Random bits of History-Rare footage.

Children for Sale

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The photo first appeared in the The Vidette-Messenger of Valparaiso, Indiana on August 5, 1948. The children looked posed and a bit confused as their pregnant mother hides her face from the photographer. The caption read: “A big ‘For Sale’ sign in a Chicago yard mutely tells the tragic story of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Chalifoux, who face eviction from their apartment. With no place to turn, the jobless coal truck driver and his wife decide to sell their four children. Mrs. Lucille Chalifoux turns her head from camera above while her children stare wonderingly. On the top step are Lana, 6, and Rae, 5. Below are Milton, 4, and Sue Ellen, 2”.

Family members accused the mother of being paid to stage the photo, which may have been part of the story, but unfortunately, she was dead serious about selling her children. Within two years all of the children pictures, as well as the baby she was carrying at the time, were sold off to different homes.

Vincent van Gogh’s actual portrait

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By 1873, the camera was an established enough invention that it wasn’t unheard of for even a 19-year-old art dealer like Vincent van Gogh to have been photographed.

Not only is this just one of two confirmed photographs of the famous painter (and the only one of him post childhood), this photo provides a jarring look at the actual visage of a man we tend only to envision by way of his famous self-portraits..

Billy The Kid, In Person With His Posse

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This photograph — only discovered in 2010 and subject to much debate over its authenticity — is one of only two known images of Billy the Kid (the other technically being a ferrotype, and a rough one at that, from 1879 or 1880).

The 1878 photo here, however, presents Billy the Kid (left) in relative clarity, playing croquet with his posse, the Regulators, in New Mexico.

The Armenian Genocide

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It’s not so much that the Armenian genocide wasn’t photographed, it’s that the event itself has been so marginalized by history books that any image is, for most, a revelation. While as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished in Turkey between 1915 and 1922, much of the world has forgotten.

Of the images that have survived, many portray Armenians being rounded up for execution. Fewer show the brutal reality of those executions. Pictured: An Armenian woman kneels beside her dead child in Aleppo, Syria, circa 1915-1919..

Loading passengers onto an airship from a mooring mast, 1930s

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In the 1920s and 1930s airship mooring masts were built in many countries. A mooring mast is a mast or tower that contains a fitting on its top that allows for the bow of the airship to attach its mooring line to the structure. When it is not necessary or convenient to put an airship into its hangar (or shed) between flights, airships can be moored to a mooring mast. After their development mooring masts became the standard approach to mooring airships as considerable manhandling was avoided.

standing-on-battlefield

Our collective image of Abraham Lincoln likely comes from either painted portraits or a small group of studio shots by photographer Matthew Brady.

To see Lincoln out in the real world and towering over his peers is another thing altogether. Pictured: Lincoln stands on the battlefield at Antietam, Maryland with Allan Pinkerton (the famed military intelligence operative who essentially invented the Secret Service, left) and Major General John A. McClernand (right) on October 3, 1862

Protesters flee after police fire machine guns into a crowd during the infamous July Days in Russia, 1917

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In the first days of July 1917, a spontaneous uprising erupted in Petrograd. The July Days, as this uprising became known, was fuelled by several factors: the Provisional Government’s attempt to escalate the war effort, a collapse in the government ministry and a constant stream of Bolshevik propaganda condemning the government and calling for a transfer of power to the Soviets.

In June dissatisfied Petrograd workers and soldiers, using Bolshevik slogans, staged a demonstration and adopted resolutions against the government. On July 3 protestors, motivated in part by the resignation of the government’s Kadet (Constitutional Democratic) ministers, marched through Petrograd to the Tauride Palace to demand that the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies assume formal power. The Bolsheviks, initially reluctant, attempted to prevent the demonstration but subsequently decided to support it.

The Bolsheviks decided to provide leadership to the movement in order to give it an organized and peaceful character. On the afternoon of 17 July there was a peaceful demonstration by 500,000 workers, soldiers, and sailors under the slogan “All Power to the Soviets”. Anti-government demonstrations were also held in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnoyarsk, and other cities.

The military authorities sent troops against the demonstration, leaving more than 700 people killed and wounded. The SRs and Mensheviks supported punitive measures against the insurgents. They began to disarm workers, disband revolutionary military units, and carry out arrests. On 18–19 July the offices and printing plant of Pravda and the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee were destroyed. On 19 July the Provisional Government issued an order for the arrest of Lenin, who was forced to go underground. On 20 July troops loyal to the regime arrived in Petrograd from the front providing extra security for the Provisional Government.

The Last Lifeboat Off The Titanic

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A handful of surviving images depict the Titanic on the water, just days before the ship’s tragic accident on April 15, 1912. Images of survivors’ rescue — like the one here, depicting the last lifeboat evacuating the ship — are less common.

Two female bootleggers, 1921

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Women bootleggers enjoyed many advantages over men. Many states had laws specifically prohibiting women from being searched. Sometimes they would hide flasks, even cases, on their persons and taunt male police officers. “A painted-up doll was sitting in a corner… She had her arms folded and at our command she stood up. But then came the rub. She laughed at us… then defiantly declared to bring suit against anyone who touched her”, an unnamed Ohio “Dry Agent” told the Hamilton Evening Journal in 1924.

The alcohol smuggling syndicates took advantage of these legal loopholes, recruiting women into their ranks. Even if the gangs didn’t hire women bootleggers, they hired them for ride along to reduce searches and robberies. “No self-respecting federal agent likes to hold up an automobile containing women”, according to The Boston Daily Globe.

This had become such a problem for law enforcement officials that the government feared women bootleggers outnumbered men five to one. “On the Canadian, Mexican and Florida borders, inspectors are constantly on the lookout for women bootleggers who try to smuggle liquor into the States. Their detection and arrest is far more difficult than that of male lawbreakers”, said Miss Georgia Hopley, the first female Revenue agent.

Juries were also reluctant to convict mothers and grandmothers of bootlegging. Thus, they were much less likely to suffer from their illegal activities. In 1925, a woman in Milwaukee admitted earning $30,000 a year bootlegging. That’s over $400,000 in today’s dollars. She was fined only $200 and sentence to a month in jail. A 22-year-old bootlegger in Denver, Esther Matson, was sentenced to attend church every Sunday for two years. The President pardoned a Michigan woman bootlegger. Similarly, the governor of Ohio reduced a woman bootlegger’s sentence to only five days.

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