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Texas, United States


Historical Photographs Of Contemplative Bygone Eras

I've always been fascinated with the art of photography. I have countless albums full of family photographs including those I've taken on trips along my winding path. I still spend time enjoying them on occasion. They document the past and I love to view that from the perspective of the present.  I find it makes you think of things you were not aware of when 
the photos were originally taken. 

Below is a group of historical photos an old friend sent me, one of those email send arounds I sometimes enjoy, sometimes not. Included are the captions that came with them. These did grab my attention so I'm sharing them, feeling most will find them interesting also. Some are funny, some sad, some peculiar, and all  reminders of our unique and varied past.

Animals being used as a part of medical therapy in 1956
Smallpox victim-New York 1881

I feel polio and smallpox vaccines were
 two of the greatest advances in medicine ever.
A mom and her son watch the mushroom cloud after an atomic 
                     test 75 miles away, Las Vegas , 1953
1928 fashion show at the beach
A space chimp poses for the camera after a 
                                successful mission to space in 1961
Abraham Lincoln's hearse, 1865
Advertisement for Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug. Sign was put up
at the 363rd station hospital in Papua ,  New Guinea during WWII

A penniless mother hides her face in shame after 
putting her children up for sale, Chicago , 1948

This era was around the end of the Great Depression
and a few years after WWII that left a lot of widows desperate. 

Annette Kellerman promoted women's right to wear a fitted one-piece
bathing suit, 1907. She was arrested for indecency. time changes fashion and minds.
Artificial legs, United Kingdom , ca. 1890

Annie Edison Taylor (1838-1921), the first person to 
survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She

did it in 1901 because she needed money, and after 

doing it said she wouldn't recommend it to anyone!

Sounds like good advice to me.

A most beautiful suicide - 23 year old Evelyn McHale
leapt to her death from an observation deck (83rd floor)

of the Empire State Building , May 1, 1947.  She landed

on a United Nations limousine.
Austrian boy receives new shoes during WWII
Bookstore ruined by an air raid, London 1940
Only known authenticated photo of Billy the Kid,ca. 1879
Charlie Chaplin in 1916 at the age of 27

Children eating their Christmas dinner during the
Great Depression: turnips and cabbage

I heard "horror" stories from my parents and grandparents about this era growing up and never realized, until I was an adult, I lived through a decade of The Depression. Dad had a job and my parents raised beef and a variety of vegetables 
so food was always plentiful.

Construction of the Berlin Wall, 1961

The Cold War was just as scary, at times, as WWII that 
preceded and instigated it, because by then we were well 
aware of what atomic bombs could do and knew the Russians 
found out from spies how to build them.

Construction of the Manhattan Bridge , 1908
Former slave showing whipping scars
Frozen Niagara Falls , 1911

Hotel owner pouring acid in the water when black people 
swam in his pool, ca. 1964

How could parents ensure that their children were getting 
sunlight and fresh air when living in apartment buildings? 

The baby cage, ca. 1937

Illegal alcohol being poured out during Prohibition, 
Detroit 1929

Martin Luther King Jr. with his son by his side removing a burnt 
cross from his front yard, 1960
Jesse James, approximately 16 years old

Measuring bathing suits in the early 1920s. If they 
were too short,the women would be fined

I bet a lot of guys applied for the "measuring" jobs.

New York City fire station, ca. 1912

Operation Babylift: Vietnamese orphans transported by 
airplanes to America in 1975

Polish children examined by German officers to see if 
they qualify as Aryan, and would be allowed to live

President Richard Nixon trying to use chopsticks while 
visiting China in 1972
Santa Claus in New York, ca. 1900
Sharing bananas with a goat during the Battle of Saipan , ca. 1944
Suntan vending machine, 1949

Talk about turning orange in a hurry.
Testing new bulletproof vests, 1923

I suppose it hadn't occurred to law officers yet
they could use test dummies.
The Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln in 1861
The original Ronald clown of McDonald's in 1963
The real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, ca. 1927
Unknown soldier in Vietnam , 1965

Putting on a crinoline (skirt support), 1855

Oh Wow...I'm sure happy this painful heavy  looking  
fashion  went out of style. I imagine the
guys back then were too.


DMS said...

There are so many fascinating photos that I will have to come back to think about them all!

It is amazing to think about the medical advancements that have taken place in the past 200 years!

I love the boy's expression when he got new shoes.

Amazing to think of watching the nuclear bomb tests- and scary to think about what the observers must have been exposed to!

The Depression was such a terrible time for so many people. I know times are tough now, but most people are not anywhere near as bad off as people were at that time. All that I have read about that time makes me amazed at what people went through and their will and determination to survive. Thanks for sharing.

I will come back to look through the rest!

Anna Maria said...

Jess...It amazes me just to think about all the medical advancements in my lifetime. I had relatives who had polio and I was terrified of it for my small children. I remember standing with them in long lines to get some of the first Salk vaccine that was passed out on sugar cubes.

I also remember seeing the mushroom clouds on newsreels at the movies and had bad dreams about them after they were used in Japan...hopefully, never again.

Yes, the Depression era was awful, and we didn't have much except adequate food, a home and clothes. I do remember going to Houston and seeing endless lines of people waiting in "soup" lines and feeling very sorry for them.

Thanks for visiting again!

Jon said...

It's interesting to see that Billy the Kind and Jesse James had the same look on their faces that the young men have today when they want to look tough!

Anna Maria said...

I suppose the only difference between Billy and Jesse and today's "outlaws" is "honor", they robbed banks and trains for gold back then with six shot revolvers and rifles.

Today's savage outlaws shoot up theatres and schools and shopping malls with AK-47's and huge ammunition clips, or massive explosives, with no mercy or motive any sane person can figure out.


Can you believe that Baby Cage? What were they thinking?

And seeing that mushroom cloud. What was that photo trying to depict? That they weren't that harmless?

That smallpox photo--eegads. You're so right. Vaccines are such a godsend.

And those horrid scars on the former slave... and the acid in the swimming pool... such atrocities.

I have a hard time believing that suicide victim really landed that casually, with no blood or exposed innards on the top of a limo. But it was too early for Photoshop so who knows?

These photos are really DEEP. They make me think and make me grateful to be alive today. The world can still be cruel place but the strides we've made are enormous.

EXCELLENT post, Anna.

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Grace...yes, some of these old photos really make you stop and I wondered if whoever was pouring out all that alcohol made sure not one was around to light a match.

I imagine the mushroom cloud photo was taken before they realized how much radiation atom bombs caused and how terrible the effects were.

As for the "beautiful suicide," as if there were such a thing...It puzzled me too, as if it might have been from a movie.

Yes, civilization has come a long way just in my lifetime. TV, air condition, cell phones, computers, and frozen TV dinners...yuck!

DMS said...

I said I would be back to finish taking it all in! :)

Amazing to see all those babies on the plane!

I bet you are right- lots of men probably signed up to measure the swimsuits. :)

I am so happy that the long skirts with all that came with them are long gone! I imagine they would be so hot and so much work to put on.

Thanks for sharing these pictures. Many of them put things in perspective. Even if my day was tough- it was better than so many things that have happened from history. We have come a long way! :)

Anna Maria said...

Jess...indeed we have come a long way...especially regarding women's rights.

I once worked with a girl who was among the Vietnamese baby's sent to the USA for safety. As an adult, she got to go back and meet her family over there who gave her up for her own protection. It was quite an emotional and joyful reunion for her.

As that soldier's helmet says, "War Is Hell!"...especially that one in Vietnam.

Gavin Doyle said...

Excellent collection !

Anna Maria said...

Thanks for visiting Gavin! I'm happy you enjoyed them, they are unique.