Rarely Seen Photographs Colorized Reveal Even More Secrets Of History
Early Photo Of Future Cookie Queen Debbi Fields As An Oakland A's Ball Girl
This collection of rarely seen photographs reveals even more about history when colorized with digital technology. Gray backgrounds and indistinct faces pop into life with the addition of color; the flatness of history meets the depth and dimension of real life in all its vivid hues.
The photo depicts the same event, but the dimension of color helps us look deeper. What might have seemed dusty demands a second look, or even a third, and that's when we notice there's more to the story. A previously murky detail, lost in the shadows, becomes a secret discovered.
History unfolds for us endlessly -- the deeper we go, the more we discover, driving us to go deeper still. For the curious mind, colorized photos are another point of entry, a new way of looking at old things. By colorizing a photo, whether a rare or familiar one, we're reaching back into the past and dragging it into our own vivid world. An brittle artifact becomes a living scene. Step in, you never know what you'll discover.
Baseball needs help -- its interminable dead-of-summer games benefit from mascot hijinks, fan rituals or giveaways. In 1968, the Oakland A's introduced "ball girls" -- literally, young ladies who'd sit in foul territory to retrieve out-of-play grounders. The ball girls were a hit.
Debbi Sivyer was one of the early Oakland A's ball girls, though she was destined for success in another arena. At the same time she was working A's games, she was also perfecting her cookies recipes. She even started a milk and cookies break for umpires. Sivyer married Randall Fields in 1977, and in that same year went into the cookie business, using the brand name Mrs. Fields.
Winning Smile: Jungle Pam Savoring Another Victory On The Drag Strip
Drag racing fans of the '70s adored Pam Hardy, or "Jungle Pam," as she was known. She was a mascot of sorts, or sidekick, or assistant to flamboyant driver Jungle Jim Lieberman, and her smiling presence along with a certain irreverence (note the caricature on the car behind her in this colorized photo) made Jim Lieberman a fan favorite. It was clearly a different time in professional sports, for better or worse.
Pam Hardy was more than eye candy, though. She took on more and more responsibility, prepping the car for races by checking under it for leaks, filling the engine block with water and oil, and packing the parachute -- all very important in the potentially-dangerous motor sport of drag racing. Jungle Pam also served as Lieberman's "backup girl," which entailed positioning the car perfectly before the race to ensure the strongest possible start.
Mugshot Of 23-Year Old Frank Sinatra, Arrested For The Crime Of 'Seduction'
Frank Sinatra was a heartthrob in his younger days, and he was even arrested and booked for "seduction." At the time -- November, 1938 -- there was a law on the books against seduction, which was the crime of enticing a woman into bed with the false promise of marriage, and thereby ruining her reputation.
Sinatra was released on $1,500 bail, but the seduction charge was dropped when it came to light that the woman in question was married. The young singer was then charged with adultery, a lesser crime, and released on $500 bail. That charge too was dropped. Neither seduction nor adultery is against the law today.
Elizabeth Short, The 'Black Dahlia,' On A Beach With Her Friend Marge Dyer
The case of the "Black Dahlia" is one of the most famous unsolved murders in the history of Los Angeles. Young Elizabeth Short, a native of Boston, had moved to Vallejo, California, at the age of 18 to live with her father. She may have aspired to be a film actress, although she has no known credits. She was 22 when she was killed in January 1947.
What is known is that Short was an attractive young woman who'd had a difficult relationship with her father and, over time, with several male admirers. What's so confounding about her mysterious death, which sparked a media feeding frenzy and remains a topic of fascination, is that there was never any great lead, never any prime suspect. The case enlisted 750 investigators and fielded confessions -- all deemed false -- from 60 individuals. In the years since, some 500 other people have confessed to doing the deed.
How Did He Do That? Robert Harbin Levitates Model Marvyn Parkes
In this scene from 1966, originally issued as a black-and-white press photo, illusionist Robert Harbin appears to make the lovely Marvyn Parkes defy gravity. Harbin was born in South Africa and became famous in the UK as a child magician. After World War II, he became one of the first magicians to make the move from stage to TV.
Harbin does appear to be levitating Parkes here, though it's hard to trust a still photograph -- as we all know today, in the age of PhotoShop. Levitation was in Harbin's bag of tricks, but it's a relatively common illusion. Harbin is most famous for the "Zig Zag Girl" illusion, in which a woman in an upright box appears to be chopped into three pieces.
Is This Photo Cursed? Aleister Crowley, The 'Wickedest Man In The World'
Aleister Crowley broke with his family's fundamentalist Christian beliefs and, after having spiritual experiences in Egypt, founded a religion called Thelema. Crowley preached that humans could attain perfection through a conglomeration of beliefs that included Buddhism, Kabbalah, and magic. He recruited many followers, who joined him in a hedonistic and generally very weird lifestyle -- though few could keep up with him.
In 1920, Aleister Crowley and followers settled in Cefalu, Sicily, where they founded the Abbey of Thelema in a rented villa. There they practiced mysticism and magic, embracing arcane and pagan rituals, and lived a communal lifestyle that was scandalous at the time and still would be today. One resident who left the group returned to England and shared her horror stories with the John Bull tabloid newspaper -- which dubbed Crowley "The Wickedest Man in the World," a nickname that stuck.
Candid Moment As Marilyn Monroe Takes Charge In New York City, 1955
In March 1955, when this (originally black and white) photo was taken, Marilyn Monroe was coming out of a horrible year that had seen her professional and personal life fall apart. It all started in January 1954, when Monroe told 20th Century Fox she wouldn't make a musical called The Girl In Pink Tights. Fox honcho Darryll F. Zanuck reacted by suspending her.
To combat the negative publicity from the suspension, Monroe married Joe DiMaggio at San Francisco City Hall, then the two of them left for a honeymoon in Japan. Monroe then traveled without her husband to Korea, where she sang for some 60,000 US Marines. After patching things up with Fox, Monroe filmed The Seven Year Itch in fall 1954. The famous imagery of Monroe standing over a New York City subway grate generated enormous buzz for the film, but angered DiMaggio. Monroe filed for divorce in October 1954. In December, she moved to New York City and founded Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP). That's some year.
In 1955, Monroe was on her own personally and professionally, rededicating herself to the craft of acting by taking lessons with Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio.
These Fans Love Babe Ruth -- Was It Because He Was Black?
It's one of the more interesting theories in baseball history, one we'll never settle short of a DNA test: Did George Herman "Babe" Ruth have at least some African ancestry? Whatever his heritage, it's clear that Ruth was more progressive in his views than the typical white Major Leaguer. That may have something to do with these fans' enthusiasm.
Some observers have pointed to Ruth's broad nose and full lips as possible evidence of a mixed heritage, while others point to his lifestyle -- he was known to frequent black jazz clubs in Harlem and to date black women. And then, there are the insults. Other players were said to have taunted him with racial slurs, and there's a documented instance of Ty Cobb referring to him with the N-word.
Ruth knew there was an abundance of talent in the Negro Leagues, and when the Yankees played exhibition games against them, he was very friendly with his black counterparts. According to his daughter, Ruth was blackballed from becoming a Major League manager because clubs feared he'd push for integration.
The TV Highlight Of '66: Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) Dressed Up For A Hellfire Club Party
Actress Diana Rigg rose to fame playing the glamorous Emma Peel on The Avengers. She was known for her black leather catsuit and colorful mod jumpsuits (a style called "The Emmapeeler"), although no outfit captured the attention of the mid-'60s TV viewer quite like the getup Rigg wore in the episode "A Touch of Brimstone," which aired in February 1966, when the show was still filmed in black and white.
In "A Touch of Brimstone," Emma Peel and her partner John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee) must infiltrate a secret hedonistic society known as the Hellfire Club. Steed gains entry to the club and he and Peel attend a racy party where she ends up in a very brief outfit accessorized with black boots and gloves, a spiked collar, a leash, and a snake. "A Touch of Brimstone" was the season's most-watched episode.
Coach Bill Allington And Four Rockford Peaches, Ready To Play Ball
The Rockford Peaches were one of the founding teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and one of just two teams that existed from the league's beginning in 1943 to its final season in 1954. The Peaches, playing out of Rockford, Illinois, were the most successful team in the league, winning four championships in 12 years.
The Rockford Peaches were the subject of the 1992 film A League Of Their Own, although the film took some liberties with the story. The most notable one is that the Peaches did not play in the championship series in the league's first year; rather it was contested by the Racine Belles and Kenosha Comets. Still, the film did give us the immortal line "There's no crying in baseball!" which is true even if nobody ever said it.
James Dean Driving The Car He Died In -- Just As Alec Guinness Predicted
James Dean's story is well known: He was a promising young film star who made just three movies before dying in a car crash. Dean had a lust for speed, and his silver Porsche 550 Spyder, which he nicknamed "Little Bastard," had plenty of it. On September 30, 1955, Dean was driving the car to a road race in Salina, California, when he had a head-on collision with another vehicle. Dean's friend and mechanic Rolf Wutherich, who was riding shotgun, survived the crash.
British actor Alec Guinness had met Dean by chance a week earlier, and had a very strange conversation about the Porsche, which Dean had just bought. Guinness told a BBC interviewer in 1977:
I said, ‘Have you driven it?’ and he said, ‘No. I have never been in it at all.' And some strange thing came over me. Some almost different voice and I said... 'I must say something: Please do not get into that car, because if you do' — and I looked at my watch — and I said, 'if you get into that car at all, it’s now Thursday (Friday, actually), 10 o’clock at night and by 10 o’clock at night next Thursday, you’ll be dead if you get into that car.'
Was Diana Dors The British Marilyn Monroe? Or Was Marilyn The American Diana?
Hollywood had its Age of the Blonde Bombshell, dominated by the "three Ms" -- Marilyn (Monroe), (Jayne) Mansfield and Mamie (Van Doren). Across the pond, there was a British beauty who fit the mold, Diana Dors, born Diana Fluck. After finding early success as a young model -- like, a 13-year-old glamor girl -- she had a substantial career in British film before coming to the States.
You can imagine how the beautiful young star was covered -- she was said to be Britain's "answer" to Monroe, or some kind of pretender to the throne. But the truth is, Dors begaen acting in leading-lady roles before any of the Three Ms, she was just doing it in films that Americans didn't tend to see. Dors once said,
I was the first home-grown sex symbol, rather like Britain's naughty seaside postcards. When Marilyn Monroe's first film was shown here [The Asphalt Jungle], a columnist actually wrote 'How much like our Diana Dors she is.'
How Do You Handle A Cinematic Landmark That's Also Incredibly Racist?
There's a shortlist of important movies that changed the art form -- it would include Citizen Kane, Psycho, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. These are the kind of movies that established the storytelling traditions we're all familiar with, to the extent that we almost don't even notice them. But can you imagine movies without closeup shots? Without tracking shots? Without cross-cutting between simultaneous scenes? Those techniques were all first seen in a movie that glorified the Ku Klux Klan.
D.W. Griffith, the director of the 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation, was among the most influential filmmakers of all time. Running three hours, The Birth of a Nation was the longest film ever made at the time, and in addition to pioneering close-ups and cross-cuts, it was the first to use hundreds of extras in large battle scenes. It changed moviemaking, though its story, which painted the KKK as saviors of white Euro-American culture, was considered offensive even at the time it was made.
A Dashing Queen Of The Skies: WASP During World War II
Now this is a cool shot. During World War II, the WASPs (that’s Women Airforce Service Pilots) were tasked with taking noncombat military flights, making them the first women to take charge of U.S. military aircraft. There were about 1,100 of them in all.
The WASPs logged more than 60 million miles in the skky behind every possible military aircraft. They were living proof that women can do everything that men can - and look better doing it.
After England insured a victory over Germany in December 1944 the WASP program was dismantled, but people never forgot the importance that these women played in the final World War.
Was Mark Twain Actually A Redhead? According To This Colorized Photo Taken In 1870
We should have known that when Mark Twain said, “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats,” that something was up. More often than not photos of Twain show him as a wily, white haired elder statesman of the written word, but this photo supposes that he was actually a ginger.
It’s fascinating to think that such a small detail can change the way we think about a person, especially an extremely important historical figure. When black and white photos are colorized it adds an entirely new level of detail that puts life into an entirely different perspective. What do you think Twain would think of seeing himself like this?
Impossible Playing Conditions In 1954: Could You See A Shot Coming Through This Fog?
This photo from 1954 of Arsenal goalkeeper Jack Kelsey looking into the fog for an elusive ball is not only shows the loneliness of the member of a soccer team who’s tasked with waiting at the net for action, but Kelsey’s dedication to the game.
Waiting in the fog for a ball that may never come doesn’t really sound like a lot of fun, but if it’s what you have to do to win the game you plant your feet in the ground and try to make sure you don’t get blindsided.
Thankfully this game was called because of the thick fog surrounding the pitch, but we’re wondering why even begin the game in the first place?
The Only Photo Of Martin Luther King Jr. And Malcolm X Together
It’s truly wild to think that two of the biggest names in the Civil Rights movement only met one time and that it was at a Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the very thing they were working for. Both of these giants of Civil Rights would be cut down in their prime, but in 1964 they were still pleased about the progress they achieved in the face of an insurmountable enemy.
King and X were philosophically at odds with one another for many years of their lives, but they both held a deep respect for each other and recognized that they were both fighting for the same thing, just in different ways. Think of what they could have accomplished if they were allowed to truly flourish.
A Rare Familial Moment As Ernest Hemingway Relaxes With His Son In 1941
The youngest son of Ernest Hemingway, Gregory was every bit the spitting image of his father when he was just a boy. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gregory was said to be a great athlete and a “crack shot,” it makes sense as he grew up the son of one of the most macho writers of the 20th century.
In this shot, we see a young Gregory zonked out next to Papa at Sun Valley, Idaho, in October 1941. The two look like any outdoorsy father and son.
Gregory and his father often decamped to the Club de Cazadores in Cuba where they went shooting for live pigeons. When he wasn’t vacationing in Cuba with his father he was attending the Canterbury School, a Catholic prep school in Connecticut, where he graduated in 1949.
Sadly, he and his father were estranged following Gregory’s first marriage, although he’s said to have enjoyed his father’s portrayal of him in 1970's Islands in the Stream.
This WWII Airman Wears A Smile And Pets A Dog, But Death Awaits
To be a pilot during wartime is to look death in the face and dare it to give you a try. It’s not a task for the faint a heart, and it’s one of those positions that almost insures loss of life or at the very least an injury.
Sergeant James Hyde gave his life fighting for freedom during World War II -- he was killed when his Spitfire was shot down by German fighters near Nijmegen, Holland, on September 25, 1944. Even if you ignore the fact that he had to leave his little doggo buddy, named "Dingo," in the care of someone else it’s sad to think that his family was never able to see him again. The knowledge that Hyde is forever a war hero must have brought some solace, but it’s still heartbreaking to think about all the men we lost during such an awful war.
Could This Sign Exist Today? B.C. Forest Service Wants Vengeance For A Fire, 1950
In 1947, a fire ripped through this forest in Manning Park, leaving 5,700 acres of charred wasteland -- and rather than simply mourn the accident, the British Columbia Forest Service suggested that whoever started it should die. The message wasn't subtle, but neither are the devastating effects of a large fire.
While this is a strong message, it's actually a replacement for a previous sign about the "Big Burn" (as it was called) that was deemed to harsh. The original read:
One Camper Made This 5,700 Acres Look Like Hell! Don't YOU be careless.
But the Department of Highways objected to the word "hell." So they went with a gallows and noose? It's definitely more attention-grabbing than a talking bear in a forest ranger hat.
A Private Moment Between Two Flappers and Their Dates In Chicago, 1928
There’s no type of person who symbolized an entire generation as much as the flapper. These young women loved to dance, and embraced a culture of freedom that many older people felt was outrageous at the time.
Flappers pushed everything they could to the limit, from the concept about how someone should behave in public (especially women), to the mores surrounding sexual freedom in a decade when people were incredibly buttoned up.
These women were famous for the outfits, with flapper dresses revealing a woman’s calves (gasp!) and containing plunging necklines that showed off more than polite society was used to.
Prayer Answered: Drought-Ending Rain Falls In Texas
In this photo, San Antonio farmer Sam Smith celebrates the rain on Easter, March 24, 1951, after a severe drought in Texas. In this region, long stretches without rain are no joke, as temperatures can rise above 100 degrees and bake every plant and tree across the state, rain is amazing thing to feel.
Even on those hot summer days when the rain is as warm as the air it still feels like a miracle after days without precipitation. For farmers, the rain is necessity to their way of life, and as trite as that might sound when they aren’t able to produce food we aren’t able to eat.
The look of happiness on this man’s face says it all, He’s grateful for everything that nature’s given him… even if he’s had to wait for way too long.
The Secret Social Life At A Black Tavern In Chicago
Taken on April 6, 1941, at Tony’s Tavern in Chicago, Illinois. The club sat at the heart of the Bronzeville neighborhood, giving African Americans a place to go that was all their own. At the time, Jim Crow laws in the south kept people of color apart from white’s only establishments, and even though Chicago was firmly in the north, an unspoken version of the laws existed.
The club hosted some of the biggest music legends of the 20th century, from Duke Ellington to Louis Armstrong. On the menu, items like gumbo and fried shrimp were ready to feed hungry customers.
It’s amazing to see a place like this is stunning technicolor, it’s a shame that it’s no longer standing.
A Tense Moment As Harry Houdini Is Lowered Into The Water Torture Cell
Harry Houdini is remembered as the greatest escape artist of all time -- so what was his greatest trick? It was arguably the Water Torture Cell, sometimes billed as the Chinese Water Torture Cell (although Houdini simply called it the "USD," for "Upside Down.") In this colorized photo, we see Houdini with his ankles locked into a frame, being lowered into a tank full of water. The frame or lid of the tank will be padlocked shut -- and somehow, Houdini will escape.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, magic was a cutthroat game, with escape artists and illusionists regularly stealing each other's tricks. A performer could try to patent a trick to prevent theft -- but that would mean submitting a public document (in the form of the patent application) that explained the trick, so that was a no-go. Houdini managed to thwart imitators by copyrighting the Water Torture Cell as a work of art. He wrote a short play, centered around the escape, that he performed only once, and copyrighted the play -- thus protecting the act against copycats without giving away the secret of how it worked.
Capturing Nature's Awesome Power: This Is The Oldest Photo Of A Tornado, From 1884
This is truly a sight to behold. Taking photos of tornadoes is somewhat common place today, and it has been since the late 20th century as daredevils and thrill seekers throw themselves into harm’s way to get a great shot. On top of that, thanks to modern photography technology it’s easier to get a clear photo of a tornado without fear of getting hurt.
That wasn’t the case in 1884. There were no technologically advanced zooms or digital wizardry to help a photographer get the perfect shot. In the late 19th century a person with a camera had to know exactly what they were doing while focusing on the light and the elements.
With that photographic acumen, a photographer was able to snap this shot that shows a twisting tornado in all of its eerie glory.
Frozen Leap For Freedom: An East German Cop Escapes to the West, Berlin, 1961
When the Berlin Wall went up, splitting east and west Germany, it felt as if the country would never come back together. Border police like the man stationed here were tasked with taking out anyone who attempted to escape to the west, but that just made the border police themselves want to escape.
On August 15, 1961, 19 year old Conrad Schumann put a plan worthy of the cinema into action. After contacting the police in West Germany he arranged for a car to wait for him on the other side of the barbed wire fence he was guarding. At 4 p.m. he jumped the fence and barreled into the car, by the time the other guards turned around he was already gone.
Schumann spent the rest of 1961 in a refugee center before moving to Bavaria. His story inspired so many of those in East Berlin to seek their own freedom.
An Ingenious Contraption For Night Fishing, Hawaii, 1948
Now this is what the colorizing process was made for. As cool as this photo must look in black and white, it doesn’t hold a candle (or a giant torch) to this gorgeous shot. The Hawaiian people have been spear fishing for generations, with many young people learning from their family, like their parents did before them.
Even the most trained fisherman has to be confident to go fishing at night like this no matter how shallow the water. Night fishermen illuminate their expeditions and draw in fish with the light of kukui-nut torches crafted from coconut leaves attached to homemade poles. In order to get a more brilliant flame fishermen burned the nuts in a large piece of bamboo.
Stars On The Set Of 'The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly' -- But They're In The Wrong Order
Here's a moment from the set of the 1966 Spaghetti western The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. The movie's three stars -- Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef -- stopped to squint at the camera, but there's a slight problem. Clint Eastwood plays the drifter Blondie in the film, and while Blondie may be a little rough around the edges, he's the "Good" of the title.
Lee Van Cleef, at right, plays Angel Eyes, who is "the Bad" of the movie's title. "The Ugly" is Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez, played by Eli Wallach, who is seated in the center in this picture.
So what we're really seeing is (from left to right) The Good, The Ugly, and The Bad during a moment of downtime on the set of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.
The Ecstasy Of A Child's First Snowfall Captured In Japan, 1950
Do you remember the first time you saw snow? If you were an adult it probably wasn’t as special as it would be if you experienced snowfall as a child, but it’s amazing none the less.
More so than any other kind of weather, snow brings out the child like wonder in all of us. It begs us to stick out our tongues and dive into the soft icy hills that form as we sleep. And if there are enough friends on board you can even throw it around.
These two young Japanese girls are the perfect age for their first experience with snow. They’re young enough to be amazed and old enough to remember it for the rest of their lives.
An Embarrassing Moment For A U.S. Postal Service Driver, 1925
Even though automobiles have been around since the late 19th century it’s not like postal drivers in the early 1920s were all ace drivers. They had a lot on their minds: where the mail was going, stamps, the Great Depression, you can’t expect them to be thinking of all that AND keep their eyes on the road, can you?
This is one of those scenes that was likely a regular thing in the 1920s, and it wasn’t just happening to post office workers. People all over the city were smacking their new cars into trees with little regard for safety. A Model T like this one could go up to 45 miles per hour, which was wicked fast.
Still, we hope that everyone was okay following this incident and that the mail made it to its destination on time.
Rare Shot Of The Masses Cheering Vladimir Lenin In The October Revolution, 1917
1917 was a year vast change for the Russian people. Revolution took hold of the country and brought an end to centuries of imperial rule, leading to what we now know as the Soviet Union. The country was primed for social upheaval, mass unrest was prepared to boil over and Vladimir Lenin was ready to light the fire.
October of that year saw the Bolshevik Party enact a bloodless coup against Russia’s provisional government. Rather than lead members of the working class into battle Lenin whipped them into a fury before taking over government buildings and occupying strategic places in Petrograd.
It wasn’t long before the world’s first communist government was formed with Lenin at its head.
Two Spiffy Cousins Going Sailing. They Happen To Be A Russian Tsar and The King of England
Have there ever been two guys who look more like total bros than Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King George V of England? These yacht buds, captured here at the 1909 Cowes sailing regatta, were more than just friends, they were extremely close cousins who often referred to each other as “Georgie” and “Nicky,” which is honestly super cute.
The men looked so similar that many people thought they were brothers, and even their family members confused them. Author Dana Schwartz explains:
They were cousins who looked more like twins. [They had] the same blue eyes, same beard... when they were at events together... relatives would come up from behind with the wrong name.
A Sicilian Farmer Helps An American Find Germans, August 1943
During World War II no one liked the Germans (no surprises there), but people of Italy seriously hated the fact that Nazis were occupying their countryside. Italian fascists once supported Germany, but by 1943 Mussolini’s former chief of staff, Gen. Pietro Badoglio was over it. He was in the middle of negotiating a conditional surrender with General Eisenhower and setting up a new Italian government.
Even with the help of the Italian people it wasn’t easy to get through their country to recapture Rome from the Germans. There was bad weather, and on top of that the Allies began their operation so far south that they had to cover most of the country on foot.
Eventually, the Allied troops took Rome and helped bring Italy out of his life of fascism.
Where's The Water? A Very Theoretical Swimming Lesson In England In 1920
Ah, the joy of swimming. More often than not the real fun comes with that first splash of water, the freeing feeling when your entire body is submerged, and the thrill of moving like a fish, forgetting what it’s like to be on land if only briefly.
These English students aren’t just being robbed of an important and exciting experience, but they may not even be learning how to swim. Can you master the waves with the right moves alone? Don’t you need to have an intrinsic understanding of the water?
One of the strangest things about this method is the fact that the children have to lie on top of one another in order to get away from the concrete. The whole thing seems mixed up and upside down to us.
A Rare Look At Life Inside A Japanese Internment Camp, 1943
Life in Japanese internment camps was nothing like what most Japanese Americans were used to. Remember, prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor people of Japanese descent in America were living normal lives. They went to work, they hung out at the park - they were normal people.
By 1943, Japanese owned businesses closed, people lost their homes, and they had to quit their jobs to live as prisoners in these camps. While they weren’t physically mistreated, the entire ordeal left Japanese Americans feeling lost. They were adrift in a country that they thought belonged to them as much as anyone else.
In the camps, Japanese Americans did what they could have a normal life, but things wouldn’t return to normal until well after the war.
Strong And Heroic To The End: Harriet Tubman's Last Portrait, 1911
Harriet Tubman was a special kind of person. Not only was she incredibly smart, but she was brave, and knew that she was put on this Earth to make sure every person of color had a chance to live a free life.
After running away from her plantation in 1844 Tubman resolved to return to the south as often as she could in order to help rescue anyone who was brave enough to ride with her, even when she had a $40,000 reward on her head. All in all she made 19 trips to slave country 1860, making her one of the most important figures of the civil war.
Following the war she settled down in Auburn, New York, where she spent the rest of her life. She passed away in 1913 at the age of 93.
Spot The Genius: Five Year Old Albert Einstein, 1884
Born in Germany, Einstein was a math whiz from an early age, proving himself to be head and shoulders above students his age and even adults. Less a smarty pants and more of a child savant, Einstein was teaching himself Algebra and Euclid geometry before he was a teenager.
Einstein wasn’t just interested in math. At the same time that he was diving headfirst into the waters of advanced calculus (around the age of 12) he was also becoming interested in philosophy, and he formed the belief that the universe was built on a mathematical foundation.
It’s amazing to think that this young child had so much going on his head, if only he knew what he would really do.
Look At The Relief On The Faces Of This Old French Couple Greeting American Soldiers In WWI
This old photograph shows two U.S. soldiers communicating with grateful French civilians on November 6, 1918. It's an emotional moment amid the advance of the 308th and 166th Infantries through the French countryside.
It must be harrowing to live in the middle of a war zone, we can’t imagine the fear and panic experienced by the people who have to spend each day wondering if it’s they’re last.
Photos like this bring a smile to our face. Not because it’s cool to see them in color (which it is), but because it’s clear that this couple feels secure knowing that the American soldiers have arrived to help them out. Even if the tension is lessened for just a bit, it’s good to feel something better than terror.
Hopefully this couple made it through World War I and was able to see France get back to normal.
Behind The Scenes On The 'Sting' Set: Robert Redford, 1973
This shot from 1973 shows Robert Redford decked out for his performance in The Sting, his second team up with Paul Newman after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. According to Redford, the studio didn’t really want him for the role in Butch, but by the time of The Sting it was Paul Newman that they didn’t want.
Redford told Esquire:
What was really fascinating was that when we did Butch Cassidy, the studio didn't want me. After the success of that, my name rose. Paul hadn't done so well in his last few films, so when we came to The Sting, the studio wanted me but they weren't willing to pay Paul the amount that he was requiring. I was able to give over some of my points to him so he could come in the movie. Because what remained was just the friendship.
Is Nicholas II, Last Tzar of Russia, Photobombing?
The final Emperor of All Russia reigned from 1894 to 1917, and even though he was solid royalty it’s clear that he’s just as amazed with photography as we are. Doesn’t this pose look familiar? Who hasn’t leaned into a shot and stared straight down the barrel for the perfect photobomb?
Much of Nicholas’ life was spent carrying out the important job of overseeing Russia, but he liked to have fun when he could. He looks like he was quite the ham in spite of his royal trappings.
It would be fascinating to see if there are more shots of European royalty acting like regular people. After all, aren’t they just like us?
U.S. Marshals Must Escort The First Black Student At The University Of Mississippi
In 1962 James Meredith became the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi. Following nine years in the United States Air Force he should have been able to write his ticket to any university, but once the registrar at the University of Mississippi discovered that he was black, his admission was revoked.
When the University was forced to allow Meredith to attend he found that the doors were literally blocked when he arrived. A riot broke out when he appeared, and Attorney general Robert Kennedy sent in 500 U.S. Marshals to keep the peace while Meredith attempted to attend school.
In 1963, Meredith graduated with a degree in political science. He wrote an account of his experience, and went on to become extremely active in politics until 1991.
A Glimpse Inside A Trade School For Tailors In Sweden, 1955
This young man looks like he’s got it all figured out. In the mid century people across the world knew that it was important to have a trade, be it woodworking, plumbing, or tailoring - to be needed was a wonderful thing.
Tailoring is one of those things that we don’t think about… at least until we need a suit with the perfect cut. Most people don’t have an “off the rack” size, and need to have their clothing fit to their specifications. Without tailors we’d all be wearing weird baggy clothing.
In the 1950s it was extremely important to know a good tailor. There were far less articles of clothing in the world, and having something hand made was a way of life.
The Last Surviving Civil War Veteran, Who Enlisted At 14 And Died At 106
As atrocious as war is, it’s amazing to think that someone who served in the Civil War could be alive into the middle of the 20th century. Doesn’t time just blow your mind? As a teen Woolson enlisted as a drummer boy in Company C, 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment on October 10, 1864. He was discharged nearly a year later and spent the rest of his life in Minnesota.
Imagine his wonder at the way life changed from the 19th century to the 20th century. Woolson saw the advent of automobiles, electricity, motion pictures, and even television. When he passed away in 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower said:
The American people have lost the last personal link with the Union Army... His passing brings sorrow to the hearts of all of us who cherished the memory of the brave men on both sides of the War Between the States.
An Iconic Final Photo Of The Beatles You've Only Seen In Black And White
This really says it all, doesn’t it? It’s clear from this shot that John, George, Paul, and Ringo are completely over being in The Beatles. Not only are they dressed completely differently than one another, a subtle hint at the way they’ve grown apart, but they don’t look happy to be around one another.
Think about photos of The Beatles from early in their career. The young lads from Liverpool looked as if they had the world on a saucer and they were ready to drink it up. In this final photo it’s as if they’d all rather be somewhere else.
In their final performance the boys put on quite a show at the top of Apple Records, but that was it. No goodbye, no see you later, these four groundbreaking artists just went their separate ways.
A Photo Documents A Family Devastated By World War I
This is a truly sad photo. With 20 million casualties in World War I it’s the sad truth of the matter that many families were left without husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. Those whose boys returned to them after the war counted their blessings.
When a massive loss of life like this occurs it’s hard to quantify the pain that’s caused, especially on a personal level. Photos like this show that even though someone is gone they’re not forgotten.
It may seem strange to us now, but this mother and son were honoring their lost loved one in the only way they could.
A Century-Old Mirror Selfie From Japan
Isn’t it astounding to see that we’ve always enjoyed taking photos of ourselves and capturing a moment in time forever? Even before cameras were invented people were painting themselves and doing their best to say "here I am." In this photo from 1920, a Japanese couple are doing the same thing many of us do today with a phone and a mirror.
This shot is particularly cool because of… well, everything about it. The way it’s framed shows an intimate understanding of a aesthetics and the couple are posed perfectly. The mise en scene and focus are perfect, everything about this one hundred year old selfie says that it could have been taken today.
If only we could see what this photographer did with the rest of his life, did he get a new camera or keep this one? We’d love to know.
A Moment Of Unbridled Joy For A US Soldier Arriving In New Hope, Connecticut, 1945
This really is one of the most joyous photos out there. You can see the thrill on everyone’s faces as they gaze on the happiness of this young couple as they embrace. As World War II came to an end in 1945 many young men returned home unsure if they’re girlfriends and wives would be waiting for them.
It’s clear that this fellow had nothing to worry about. Can you imagine what it must be like to wait years to see someone you love? With no cell phones and no email there was little more than the written word to keep a long distance couple warm on a cold night.
It warms our heart to see a couple reunited in such a grand fashion, hopefully they were never apart for such a long time again.
He Survived The Peninsular War, But This Ambrotype Photo Is Testing His Limits, 1860s
The Peninsular War was fought from 1807-14. It brought together an alliance of Britain, Spain and Portugal to stave off invading French forces that sought to claim the Iberian Peninsula for France. This British veteran of the war is posing with his wife in the 1860s, and nobody looks happy about it.
Sitting for a photo in the mid 19th century required great patience and concentration. The process of taking a photo could take forever - even if it only took minutes it was the only photo you’d be taking for a while if not your entire life. Rather than smile and risk the chance of ruining the photo with the motion of your face or being frozen in time with some weird look forever, subjects tended to sit completely still.
Ambrotypes were black and white, but more often than not people hand tinted them, which just goes to show that we’ve been colorizing photos for quite some time.
A Moment Of Truth In The Kitchen, 1940
Hmmmm, the woman on the left doesn’t look so sure about what she’s tasting. Or maybe she’s just thinking of a clever note that she can give her friend. Whatever the case, baking is one of those things that hasn’t changed in generations.
Sure, there are more gizmos and gadgets today than there were in 1940, but it all comes down to precise measurements and the right ingredients. Without those two pieces of the puzzle all you’ve got is a big mess on your hands.
This is one thing we’d love to see more of - people getting together to make things with their hands. It not only feels good, but you’ve got a tasty treat at the end of the day.
They May Look Like Smurfs, But They Battle The Frigid Elements
This photo from 1898 shows Faroese fishermen on board a steamer on their way home from an Icelandic fishing expedition. Talk about tough, these guys are definitely not a group of people that you want to mess with. Never mind the fact that their hats have a Smurf-like quality, they’re rough and ready and constantly doing battle with the elements.
Fishing in the chilly seas on the coast of Iceland isn’t for the weak at heart, and it’s not even for the strong at heart, it’s for fishermen who have ice in their veins.
Being away from home for so long changes you, especially when you’re stuck on a boat with a bunch of seafaring fishermen, imagine the stories that these guys have. They’ve definitely seen a few strange things in their days.
Lily Pads Aren't Just For Frogs, As This Kitten Finds Out In The Philippines, 1935
This isn’t photo trickery (aside from the whole colorization thing), that’s really a cat walking along a lily pad. While we tend to think of lily pads as these dainty things, Victoria lily pads are extremely thick and can grow up to six feet in diameter.
At the time of their discovery by the English, they were referred to as “A Vegetable Wonder!” and a race to cultivate the plants was set off in England - it took more than a decade before anyone could actually get one to grow.
These plants grow naturally in areas along the Amazon and their leaves are strong enough to hold up a human child, which is kind of awesome but also don’t go sitting your babies on these bad boys… just in case.
What Happens Now? Former Slaves Freed by Union Forces During U.S Civil War, 1862
It’s impossible to put into words the importance and beauty of the soldiers who freed the slaves during the Civil War. People are born with lives to lead and they should be allowed to do so, not forced into slavery. But we don't hear as much about the lives of the former slaves -- people who've only known bondage, and are now facing a life of freedom.
Such a radical change in circumstance -- even though it's unquestionably a change for the better -- is a daunting prospect, and we can see it on the faces in this photo.
By 1862 the war was far from over, it raged for years but that didn’t stop Union soldiers from doing their part to make sure that the slaves they found in the south were able to leave their plantations and make their way towards a better future.
As uncertain as their lives were following their emancipation, at least their lives were their own.
Fear, Uncertainty, And Hope: Italian Immigrants At Ellis Island, 1905
Packing up everything and coming to America in 1905 couldn’t have been easy, especially with a young family and the possibility that any prospects on the table would be gone by the time you arrived. Still, what else should a dreamer do? Not chase a better life?
Millions of immigrants came to America through Ellis Island, many of them had to change their names, and most of them were facing an uncertain future, but they were all looking for a better way of life. What’s more American than that?
This young family looks to be worried in the face of the new world, but they’ve got each other and that’s what counts.
A Look At A Life Unlike Our Own: A Shepherd of Judea, 1898.
The life of a shepherd is a lonely one. You spend your days in the fields and valleys, away from civilization with no one to keep you company aside from your flock. As peaceful as it sounds it also sounds like the solitude would drive you to tears on the wrong day.
This shot is one of the most well known pieces of the Matson photograph collection that sits in the Library of Congress, and it’s truly fascinating to see it gorgeous color like this. It actually feels like we’re in the middle of a valley, with the heat beating down on us as we tend to our sheep.
Even Tough As Nails Marines Run Out Of Gas
This Marine, snapped by Esther Bubley as he slept in Union Station in 1948, seems a long way from home. More often than not, soldiers have to travel a great deal to get from one base to another - whether they’re going home, to train, or just whenever they’re on their way to a new base there are layovers, long flights, and miles of highway. It’s exhausting.
One of the most harrowing parts of a journey is the dead center, when you’ve already traveled a long and have miles and miles ahead of you with no end in sight. It’s times like that when you just want to sit down and take a nap no matter where you happen to be.
A Calm Moment Before A Return To The Storm Of World War I
World War I was the first time in modern history that it felt like countries across the planet were at one another’s throats. In this photo, taken in France in 1918, we see a U.S. Soldier resting on his final day in the hospital -- tomorrow he returns to the front. There’s no record about what this soldier was suffering from, but whatever the case he must have enjoyed the downtime if for no other reason than to get away from the terror of war.
This was the first era that the world at large recognized the idea that men who were at war experienced psychological damage from the bloodshed, today we call it PTSD but in the early 20th century it was what’s known as “shell shock.”
There was little understanding of the psychological pain that came along with serving on the front. Hopefully this young man made it home to his family without too much trouble.
A U.S. Soldier's Last Moments With His Family Before Heading To War, 1917
It’s heartbreaking to see this, a soldier leaving his young family behind to fight a war all the way in Europe, without any knowledge of when he would return home or if he would return. With such a young family, even if he came home after the war (which we hope he did) he would have missed so much of their young lives that he would be like a stranger.
It's a tale that's played out all too often, but that's life during wartime. We'd like to think he made it home after fighting on the front and didn’t miss too many birthdays or holidays… we can tell that these kids love their dad.
These Are The Faces Of Young Americans About To Experience Hell
These American troops are heading for the beaches at Oran in Algeria during 'Operation Torch,' November 1942. What do you see on their faces? Even though these brave men are floating into an uncertain future, they appear to be calm. Are they, really, or is it the ignorance of youth? Without a doubt, what they are about to experience will change them forever.
Operation Torch was a plan to draw Axis forces away from the Eastern Front in order to give the members of the Soviet army a break from battling the Axis. At the time the British didn’t want Americans to land in Europe, they thought it would be disastrous for the war to do so in such early stages. The members of the Allies compromised and the Americans landed in Northern Africa.
Thanks to Operation Torch American and British forces finally had the offensive following three years of German and Italian forces dictating the tempo of events.
Behind The Scenes At The Circus: A Performer Helps A Clown Get Into Character, 1935
There’s a camaraderie amongst circus performers. Not only do you have the same job, but you’re on the road together for months out of the year. You become one another’s family, so when someone asks you to help them put their makeup on you don’t even think about it, you just do it. We don’t know much about Harriet Hodgdini, although she comes from a circus family. Her father was Albert Hodgdini, one of the members of the Houdini family circus troupe as well as the originator of "the Original Miss Daisy" with Ringling Brothers.
The man she’s making up is Otto Griebling, one of the four clowns to receive the title “Master Clown.” Griebling actually studied under Hodgini’s father after coming to the U.S. from Germany.
By 1935 Griebling’s act was less high flying thanks to a back injury that suffered mid-stunt. From then on he performed as a silent tramp clown as he continued his time with the Hodgini family.
Seeing a vision of the old circus days is enough to make our hearts flutter. When you could toss down a few bits and see some of the world’s most outrageous performers. There were all manner of tents, snacks, and some times animals, it was truly an amazing sight to behold.
The Expert Lens Of Sally Mann Captures 'Candy Cigarette' (1989)
If anyone has been able to capture the everyday drama of childhood it’s Sally Mann. With a simple 8x10 view camera she not only reframed the concept of middle class life, but of childhood and what it means to be an adult.
With “Candy Cigarette” Mann managed to capture the innocent moment when her daughter pretended to smoke a candy cigarette and the act of a child attempting to be far more grown up than she is.
It’s expressive and moody, the perfect encapsulation of what it means to be young. If only we could stay that way forever.
Up Close And Personal With The Queen's Guard At Windsor Castle
This photo from Windsor Castle, taken in the 1960s and colorized in modern times, shows a member of the Queen's Guard, who have long held a fascination with people across the world. With their excellent posture, distinctive fuzzy helmets, and bright red outfits it’s hard to miss them, but it’s even harder to get them to pay attention to you… or anything really.
It may not be a 100% fact, but it feels like it’s impossible to get these guards to make any other face other than the grimace that comes when you’re in service to the Queen. Has anyone ever made one of these guys smile? If you have we want to know. What was it like? Did they throw you in the Thames afterwards?
Mr.Rogers Breaking The Color Barrier With Officer Clemmons, 1969
If you spent your childhood watching Mr. Rogers (and really, who didn’t?) then you remember. Officer Clemmons. He was a kind hearted police officer who often stopped by the neighborhood to check in and see how everyone was doing.
When Clemmons appeared on the program in 1969 it was the first time that a black character had a recurring role on a children’s series. Even though this was a huge deal, something that established a positive portrayal of a black authority figure on television, Clemmons was unsure about accepting the role. He explained:
Fred came to me and said, ‘I have this idea, you could be a police officer.’ That kind of stopped me in my tracks. I grew up in the ghetto. I did not have a positive opinion of police officers. Policemen were sicking police dogs and water hoses on people. And I really had a hard time putting myself in that role. So I was not excited about being Officer Clemmons at all.
Merry Christmas From The Year 1910
Is there anything better than trimming the tree at Christmas time? Sure, the presents are great, but the best part of the holiday is all the buildup. The caroling, the hot cocoa, and catching up with friends and family… isn’t that what the holidays are really about?
The holidays must have been so much fun in the early 20th century. With the family gathered around a crackling fire and a real tree, the smell of spices in the air, if we could go back we definitely would.
The Edwardian era was a special time, with a peaceful mood across the world and a fashion sense that can’t be ignored it really does seem like the perfect time for wintry bliss.