Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Old Photographs


A collection of photographs and captions from the past, from the internet, with additional comments by moi . . .

Setting a new world speed record on a motorcycle, 1948.

Extra comments:
  • The man shown on the bike above is Rolland "Rollie" Free (1900 – 1984), a motorcycle racer best known for breaking the American motorcycle land speed record in 1948 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. The picture of Free, prone and wearing a bathing suit, has been described as the most famous picture in motorcycling.
  • Free raised the speed record to 242kph/150mph using the style he had developed by removing the seat from his mount and lying prone along the back spine, thereby minimising wind resistance and placing most of the weight over the rear wheel. 
  • Free had developed special protective clothing to go with his prone position but tore those leathers from early runs at 237kph/147mph. His final attempt at the record was made in a Speedo bathing suit, a shower cap and a pair of borrowed sneakers. Not only did he get the record, he also featured in one of the best known motorcycling photographs, known as the "bathing suit bike" shot taken from a speeding car alongside his run on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The incredible beauty, Zelda Boden

Extra comments:
  • I have not been able to locate any information about Zelda Boden apart from the fact that she was a circus performer in the 1910’s and 1920’s.
  • Here is a colourised version of the same photograph:

Dalai Lama 2 years old, 1937

Extra comments:
  • The 14th Dalai Lama, (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso), (1935 - ) is the current Dalai Lama. He was born in 1935 in Tibet and was formally recognised as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940, and he eventually assumed full political duties in 1950, at the age of 15, after the People's Republic of China's invasion of Tibet.
  • During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. 
  • The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. 
  • He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women's rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various Buddhist topics.
The Dalai Lama flashes a couple of ILY signs, or is making devil horns, or is telling some husbands they are cuckolds. Haven’t worked out which yet. See if this helps . . .


Class differences, Britain, 1937

Extra comments:
  • The above photo has been dubbed “Toughs and Toffs”.
  • From Wikipedia:
“Toffs and Toughs is a 1937 photograph of five English boys: two dressed in the Harrow School uniform including waistcoat, top hat, boutonnière, and cane; and three nearby wearing the plain clothes of pre-war working class youths. The picture was taken by Jimmy Sime on 9 July 1937 outside the Grace Gates at Lord's Cricket Ground during the Eton v Harrow cricket match. It has been reproduced frequently as an illustration of the British class system, although the name "Toffs and Toughs" may be no older than 2004.”
  • Click on the above link to read the story of the photograph and as to what happened to each of the boys shown.

Arctic explorer Peter Freuchen with his wife, 1947.

Extra comments:
  • From:
The Remarkable Life of Peter Frouchen

In a portrait by Irving Penn, Peter Freuchen wears a vast coat, made from the fur of a polar bear, which only serves to emphasise his not undaunting 6’7” frame. Freuchen stands beside his third wife, Dagmar Cohn, whom he married in 1945. But the beguiling portrait only hints at the surprising life of Peter Freuchen – a deeper look reveals his staggering biography.

Freuchen was a Danish arctic explorer, anthropologist, actor and author. After studying to be a doctor at university, Freuchen participated in several arctic explorations, the first being in 1906 when he was only 20, in which, after sailing as far north as possible, a further 7,000 miles were travelled via dogsled. It was here that Freuchen discovered Inuit culture, and for over two generations he lived, hunted and travelled with the Inuit. In 1911, Freuchen married his first wife, an Inuit woman called Navarana Mequpaluk. Navarana bore him two children, a boy named Mequsaq Avataq Igimaqssusuktoranguapaluk and a girl called Pipaluk Jette Tukuminguaq Kasaluk Palika Hager. When she died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1921, the local Christian church refused to allow her burial, and so Freuchen buried her himself.

Freuchen wrote over 30 books, most famously the Book of the Eskimos, published posthumously in 1961. An autobiographical work, it described the Inuit culture Freuchen had lived within, and detailed how, in 1926, he lost a leg to frostbite, amputating several gangrenous toes himself. Off the back of his literary success, Freuchen became the head of a film company specialising in Arctic-related scripts. In 1933, he starred as the villainous character in the film Eskimo, which went on to win an Oscar.

In the 1920s Freuchen returned to Denmark and joined the Social Democrats. During the Second World War he was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, aiding refugees from the Nazis. Himself a Jew, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis but escaped to Sweden.

In 1924, Freuchen married Magdalene Vang Lauridsen, a margarine heiress, but their 20 year marriage collapsed in 1944. A year later, he met Dagmar Cohn. Cohn was a fashion illustrator, whose work made it onto the April 1947 cover of Vogue, introducing Christian Dior. As if his life couldn’t be more surprising, in 1956, Freuchen answered the $64,000 question of the American TV-show The $64,000 Question. The next year he was awarded the Gold Medal of the International Benjamin Franklin Society for his “service to mankind in opening new frontiers.” He lived with Cohn until he died of a heart attack in 1957.
  • Freuchen's grandson, Peter Ittinuar, was the first Inuk in Canada to be elected as an MP, and represented the electoral district of Nunatsiaq in the Canadian House of Commons from 1979 to 1984.
Another photograph of Peter Freuchen with his wife Dagmar Cohn

By the way, does he remind anyone else of Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones? . . .

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