Bring back some good or bad memories


March 31, 2017

Vivid Color Photographs of Life in the Soviet Union in the 1950s Taken by a U.S. Diplomat

American historian Douglas Smith who specializes in Soviet history discovered a collection of photographs and videos in the home of Martin Manhoff, a US diplomat who served in USSR, that he took in 1952—1954.

According to Smith, after Manhoff’s wife died he was asked to check the home of a former official for valuable memorabilia. “I was amazed at what I discovered. There are thousand of color photographs taken on the streets of Moscow, Leningrad, Murmansk, Yalta, and at points along the Trans-Siberian Railroad,” Smith says.

The archive also includes unique footage from Joseph Stalin’s funeral — it was taken from the window of the US embassy in Moscow, located in the Hotel National.

Whether shooting Moscow street scenes from a chauffeured car, or writing home about their experiences, Martin Manhoff and his wife Jan were piecing together an intimate, vivid portrait of life behind the Iron Curtain in the early 1950s.

Ostankino Palace, Moscow.

Approaching the Kremlin on Moskvoretskaya naberezhnaya, Moscow.

Driving up Moscow's Bolshaya Nikitskaya ulitsa, with the Stalinist skyscraper on Kudrinskaya ploshchad rising in background.

Driving down Novinsky bulvar, Moscow.

Log-topped housing and ramshackle sheds topped with corrugated steel in Moscow's Tagansky raion.

In 1957, the BBC Pulled Off the Best April Fools’ Day Prank Ever – The Spaghetti Tree Hoax

The BBC has always been known for its highly reputable broadcasts. So it hit that much harder when, in 1957, the BBC crafted a hilarious April Fool’s Day broadcast in which they showed a family in southern Switzerland reaping fresh noodles from the family spaghetti tree.

As unbelievable as it sounds now, spaghetti was, at the time, foreign to most UK residents, and many had no idea the delectable noodles were simply made of flour and water. A number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees; the BBC told them to “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

It was estimated that 8 million people watched the broadcast the day it aired on April 1, 1957, making it one of the most widespread famous hoaxes in broadcasting history. Decades later, CNN called this broadcast “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”

The “Ghost Town” of Vilarinho da Furna, a Drowned Roman Village

Vilarinho da Furna, also called Vilarinho das Furnas, is a Portuguese “ghost town” full of history and stories. And water… Where today flows the Albufeira de Vilarinho das Furnas once existed one of the most charming villages of the Gerês National Park.

In 1967, construction began on a dam that would flood areas of the River Homem, and provide massive hydroelectricity to the region. Amid some protest, the Portuguese Electricity Company paid off residents to leave their homes, as the dam would completely submerge the small village of 300 people. In 1971, the last resident left the town, and its barren structures awaited the deluge that would bury it beneath the river.

In 1972, the town was submerged, plunging over 2000 years of history in the village into water. According to oral accounts, the town was founded by Romans in the 1st century C.E., and was prosperous throughout its history. Today, the barren walls, windows and doors rise mysteriously when the dam water levels fall.

A museum dedicated to the lost city was built in nearby São João do Campo, and other commemoration efforts have taken place since the town was flooded 40 years ago. Recently, boats with transparent bottoms have also taken tourists near the village so the remains of the city can be seen and the history not lost forever.

Here are some old photos of Vilarinho da Furna:

... and pictures of the village emerging from under the water:

Rare Photos of Alaska Natives From the Late 19th to the Early 20th Centuries

Alaska Natives are indigenous peoples of Alaska, United States: Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures. They are often defined by their language groups.

Ancestors of the Alaska Natives are known to have migrated into the area thousands of years ago, in at least two different waves. Some are descendants of a third wave of migration in which people settled across the northern part of North America. They never migrated to southern areas.

Throughout the Arctic and northern areas, the ancestors of the Alaska Natives established varying indigenous, complex cultures that have succeeded each other over time. They developed sophisticated ways to deal with the challenging climate and environment, and cultures rooted in the place.

A set of 27 collected photos that shows portraits and everyday life of Alaska Natives from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries.

Myths Debunked: That Famous Photo of Teddy Roosevelt Riding a Moose is Fake!

Many of Theodore Roosevelt’s adventures seem like something out of a tall tale: he survived an assassination attempt; nearly died while exploring the Amazonian jungle; and became the first president to drive a car and fly in a plane; among many others. Despite having been a larger-than-life figure, this is one thing that Teddy Roosevelt never did: ride a swimming moose.

In 1912, Roosevelt split from the Republican Party, after having become unhappy with its increasingly conservative policies. He then ran for President as head of the newly formed Progressive Party. After forming this party, Roosevelt exuberantly proclaimed, "I'm feeling like a bull moose!" For which reason, the Progressive Party was often referred to as the "Bull Moose Party."

Two months before the election, on Sep 8, 1912, the New York Tribune ran a set of humorous pictures under the headline "The Race For The White House," showing the three main presidential candidates astride the animals associated with their parties.

William Howard Taft was shown riding an elephant (for the Republican party). Woodrow Wilson sat on a donkey (for the Democratic party). And Roosevelt rode a moose (for the Bull Moose party).

All three images were fake. They had been created by the photographic firm Underwood and Underwood.

Close inspection of the Roosevelt image reveals the signs of fakery. The firm had extracted Roosevelt's image from a photo of him riding a horse and pasted it into a shot of a swimming moose. Scratch lines are visible around Roosevelt's leg, where the photo editor tried to simulate water ripples. Also, Roosevelt's image is more sharply focused than that of the moose.

But, of course, the image was not supposed to be mistaken for a real scene. It was clearly presented as political humor.

Roosevelt lost the 1912 election to Woodrow Wilson, and the image of him riding a moose disappeared into photo archives. But in the 21st Century the image resurfaced and began circulating online where many people assumed it depicted an actual event.

(via Houghton Library Blog)

March 30, 2017

Invisible Women: 30 Spooky Studio Portraits of Victorian Babies Held by Their Mothers

With exposure times of half a minute, Victorian mothers wanting a portrait of their children had to disguise themselves as chairs, couches and curtains to hold them still. The results are often unintentionally funny.

Many of the women have made themselves more, rather than less, conspicuous. The effect is rather like children who believe that if they cover their eyes they become invisible.

These images of hidden mothers (and possibly fathers, although it’s hard to tell, of course), simultaneously absent and present, illustrate something that still resonates today. Disguised as armchairs, hiding behind pillars or crouching on the carpet, these ghostly figures remind us of the way that we all, regardless of age or circumstance, continue to be guided by that comforting, imprisoning maternal grasp.

Incredible Photos Show a Harem of Wives Taken by India’s ‘Photographer Prince’ More Than 100 Years Ago

As the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ram Singh II was famous for many things. It was during his reign that slavery, infanticide and other cruel customs were abolished. He was also known for being a rather avid photographer who captured the costumes and culture of his kingdom.

The pictures were taken between 1857 and 1865, and the collection of glass negatives were to remain untouched for more than a century. Under the watchful eye of British photographer T. Murray, the Maharaja - who became known as the country's first Photographer Prince and who often used his four wives as subjects - developed his interest in the emerging art, and took intimate shots of the ornately-dressed people who surrounded him each day.

According to accounts of his life, he spent hours in his laboratory developing photographs and recording images which proved a treasure trove for historians. These images give a rare insight into the life of a 19th Century Indian Maharajah.

Portrait of a woman in the harem of the royal palace of Jaipur, India, 1857–1865. (Photo by Maharaja Ram Singh III/Alinari via Getty Images)

Full portrait of a woman in the harem in the royal palace of Jaipur, India, 1857–1865. (Photo by Maharaja Ram Singh III/Alinari via Getty Images)

Portrait of a woman in the harem of the royal palace of Jaipur, India, circa 1857. (Photo by Maharaja Ram Singh III/Alinari Archives, Florence/Alinari via Getty Images)

Double portrait of a woman in the harem of the royal palace of Jaipur, India, 1857–1865. (Photo by Maharaja Ram Singh III/Alinari via Getty Images)

Double portrait of a woman in the harem of the royal palace of Jaipur, India, 1857–1865. (Photo by Maharaja Ram Singh III/Alinari via Getty Images)

Divas of the Italian Silent Cinema: 28 Glamorous Portrait Photos of Italian Actresses From Between the 1910s and '20s

Beautiful, talented... Elena Sangro, Francesca Bertini, Lyda Borelli... were really the divas of the Italian silent cinema. Check out these glamorous photos to see more of Italian actresses in this era.

Anna Fougez

Bianca Renieri

Carmen Boni

Claretta Rosay

Diomira Jacobini

Afro: The Popular Hairstyle of African-American People in the Late 1960s and '70s

Afro, sometimes abbreviated to 'fro' and also known as a 'natural', is a hairstyle worn naturally by people with lengthy kinky hair texture or specifically styled in such a fashion by individuals with naturally curly or straight hair. The hairstyle is created by combing the hair away from the scalp, allowing the hair to extend out from the head in a large, rounded shape, much like a cloud or ball.

In people with naturally curly or straight hair, the hairstyle is typically created with the help of creams, gels or other solidifying liquids to hold the hair in place. Particularly popular in the African-American community of the late 1960s.

Here are some beautiful photos that show this hairstyle of African-American people in the late 1960s and the 1970s.

17 Amazing Vintage Photographs Show the Brutal Lives of American Gangsters From the 1920s and 1930s

In the early 20th century, Chicago was one of the most crime-ridden places in America. After the passage of Prohibition, in 1920, powerful gangs of bootleggers, gangsters, and smugglers formed to profit from illegal alcohol trafficking. Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and John Dillinger and their gangs became household names that were equal parts criminals and celebrities.

From cold-blooded murders to running battles with the police, these black-and-white pictures shed light on the brutal lives of gun-toting gangsters during the American Depression. The amazing images show notorious mobsters such as Al Capone who committed violent crimes in their search to get rich quick during the early 1930s.

Police officers look over distilling equipment and guns confiscated during a Prohibition raid, Chicago, ca.1920s. (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Edwin C. Arthur stands in the center of a collection of containers of moonshine taken during a South Side raid in Chicago, Illinois, 1922. From the Chicago Daily News collection. (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Lieutenant William Shoemacher stands and aims a Thompson machine gun, or tommy gun, Chicago, 1926. The gun, developed for World War I, was very popular with gangsters due to its high rate of fire. From the Chicago Daily News collection. (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Primed for warfare, Chicago gangsters forced police to equip themselves with miniature arsenals to cope with gang wars. Deputy Chief Stege (right) hands out machine guns to detectives while Chief of Detectives Shoemaker (fourth from left) looks on, January 09, 1927. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

The body of noted gang chief Frankie Yale, who was born Francesco Ioele, lies beside his automobile at 44th Street, after Yale was shot to death from a pursuing automobile on July 02, 1928. Yale's car crashed into a house and he was thrown out of the car. (Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images)

March 29, 2017

These Bizarre and Hilarious Vintage Postcards You Wish You’d Never Seen

Today, postcards are seen as a rather old-fashioned form of communication, sent to friends while on holiday as an entertaining novelty.

But in the past, the pictures were inventive and original, used to share wicked jokes and sly observations on everyday life.

These hilarious vintage postcards provide a fascinating glimpse of life in times gone by - but might well be seen as offensive or politically incorrect today.



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