Vintage Photos Reveal A Different Side To History Than You Already Know
How far would you go to have perfect skin? This woman is having a skin peel to remove her freckles in Budapest, Hungary.
When a photo captures something really brilliant it’s able to provide context for a specific moment in history, while giving insight into the modern world. Sometimes the photos capture a majestic, life affirming flash, and other times shots like the ones you’ll see today show that there’s not much difference between and the royal family or a young person growing up in the segregated south.
The photos and stories collected here provide fascinating nuance to points in time that are just blips in our history books. These photos show that everyone has a story, they just need someone to tell it. Read on and enjoy.
The desire for “perfect skin,” or the perfect look has been going on for centuries. The concept of beauty has changed with every generation, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is that people will go to extreme lengths in order to attain what they believe to be the perfect body. For example, this chemical peel from the 1930s was a painful procedure that required a breathing tube to be inserted into a woman’s mouth so chemicals could burn away a layer of her skin. In a follow up photo the woman’s face is mostly freckle free, although some remain around her eyes which honestly just makes them more noticeable. Ah, the price of beauty.
Grigori Rasputin, the "most evil man in history"
Rasputin began his life as a Russian peasant, but by the time he was executed he’d risen through the ranks of the Russian patriarchy to become the Romanov family’s chief advisor. Rasputin gained most of his sway because of his special talent for using faith healing to treat Alexei Romanov’s hemophilia. He wasn’t able to cure the boy, but he was allegedly able to ease his pain by praying over him. By 1912 Rasputin was so in with the family that he was given considerable favors.
Rasputin used his place with the Romanovs to take bribes and sexual favors, he even attempted to separate the Romanov family from the Russian Orthodox Church, something that didn’t sit well with the clergy. An assassination attempt was carried out in 1914, but it wasn’t until 1916 that a group of nobles were able to do away with him.
Rasputin was lured to Moika Palace on December 30, 196 where was poisoned, beaten, and shot three times before being wrapped in cloth and dropped in the Malaya Nevka River.
Rick Rescorla saved 2,700 people from the South Tower on 9/11
It’s an understatement to say that September 11, 2001 was a national tragedy. In just a few hours 2,977 people lost their lives during a coordinated terrorist attack on New York City and the Pentagon, but there could have been a greater loss had the late Rick Rescorla, director of security at Morgan Stanley not disobeyed Port Authority orders and evacuated the South Tower as soon as the North Tower was hit. Rescorla managed to save all but six of the company's 2,687 employees, he passed away as the tower collapsed.
Rescorla was born in born in Cornwall, England, and was a fighter his entire life. He served as a U.S.-commissioned officer during Vietnam where he earned the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. According to his wife Susan, Rescorla called her in the middle of his daring evacuation to tell her what was happening and that he had to risk his life. Dan Hill, a friend of Rescorla’s who served with him in Vietnam told the New Yorker:
People like Rick, they don’t die old men. They aren’t destined for that and it isn’t right for them to do so. It just isn’t right, by God, for them to become feeble, old, and helpless sons of b*tches. There are certain men born in this world, and they’re supposed to die setting an example for the rest of the weak bastards we’re surrounded with.
On September 11, 2019, Rescorla was announced as a Presidential Citizen Medal honoree for his extraordinary sacrifice.
There was only one fatality in this train derailment at Montparnasse Station in Paris, France and they weren't on the train
On October 22, 1895, the Granville – Paris Express was running a few minutes late, and rather than throw off the schedule the train conductor put the pedal to the metal to keep to his schedule. In doing so he passed through a buffer stop at the Montparnasse Station in Paris and couldn’t break in in time to avoid smashing though a two foot thick wall and crashing to the ground 30 feet below.
Of the 131 passengers only six were injured. Unfortunately, a woman on the street was hit by a piece of the building and passed away. The conductor kept his job, but he was fined 50 francs. A guard who should have pulled the hand brake was only fined 25 francs.
Innovative boulderer John Sherman chugs a beer while he climbs a mountain wearing flip flops
If this pic doesn’t get you pumped for the weekend then you need to check your pulse. John Sherman is a renaissance man; he writes, he’s a photographer, and he’s most well known for bringing bouldering to the mainstream while creating the V-scale for grading boulder problems. The V-scale comes from Sherman’s nickname, “The Vermin,” and it categorized climbs from V0 to V9, the scale now goes up to V17.
Sherman, a total madman in the best way, is a bit of an outcast in the bouldering community in spite of the fact that he’s brought them so much acclaim. He’s still climbing, and in an interview with Rock and Ice he discussed his love of climbing in new places that have yet to be categorized:
When I was younger it was important for me to do early repeats of problems like The Thimble and Midnight Lightning to test myself against the standards of the time. But as I’ve matured as a boulderer I find it more satisfying to get on virgin problems—you don’t know how hard it is or even if it will go. Every time up is a test of everything you’ve learned in your career.
Daryl Davis, a blues musician who's convinced hundreds of KKK members to leave the organization
Daryl Davis is a black blues musician who’s spent the last 30 years befriending members of the KKK and convincing them to leave the hate group. Often, the men give Davis their robes once they’ve left the organization as a sign of friendship, respect, and thanks. Davis explained to NPR that when he meets a member of the Klan he likes to go in with as much knowledge as possible so he can chip away at their ideology and show them how backwards their thinking is:
The best thing you do is you study up on the subject as much as you can. I went in armed, not with a weapon, but with knowledge. I knew as much about the Klan, if not more than many of the Klan people that I interviewed. When they see that you know about their organization, their belief system, they respect you. Whether they like you or not, they respect the fact that you've done your homework. Just like any good salesman, you want a return visit and they recognized that I'd done my homework, which allowed me to come back again.
Soviet-Georgian water polo player, Petre Mshvenieradze with his grandson in the 1990s
That is a big man. A Mountain of a man even. Petre Mshvenieradze looks like he would be a weight lifter, a wrestler, or any other kind of athlete that requires someone to have a hulking mass, but he was actually a competitive water polo player throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. At the 1956 Olympics he won a bronze medal, and in 1960 he won a silver medal. Obviously Mshvenieradze was a beast of a man, and in his final Olympics he played in all seven water polo matches and score five goals. His son followed in his footsteps and went on to play polo like his old man, but it looks like his grandson was happy to never go near water again.
The first class lunch menu aboard the Titanic, note the lack of iceberg lettuce
Dining aboard the Titanic on its inaugural and only journey across the Atlantic was pretty good if you were in first or second class. Third class passengers were stuck with oatmeal, cold meat, and a lot of potatoes, but there was a huge jump in the menu items for second class where people were eating well. They had spring lamb, baked haddock, and whatever a “cocoanut sandwich” is, which makes sense because they were paying $60 for their tickets, which shakes out to about $700 today. First class passengers were treated to meals in one of five restaurants where they were served French cuisine as well as a selection of cheeses. Their stay on the Titanic was a bit more pricey than that of the second class passengers. They paid anywhere from $150 to $4,350 for a suite. That may sound cheap, but with inflation that’s around $50,000 today.
Photographer Cecil J. Williams fights the power while drinking from a "whites only" water fountain, 1964
During the 1960s in the segregated south it was an every day occurrence to be faced with a fountain, restaurant, and even a bathroom that was labeled “white only,” as if simple necessities of life could be broken down by the color of a person’s skin. Photographer Cecil J. Williams grew up in the 1950s in South Carolina and used his talent to capture images that defined the desegregation movement in the middle of the 20th century.
During this time Williams was working as a press photographer who was arrested twice while on the job. He explained:
Based on my experiences … during the civil rights era, police officials saw no distinction in a black person with a camera and any other black person. Simply put, in their eyes, we were the enemy.
Well that's one way to stay awake, this student at the University of Madras in India ties his hair to a nail wall for an all night cram sesh
Everyone has had a test that they need to cram for. Some people pull all nighters by slamming coffee and smoking cigarettes, students in the 1990s were lucky enough to have Jolt Cola to keep them awake, and this student at the University of Madras in Tamil Nadu, India, in 1905 had the unfortunate luck of having to tie his hair to a nail in the wall to keep him from passing out.
This method has a couple of different ways of keeping someone awake. Not only is it uncomfortable to tie your hair to a nail, but every time his head goes down the contraption pulls at his pony tail a little bit. If that doesn’t wake you up nothing will.
An engraved Zippo lighter belonging to a Vietnam veteran
“We the unwilling led by the unqualified to kill the unfortunate to die for the ungrateful.” It’s a stirring sentiment and a trenchant indictment of the Vietnam War straight from one of the men who ran through the jungles of Asia in a conflict that feels like a black hole. Searching for any kind of autonomy, soldiers personalized their effects with messages, photos and memories from home, but no piece of ephemera has held up like these military Zippos. According to Jim Fiorella, author of The Viet Nam Zippo, 1933-1975, the lighters “are the small, speaking, archeological objects that bear witness to great personal heroism, pride, pain and tragedy.”
Collectors and former soldiers have been collecting these engraved Zippos since the end of the war and building fascinating collections, but there are a lot of counterfeits on the market which honestly just feel un-American.
Emma Gatewood told her family she was going for a walk, what she meant was that she was hiking the Appalachian Trail
When Emma Gatewood hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail on her lonesome in 1955 she was already a mother of 11 and a great-grandmother. With nothing but a small bindle attached to a stick and a pair of Kids she took off on the 2,050-mile route that stretches from Georgia to Maine. At the time, her children didn’t realize what she was up to, she simply told them that she was going for a walk. It’s not until news of a 67-year-old woman hiking the trail reached her family in Ohio that they realized what she really meant.
Prior to becoming “America’s most celebrated pedestrian” Gatewood suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband and came to find the outdoors as a refuge from the pain. After divorcing her husband in 1941 Gatewood began walking 10 miles a day. On the trail she eschewed a tent and relied on the kindness of strangers for a place to stay, but even though she was hiker famous, many nights found her sleeping on the cold ground. Before her death in 1973 she managed to walk the Appalachian Trail first (making her the first person to do so), and all 2,000 miles of the Oregon Trail.
A 1928 Tommy Gun fashioned inside of a violin case.
Mobsters of the 1920s and ‘30s had to be prepared to do throw down at any time and any place, but it’s not like they could just walk around with a Tommy Gun slung around their shoulder; they needed something discrete. Of course in this instance discrete means either building or retrofitting a violin case to fit the weapon.
Of course, a gangster couldn’t just shove a gun into a case. They had to break down the weapon down to its core components so it would fit without looking too ominous. This isn’t the kind of thing that a mobster would use if they needed immediate access. The best way to handle this was to duck into the bathroom, as violin players often do, and put this bad boy together.
A steelworker from 1931 "touches" the tip of the Chrysler Building, 1931
Kids today may think that they have a monopoly on funny pictures that make use of forced perspective, but people have been jamming on this gag for as long as photos have existed. This steelworker on top of the as of yet unfinished Empire State Building wasn’t just goofing off, he was showing that the building on which he was working was quickly surpassing the height of the first man-made structure to surpass 1,000 feet.
When all was said and done the Empire State building reached a height of 1,454 feet at the very tip. The building remained the tallest building in the city until 1970 when the North Tower of the World Trade Center took the record at a height of 1,728 feet.
Check out the first Harley-Davidson Motorcycle factory that wasn't a shack
In 1903 William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson started building bikes in a 10 X 15 shed that was hardly big enough to construct a massive fleet of motorcycles. In four short years Harley Davidson moved to a new location with 18 employees and a huge factory floor. This was just the beginning of their dominance on the road, and within the decade they were producing one of their most well known motorcycles, the V-twin powered bike.
By 1924 William and Arthur had taken Harley Davidson from a small wooden shack to company that was capable of sending their bikes to thousands of dealers across the world.
"The Cardiovascular System and Principal Organs of a Woman" by Leonardo da Vinci is actually a drawing of a man
Leonardo wasn’t just an artist, he was fascinated with science and the human anatomy. He started studying anatomy in the 1480s and over the course of his life he supposedly conducted about 30 human dissections. In order to create this piece he performed an autopsy on an elderly man whom he witnessed pass away in a hospital in Florence.
The findings from the dissection were combined with Leonardo’s research of animal dissections and the beliefs of the time. In order to illustrate the organs of a woman, Leonardo simply added a spherical uterus to the drawing along with the animal skull.
The list of what every artist at Woodstock was paid, Hendrix was paid the most and barely anyone saw him play
Woodstock 1969 was one of those once in a lifetime experiences that are impossible to recreate, no matter how hard people want them to happen. Woodstock was a lot of things - a groovy happening, fun in the mud with thousands of hippies, and a three day event founded on peace and love, but it couldn’t have happened without the bands.
Since Woodstock was an unknown festival they had trouble booking a ton of huge bands, that’s why Santana only made 750 bucks. When the festival started going down hill, the bands who were higher up the bill were worried about not getting paid and they started asking for their money up front. All of the bands got paid and Woodstock went down in history as one of greatest moments in music history.
A 1960's beer vending machine.
After a long day at work there’s nothing better than an ice cold beer. Instead of waiting to get home wouldn’t it be great if you could just pop by a vending machine and grab a beer? As wild as this seems, throughout the ‘60s you could get pretty much whatever you wanted from a vending machine - cigarettes, eggs, sandwiches, and even whiskey was up for purchase.
People have always loved to get items as fast as possible, and vending machines are the height of immediate gratification. On top of that there’s something to the idea that in the 1960s you could buy a beer and take a walk, but of course that caused more trouble than it was worth.
A "calculator" used during the Apollo program in 1952
Technology is an ever changing and evolving continuum. Scientists are always trying to make computers smaller, and more powerful but that doesn’t mean that things are any better than they were back when America was trying to get to the moon. During the Apollo program there were calculations on top of calculations being performed. After all, you can’t just pop into outer space on a wing and a prayer. The calculations had to be precise, but they weren’t being performed with a super computer, simply a piece of wood, paper, and a pen. Why did NASA ever switch? Do you think they could still send someone to space with something like this?
One of the giant Buddhas that once stood in Bamiyan, Afghanistan
The Buddhas of Bamyan are two 6th-century statues carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley of central Afghanistan. The largest, “Solsol” was 53 meters tall, and “Shahmama" is 35 meters tall. The statues have been under attack for centuries, but the worst attack happened in the beginning of the aughts.
The Buddhas were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 after Mullah Mohammed Omar declared that they were idols. In 2013 reconstruction on the statues began but were halted by UNESCO because of the lack of original materials. The silver lining of the explosion was the discovery of a series of wall paintings hidden behind the statues.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first body-building contest, 1963.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is arguably one of the most well known figures in pop culture, whether you know him from film, his political career, or body building, you can definitely hear his voice in your head right now. Before he was a body builder, Schwarzenegger was big into athletics, but he didn’t start lifting until three years before his first bodybuilding competition. He explained:
I actually started weight training when I was 15, but I’d been participating in sports, like soccer, for years, so I felt that although I was slim, I was well-developed, at least enough so that I could start going to the gym and start Olympic lifting.
Shortly after this photo was taken Schwarzenegger took off to international superstardom and the world was never the same.
Action figures have always been a thing. Charlie Chaplin with his doll in 1929
We tend to think of dolls and action figures based on cinema stars as modern items that can be found in toy stores, but they’ve been in production since at least the 1920s when a doll of Charlie Chaplin’s little hobo character was released. Chain was so popular that there were multiple dolls released based around the character, each of them featuring his mini mustache and hat.
Chaplin was one of the most popular stars of the day, and unlike many of his silent film compatriots, Chaplin’s success continued into the 1940s when his popularity wained. In 1952 Chpalin left the United States for good, leaving behind all of his possessions and a lot of dolls.
People were allowed to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge on its opening day in 1937
From May 27 to June 2, 1937 San Francisco held “Fiesta Week,” a celebration of the time spent constructing the Golden Gate Bridge. On the first day people were encouraged to stroll up and down the bridge to take in the sights and enjoy doing what no one else would ever be able to do. Pedestrian Day began at 6am and didn’t end until dusk.
On Pedestrian Day an estimated 18,000 people strolled up and down the Golden Gate Bridge with supposedly 50,000 hot dogs sold. While there were thousands of people to walk across the bridge, the first person to walk back and forth on the bridge in stilts was Florentine Calegeri who worked at the Palace Hotel. How many hot dogs do you think he ate?
Artist Claude Monet and his second wife Alice Hoschede Monet, she tried to erase his first wife from history
Claude Monet is one of the most important painters that’s ever existed, and while he lived a lovely life with his second wife Alice Hoschede Monet, she never wanted to hear a word about his first wife, Camille. Monet’s first wife passed away after the birth of their second child, and Alice did everything she could to get rid of Camille.
Following their marriage, Alice destroyed every photo of Camille that she could find and only one is known to have survived. While the two women were romantic rivals, there’s no proof that they ever butted heads over the painter, but it’s clear that these two women had a problem with one another.
British tourist arrives to his destination in Sudan, Africa. (1936)
In the early 20th century many British travelers flew to Africa for the first time, although traveling for leisure to the original continent was far away due to the high costs of air travel. One way in which travelers were able to see Africa even if they weren’t stopping was taking a look at Africa from the air on a long trip.
Travelers that did land on the continent were able to mix cultures with the people on the ground. while it would be years before regular travel to Africa was possible, but it’s a place that’s held a place in the minds of the the adventurous for decades.
Christopher Robin’s original toys inspired A.A. Milne to write Winnie the Pooh
One of the most fascinating things about Winnie the Pooh is that the characters were inspired by real people, or at least one person and a series of stuffed animals. Author A.A. Milne got the idea for his story when his son Christopher Robin Milne received a stuffed bear for his first birthday gift in 1921. As the years went on he received a pig, a kangaroo, a donkey, and of course a tiger.
The original toys spent some time at The New York Public Library, and now they’re at the Children's Center at 42nd Street. The stuffed animals are still in fairly good condition, especially when you consider that they used to belong to a little boy.
Miners use an 'aerial tram' to descend into the Kimberly Diamond Mine in South Africa, 1885.
Kimberly Diamond Mine, otherwise known as “Big Hole,” is one of the deepest holes excavated by hand. Digging started in 1870s and it stayed in operation until 1914. During that time nearly 50,000 miners dug out the mine and found close to 6,000 pounds of diamonds. Miners had to use aerial trams like the one pictured in order to get in and out of the hole.
Unfortunately most of the accidents in the mine were because of workers operating the tram too fast, causing accidents that stopped production. After the excavation was finished, the hole was left to fill with water.
That's not a painting, it's the "Pillars of Creation" and they're only seven thousand light years away
This looks like a painting but it’s actually what NASA refers to as the “Pillars of Creation,” a collection of cosmic tendrils made of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula. The Pillars are in the middle of the Serpens constellation which is about 7,000 light years away from Earth. Captured on April 1, 1995, this image shows the distinct and fascinating beauty of the distance of space.
Anyone who wants to see the Pillars for themselves don’t need to build their own space faring satellite, but they do need to use a high powered telescope under the right conditions. A clear night in July is the best time to see the Pillars, and it’s especially important to use a large telescope to find these massive elephant astral elephant trunks.
Princess Diana konked out at an official royal engagement in 1981, the next day it was announced that she was pregnant with her first child
1981 was a huge year for Princess Diana, after Prince Charles courted her for a little over a year he proposed and the engagement was officially announced of February 21, 1981. She left her job as a kindergarten assistant, and made her first appearance with the royal family at a charity ball in March. Diana and Charles married in July, and her first pregnancy was announced on November 5. If anyone had a reason to be exhausted at the beginning of the ‘80s it was Princess Di.
After months of pomp and circumstance, Diana’s first months in the royal family were absolutely draining so it’s no surprise that she passed out in the middle of what must have been an incredibly boring royal engagement. She really was the most real member of the royal family.
Take this job and shovel it... One man assigned to shovel snow near Pioneer Square in Portland made sure everyone knew why the job wasn't finished
There are plenty of acceptable ways to quit your job. Employers love a heads up, so a two week’s notice is always good. One might say that it’s probably the best way to give everyone time to settle into their new reality, but if a two week’s notice isn’t possible then carving “I QUIT” into the ground outside of a job is just as good.
As someone who’s never had to shovel snow for money or pleasure it looks like a hard job. Not only is it a job where the thing you’re removing is constantly replacing itself, but it occurs in near freezing conditions. It’s a thankless job and honestly it looks like this guy made the right move.
Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1992
When a quarter of your cast is wearing denim shirts and there are two grown men in backwards baseball hats you know you’re looking at something from 1992. Every generation has their favorite SNL cast, but this group of comedians from the early ‘90s inarguably breathed fresh air back into a show that had its back against the wall for about a decade. When Rock, Farley, and Sandler joined the cast it didn’t just revitalize the program, but it introduced America to some of the biggest comedy stars of the era. Aside from Farley, who passed away in 1997, and Phil Hartman, who passed away a year later, everyone in this photo is still making waves and busting guts.
The surf's always up at Wave Rock in Western Australia
It may look like a massive slate wave, or a decrepit drainage ditch, but this towering curve is Wave Rock, a formation shaped by wind and rain that stands above a plain in Hyden, Australia. The formation looks as if Medusa turned a coming wave to stone, but this smooth rock that stands 50 feet high and 300 feet wide took a millennia to form.
The craziest thing about this “wave” is that it’s just a part of a huge, smooth formation inside of a hill known as Hyden Rock. Wave Rock is one of many beautiful spots in Australia that were formed from thousands of years of erosion, try and hang ten on the wave if you ever get the chance.
This worker painting the Eiffel Tower with finesse in 1953.
Upkeep on the Eiffel Tower is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. It’s a round the clock job that keeps at least one part of the monument in a constant state of cleaning or reconstruction, however the city holds off on repainting the tower for seven years at a time. Since its unveiling at the 1889 World’s Fair the Tower has undergone a few different color changes. It began its life with a red hue before it was repainted reddish-brown. As the years have ticked on the Tower has transitioned to more of a mustard yellow color. It’s not clear if every painter working on the Tower has the same flair as this fellow, but it’s France so the possibility is highly likely.
Tree kangaroos pose for a photo in their tropical rain forest habitat
It’s strange to think that a new species of animal could be discovered in the 20th century, haven’t we scoured every inch of land on the planet? In 1990 explorers were surprised to discover a cute new species of kangaroo living in the Torricelli Mountains of Papua New Guinea. The golden-mantled tree kangaroo primarily lives in New Guinea and northern Queensland where they eat plants and see to themselves.
They have pouches like their marsupial brothers and sisters the kangaroos and wallabies, but as macropods these animals dwell in the trees, making them the largest tree living mammals in Australia.
Smoke up kids, it's time to watch "The Flintstones"
Imagining a world where the Flintstones weren’t just a regular thing that people know about is so strange, not just because they’re the modern Stone Age family, but because so many of the show’s phrases made their way into popular culture. That’s not the strangest thing about this vintage ad for the premiere of The Flintstones, it’s the fact that it’s sponsored by Winston cigarettes. It wouldn’t pass muster today, but in the early ‘60s it wasn’t out of the question for a children’s program to be sponsored by a cigarette company. There were even animated ads for Winston cigarettes that practically feel like they’re from the Stone Age.
Before she was a blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe was a brunette named Norma Jeane
Marilyn Monroe had her sights set on stardom from a young age. Born Norma Jeane, in 1942 she married a 21-year-old factory worker named James Dougherty when she was only 16. She dropped out of school and settled into the suburban life of cooking and cleaning. In 1943 she moved to Santa Catalina Island with Dougherty after he enlisted in the Merchant Marines, a move that had a major effect on the rest of Monroe’s life. A year later she took up a job at the Radioplane Company in Van Nuys where a photographer discovered her on a shoot to raise morale with American troops. She was so enthralled with the experience that she quit her job and became a full time model. It would only be a few years until she took her first acting role in Dangerous Years.
Gorgeous in green, a 42-year-old Betty White in 1964
Betty White is the embodiment of the idea of sticking to the grind. Audiences first got to know White in the 1940s with programs like To Tell the Truth and The Jack Paar Tonight Show. By the late ‘50s she had two of her own programs, both called The Betty White Show. One was a daytime talk show on NbC and the other was a prime-time variety show on ABC.
As her television work wained in the late ‘50s, White popped up on network game shows throughout the 1960s. She appeared so often on Password that she eventually married the show’s host Allen Ludden in 1963. This decade was simply was resting place for White, as the following decades would see her become busier than ever.
Whatever you do don't drop this beautiful Victorian aquarium made in 1875.
Victorians refused to do anything low key. Whether it was building a glass home for their fish or building homes they had to let people know that they had the money to make it beautiful. Even though the first recorded appearance on an aquarium was in the Roman era (because they invented literally everything), the Victorians were the first people to decorate the holders in order to make them them aesthetically pleasing.
Keeping fish became a major hobby in England by the 1850s, and for a while it was the popular fad to have an odd tank design. In 1876 the world’s first aquarium magazine, New York Aquarium Journal, was published. Who knew the 19th century was such a great time for aquariums?
The cliffs of Étretat on the north coast of France were formed from a millennia of erosion
Near the coast of Normandy stands Étretat, a quaint and quiet town that sits on the edge of the north coast that’s famous for its white chalk cliffs that hang above the Atlantic Ocean like skyscrapers made of stone. The cliffs, the Porte d'Aval arch and L'Aiguille, were formed by the beat of the water and the erosion of the wind.
Even though the cliffs stand like titans in the sea they can be scaled by a series of steep paths that climb up the hills, but even if you decide to simply look at the cliffs rather than climb them from across the water you’ll get a spectacular view.
Four year-old Theodore Roosevelt was constantly sick, but he went out of his way to change that
Before Theodore Roosevelt was president, an explorer, and a big game hunter he was simply the second of four children born in New York City. As young man he was sickly and constantly fighting off asthma attacks, but he sought to change that aspect of his life and began training to cure himself of the defects with which he was born.
While he was undergoing home tutoring, the young Roosevelt exercised regularly. He hiked, he swam, and he rode horses until he was fit as a fiddle and no longer shackled to the physical issues that kept him down.
Standing on the lap of Ramses, 1867
There are many statues of Ramses throughout the world, but none of them are as magnificent as this statue that are located in the rock cut temples of Nubia, near the borders of Sudan. The temples were hidden by dust and time for centuries before they were rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1813 when he noticed the tops of the temples jutting out from the sand.
The main temple actually features four different statues of Ramses that measure 65 feet in height and 13 feet in width. The statues have been eroded by time and visitors to the monuments, but they persist, unaware of the world around them.
This elegant 1957 Porsche 356 may be yellow but it's no lemon
Simple, fast, airy, the Porsche 356 Speedster was built after American distributor Max Hoffman told the company that they needed to create an automobile that could compete with the more popular British and Italian cars that were selling at the time. Due to the cost of materials and manufacturing Porches of the day were expensive, but the Speedster was a minimalist’s dream and it sold for about $3,000.
Due to their spartan design, these hand built cars became staples of the American amateur racing scene. Even now Speedsters are fun to drive whether you’re taking it out for a Sunday spin or you’re tearing up the two lane blacktop for pink slips.
Janis Joplin having a beer during band rehearsal in San Francisco, 1967.
Janis Joplin had been performing her entire life, but it was her breakthrough performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 that introduced her to the world. At the time this southern gal was singing for the San Francisco band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Film and music producer Lou Adler said that everyone who saw Joplin sing was blown away because they didn’t expect her to have such golden pipes. He explained:
No one to that point had seen a White girl sing the blues like she sang it. And she was a tough Texas girl, she lived really tough, she drank tough, she did drugs, too many and too tough. But as a vocalist, her performance at Monterey was also one of the great concert performances of all time.
A gorgeous mother and daughter taking a stroll in New York City, 1970
The 1970s were some of the darkest years for New York City. Even though its remembered as a time when the city was wild and free of the suburban-esque condos and mini malls that seem to grow out of the town’s very center, it was an era where women and men alike were afraid to walk down the streets, when entire neighborhoods looked like bombed out war zones.
Even though New York City was a dangerous place to be, families grew and sustained themselves. They made their own paths through the seedy burrows, and they even thrived in a place were it seemed impossible for someone to grow into a normal person.
Paul McCartney keeping his daughter Mary warm inside his jacket, 1970.
This photo of Paul McCartney and his daughter Mary tucked gently inside his coat can be found on the back of his debut solo album, “McCartney” from 1970. Recorded at his home in St. John’s Wood with a rudimentary set up so he could record every instrument on his own. Before recording the album McCartney was depressed over the private breakup of The Beatles, and he spent most of his time drinking alone. After his wife, Linda, encouraged to work on his own material he snapped out of his funk and got to work. In 2001 he told Mary, no longer a baby hidden in a jacket:
I nearly had a breakdown. I suppose the hurt of it all, and the disappointment, and the sorrow of losing this great band, these great friends... I was going crazy.
The photo of McCartney and his daughter is seen as the singer-songwriter’s thesis on the album as a whole. The photo, taken by Linda, shows McCartney re-dedicating himself to his family and his home.
Eternally classic, President Kennedy and Jacqueline watch the America's Cup at Newport, Rhode Island in 1962
President Kennedy and his family loved the water. They weren’t just comfortable getting on boats and heading into the briny deep, they were fans of the pomp and circumstance that surrounded boating. During a vacation at Hammersmith Farm in Newport in September 1962, the president and his Jackie watched the America’s Cup race from the USS Joseph P. Kennedy off Newport, Rhode Island. While describing her husband’s love of the sea, Jacqueline Kennedy said:
It was really the boat that relaxed him the most. It was for what getting out on a horse was for me, in the air, no phone. He loved the sun and the water and no phone.
The ornate reading room of the Suzzallo Library in the University of Washington in Seattle was built in 1926.
The central library of the University of Washington, the Suzzallo Library boasts a significant amount of titles and a beautifully designed space for students to research and study. The Gothic library was designed by Charles H. Bebb and Carl F. Gould who initially wanted to construct a bell tower, although those plans never came to fruition.
Construction of the library began in 1926 but it wasn’t finished until 1963. Aside from the library’s ornate reading room the library features a grand staircase and oak bookcases topped with hand-carved friezes of native plants. They really don’t make libraries like they used to.
Two young, sleepy explorers make the Chicago papers back in 1952.
There’s nothing like going on a little adventure. These two Chicagoland buddies found that out when they skipped out on their bed time to ride the L train through the darkness of the city. Their parents were obviously worried about them when they weren’t in their beds, but thankfully everything worked out when they were brought into the police station.
Sometimes you just have to get up and go, even if that means hopping on the metro and riding for hours with no destination. These two young vagabonds are an inspiration to anyone who’s accidentally ridden the subway for a few stops too long.
The zaretis itys mimics dead, dried leaves down to the bite marks from other bugs
Talk about wanting to blend in with your surroundings. The Zaretis itys, otherwise known as a skeletonized leafwing or leaf wing butterfly stays out of harm’s way by camouflaging itself as a dead, dry leaf. This bug is so adept at hiding that it can recreate holes, tears, and bites from other bugs. The bite marks on their wings are actually translucent pieces of tissue, this is a pretty savvy butterfly. The leaf wing can be found in humid deciduous forest habitats where they feed on fruit and moisture while living in the bottom branches of trees. That’s not a bad life.
German boys take a break to get some much deserved chocolate
Who can resist a Storck Riesen? That chocolate flavored caramel covered in dark chocolate that melts in your mouth and gets gummed up in your teeth has been a fixture on the German candy scene since the 1930s. When this photo was taken in 1955 it was one of the few candy that could be purchased individually, making it both cheap and efficient for getting your chocolate fix.
This photo shows that kids have always loved to have something sweet in the middle of a long day. Luckily for these children they grew up in the middle of an area that has some of the best chocolate known to man.
The skeleton of the largest turtle to have ever lived on display at the Yale Peabody museum of Natural History, 1902
The Archelon ischyros is the largest turtle to have ever lived, and at a size of 15 feet from head to tail and 13 feet from flipper to flipper it really makes you think about the size of the animals that were trying to eat this big boy for lunch. These giant turtles lived approximately 80 to 66 million years ago in Late Cretaceous era South Dakota and Wyoming. Rather than act like raging dinosaurs, these giant turtles had a disposition similar to that of common leatherbacks. They could weigh up to two tons and fed mostly on mollusks, jellyfish, and cephalopods.
A young boy takes his first step into adulthood and beyond
The first day of school is stressful for everyone involved, but for the young person taking their first steps away from the nest into a brand new environment it can be scary. Not only is it a whole new world, one that’s filled with brand new people and obstacles, but the first day of school is a demarcation line between a time in a person’s life. No longer is this child able to stay at home all day, safe with their toys, they’re now tasked with going into the real world where anything can happen. Growing up is bittersweet, but it helps to have friends like Woody and Buzz waiting back at home.