Sunday, September 28, 2014

15 Bizarre Historical Photographs


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Some of these photographs have appeared in Bytes previously.
Fascinating photographs of interesting incidents and times.

The post is from:

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This photo is of Ham the Chimp, the first chimpanzee to be successfully launched into space in 1961. The snapshot was taken after his return. His name is an acronym for the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, which is the lab that prepared him for such an important mission. However, he was only given the name upon his return since officials did not want the press to have a name to use for public shaming should the mission have failed. Following the trip, Ham called Washington D.C.’s National Zoo home for 17 years. His remains may now be found at the International Space Hall of Fame in New Mexico.

In 1967, Sweden changed its laws so that drivers had to start driving on the right-hand side of the road. The law was implemented to accommodate left-handed vehicles, reduce collisions and keep up with the trends of neighboring countries Norway and Finland. The day the law took effect is called Dagen H, or more popularly “Högertrafikomläggningen” (“The right-hand traffic diversion”), and this picture depicts the mass confusion that ensued. While the switch appeared to be successful in the short term, accident rates and insurance claims returned to normal after a couple years—likely after Swedes grew accustomed to driving on the right hand side of the road.

This picture of a girl holding a doll in the rubble of her former home is one of the most poignant and disturbing images from World War Two, and one that succinctly articulates the scope of devastation following the 1940 London bombings.

Walter Yeo was a sailor during World War One who suffered facial injuries while manning guns on board the HMS Warspite. In 1917, Yeo became the first man to undergo advanced plastic surgery, which was administered by “the father of plastic surgery” Sir Harold Gillies. Around two years later, Yeo was considered fit for service again.

Taken in 1964, this image shows hotel owner James E. “Jimmy” Brock pouring muriatic acid into the Monson Motor Lodge pool. Such a move came as black patrons entered the water in protest of Brock having Martin Luther King Jr. and other black activists arrested for trespassing earlier in the month.

When Prohibition was introduced to America in the late 1920s, it ushered in an illustrious and rampant illegal trade of alcohol. This image was taken in a Detroit distillery in 1929, where Prohibition agents found and confiscated illegal liquor by pouring it out the window.

Snapped in 1908 by investigative photographer and sociologist Lewis Hine, this iconic image aided substantially in the fight to outlaw child labor in the United States. It features the “breaker boys”, or child laborers who would spend their days separating coal from slate. Hine would spend a decade documenting child labor throughout the United States, using his camera as a tool to advocate for social and political change. As the century progressed, though, fewer and fewer people were interested in seeing Hine’s work. Toward the end of his life, Hine lost his home and had to apply for welfare.

This disturbing photograph was taken on August 7, 1930 in Marion, Indiana, and shows the lynching of two young black men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith. The two were accused of robbing and murdering a white factory worker and raping his white girlfriend. Townspeople, along with the help of police officers, broke into the cells and hanged Shipp and Smith. When Smith tried to free himself, participants broke his arms so that he could not try to escape again. The woman that Shipp and Smith were accused of raping later testified that she had not, in fact, been raped by them.

This eerie photograph was taken on June 23, 1940, after Adolf Hitler had just captured Paris, and was touring and admiring his new city with his architect Albert Speer. Hitler was enamored with the opera house, with Speer remarking that Hitler “went into ecstasies about its beauty, his eyes glittering with an excitement that struck [him] as uncanny.” Following the tour, Hitler is quoted to have said “It was the dream of my life to be permitted to see Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have that dream fulfilled today.”

Named by TIME Magazine as one of the 50 worst inventions of all time, this photo depicts a “baby cage”. As seen above, the cage was bizarre wire contraption patented in the US in 1922 and used widely in 1930s London by nannies who needed to give their charges fresh air within the urban confines of apartment buildings.

Katherine Switzer made waves when she entered the Boston Marathon in 1967, at a time when women were not “supposed” to run marathons. This iconic shot shows Boston Marathon organizer Jock Semple vehemently accosting Switzer to get out of the race. According to Switzer’s own personal account of the event, Semple swiped at her bib and yelled: “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers”.

By way of additional comment:  
Jock Semple is the chap in the dark clothes at the rear of Katherine Switzer. Switzer's boyfriend Tom Miller, who was running with her, shoved Semple aside and sent him flying.  For the rest of the run she was protected from interference from officials by Miller and other runners.  The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines. Switzer and Miller went on to wed but later divorced. Switzer remained a competitive marathon runner, being the female winner of the New York City Mararaton in 1974 and 59th overall. She also became a television announcer and won an Emmy.
As a result of her Boston marathon run, the AAU barred women from all competition with male runners, on pain of losing the right to compete. Switzer, with other women runners, tried to convince the Boston Athletic association to allow women to participate in the marathon. Finally, in 1972, women were welcome to run the Boston Marathon officially for the first time ever.



This 1922 photo shows Howard Carter opening King Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus after discovering the Ancient Egyptian king’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Such a discovery sparked a renewed Western interest in ancient Egypt.

Packed like sardines across all decks on the Queen Elizabeth liner, this image from 1945 is of troops being brought home to the New York harbor at the end of World War Two.

Taken in 1945, this photo depicts the liberation of Jewish prisoners released from a “death train”, the likes of which were used to transport Jewish people to concentration camps. This amazing image was taken toward the end of war in Farsleben, when US troops intercepted the Theresienstadt-bound train and liberated 2,500 people on board.

This chilling picture of an unknown Union soldier who survived the Andersonville prison camp during the US Civil War highlights the atrocities committed at Confederate military prisons in the 1860's. Built in 1864, the prison housed more than 45,000 Union soldiers, 13,000 of whom died due to disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition and overcrowding.

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