Our Daily Sykes #425 – Burned Woman

Horace Sykes moved to Seattle in the late 1920s and when to work for Northern Life Insurance, which had then just built in grand new tower at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and Univesity Street.  (Since renamed The Seattle Tower it is felt by some to be the best  building in Seattle.)  I have always assumed that at least some of the Sykes' picturesque landscapes were photographed while he was on trips as an adjuster of claims.  However, this is the only subject in collection that would seem to have been recorded as evidence for a claim.  It is one of two photographs of the burned woman - the easier one to look at.  Sykes has left no name nor date nor description of the circumstance leading to his visit and her calm willingness to be photographed in what must surely still be her pain.

Horace Sykes moved to Seattle from Oregon in the late 1920s as an expert on fire safety.  He had come to work for Northern Life soon after the insurance company had moved into their new highrise at the southeast corner of Third Ave. and University Street and Third Ave.  It is now called the Seattle Tower.  I have always assumed that at least a good percentage of Horace’s picturesque landscapes were photographed while he was on trips examining insurance claims, and yet this and a photograph of an ice plant destroyed by fire are the only instances or “evidence” of the pain and destruction the insurance examiner must have been very familiar with in his subjects.  This is one of two photographs taken of this unnamed woman, most likely sometime in the late 1940s.  It is the easier one to look at.

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