History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

30 July, 2014

Adorable Kittens of 1902

Nothing meaningful or insightful, just some very, very cute kittens from 1902. 

These photographs come from the Canadian Copyright Collection of the British Library (which the BL put on the Wikimedia Commons). From 1895 to 1924, to register copyright in Canada you had to send one copy of the relevant work to Canada, and one to the British Library. So whoever took this pictures copyrighted them--why isn't known, although I suspect it was for use on postcards, as lots of similar kitten photo postcards can be found. No other information is known (including why they are called "The Globe Kittens"), although pretty much every site mentioning the Canadian Copyright Collection on the Wikimedia Commons has shared at least one image of the set (I haven't found any posts with all, though! and all are just so darn cute). 


British Library





British Library





British Library


18 July, 2014

Everywhere a Sign

Photographic evidence of the long history of being told to do this and don't do that....


George Eastman House

Take a Kodak with you! Autochrome, ca. 1917. Source




State Library of New South Wales

Keep your feet off the walls. Australia, 1947. Source




National Library of Scotland

Two WWI soldiers at a village sign, coming with the quietly devastating caption, "Owing to modern artillery, captured villages have to be marked with a sign board." Source

15 July, 2014

(Terrible) Cigarette Card Puns

Another jaunt into the cigarette card collections of the New York Public Library. We've seen animal-illustrated phrases and flapper butterflies; today we've got some wonderfully awful visual puns. They don't come with a date, but appear to be about 1890-1910 by the clothing, and British. These are selected from a set of 50--with language change a couple have lost their double meanings (how does "decorated flat" describe this fellow?) and some are pretty British (googling "5 years with the colors" in its American spelling, gets you only the record of that card!), but most of them will still get groans a century on. 


New York Public Library





New York Public Library





New York Public Library


10 July, 2014

Banff in Kodachrome

About this time last year I posted photographs of Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Now, Banff is one of my favourite places in the whole world, so here's another lot-- this time from the 1950s, and in full colour!

National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canad

A man photographs two women in a canoe on the Bow River, 1952. Source




National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada

Women clambering over rocks near Morraine Lake, 1951. Source




National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada

Art students painting hoodoos, 1957. Source

08 July, 2014

Going for a Swim

Folks going for a swim!


Canada. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada

The swimming pool at Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, 1930s. Source




George Eastman House

An autochrome of people swimming in Silver Lake, 1907-1932. Source




University of Washington Libraries

Tourists swimming at Sunrise Lake, Washington, despite the presence of snow, ca. 1927. Source


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