week providing for the needs of Women Army Corps stationed at Fort Des Moines, visiting military hospitals and offering a sympathetic ear. Here the Gray Ladies staff the coatroom of the company auditorium. Perhaps they are recruiting new volunteers.
  World War II blood drive
During World War II civilians were involved in the war effort doing everything from saving tin cans to living with ration stamps for everything from tires to shoes. Blood, unfortunately, was a much needed commodity for the company at war. This company set up blood donation centers periodically in the gymnasium and employees donated to the war effort.

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