Category: vintage

Train travelers wearing masks to avoid catching (or spreading) the deadly Spanish Influenza (1918-1920)

Built more than 3,000 years ago, Abu Simbel contains two temples, carved into a mountainside. The larger of the two temples contains four colossal statues of a seated pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) at its entrance, each about 69 feet (21 meters) tall.

About 3,300 years later, when the Aswan Dam was to be built to control the flooding of the Nile River, the temples were threatened. Their location would be beneath the water of the lake created by the dam. UNESCO stepped in to save Abu Simbel and many more ancient Egyptian sites by disassembling and reassembling them, very carefully, above the waterline.

Built more than 3,000 years ago, Abu Simbel contains two temples, carved into a mountainside. The larger of the two temples contains four colossal statues of a seated pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) at its entrance, each about 69 feet (21 meters) tall. About 3,300 years later, when the Aswan Dam was to be built to control the flooding of the Nile River, the temples were threatened. Their location would be beneath the water of the lake created by the dam. UNESCO stepped in to save Abu Simbel, and many more ancient Egyptian sites, by disassembling and reassembling them, very carefully, above the waterline.

After the stock market crash in 1929, American department stores had a conundrum. How could they sell fashion and stay in business in a country that was experiencing such a severe economic depression? There were various answers to that question. Some stores went high-end, trying to tempt women with the most glamorous and expensive looking clothes. Other stores went bargain basement, selling as cheap as possible. Neither approach worked very well.

In 1932 Lord and Taylor, led by Dorothy Shaver, tried something different: promoting American fashion designers <b>as</b> American fashion designers. Until then, French fashion was dominant, and everyone worked for French fashion houses or copied their products. But under Shaver’s direction, American fashion became desirable for being American. Between 1932 and 1939, Shaver’s presentations featured the practical sportswear creations of more than sixty designers. These designers espoused a new “American Look” which was made up of interchangeable separates, in simple designs, which could look good at multiple types of events.

This was revolutionary. Today, it is hard to grasp how much of a jump this was, but before the American Look, fashion was about selling women complete looks (usually a dress, perhaps with a matching jacket) which could be worn at specific types of events. It was assumed chic women would change at least twice a day, so their outfits could match their activities, and that whatever they were doing their dress would not get dirty or sweaty. The American Look did away with that.

The American lady at top is from 1935. Notice how her jacket and printed silk top are separates, able to be mixed and matched.

At its most extreme, the Bullet Bra looked truly ridiculous. The style celebrated separated, pointy busts and was popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Fighting a fire at City Hall at -2 F (-18 C). Leiden, Netherlands in 1929. Some equipment broke due to the freezing temperatures (you can see the water frozen on the ground) and the firefighters have frozen mustaches! Behind them is the mayor, watching them fight the blaze.

Unknown Filipino lady wearing traditional “Terno,” or “María Clara” ensemble. Circa 1890s

An American Civil War veteran telling war stories to shoe shine boys.

The picture was the prize-winning amateur photograph from the 1935 Newspaper National
Snapshot Awards was taken by Mrs. Nathan Klein of Wyoming, Pennsylvania.
The note on the back reads: “Old soldier talking to bootblacks.”

The Civil War veteran talking to the shoeshiners is wearing a distinctive hat. It is the cap of the Grand Army of the
Republic (GAR) — the largest Union veterans’ organization — founded in 1866. The number
on the cap tells us his post was 139, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

In 1959, Swedish bandy players abandoned the Forsbacka vs Köping game early in the 2nd half, after the ice broke beneath them. (Bandy is a form of hockey with 11 players and a round ball.) The winter had been unusually warm and over 20 bandy games at already been cancelled as most were still being played on frozen lakes. After this season, bandy began shifting towards indoor rinks.

Dancers perform a Lakhon play. This is a Thai genre of dance-drama, where stories are told through dance. Lakhons may illustrate the Hindu epic Ramakien,
the stories of the Hindu god Krishna, ancient Buddhist Jataka stories, or folk-tales.

My favorite detail is the lady sharing a smile with the child. My second favorite detail is the stuffed pig, perched in the child’s lap.