Rediscovered Vintage Photography And Their Timeless Stories Lost To History
By Jack Ripley | October 4, 2023
Family outing at the hair salon in the early 60s.
Why do we like to look at photographs from the past? The answer is simple. It is a great way to remind us of how far we have come. If it funny that we think of days gone by as being a simpler time, but living without all our modern conveniences often made day-to-day tasks more complicated. Many people are nostalgic for the days without modern conveniences and, as these photographs show, there definitely was something very appealing about life in the past.
Talk about a pampered pooch! During the 1960s, women often visited the hairdresser once a week for a shampoo and set, with the hopes that the style would hold in their hair for a whole week until their next appointment. While it was common for a housewife to bring her small children with her to her hair appointments, including the family dog on the outing was rare. This pampered pooch, however, seems to enjoy sitting under the hairdryer.
An ad for Scandinavian Airlines, 1969.
Now this is an in-flight meal! Here is an ad for Scandinavian Airlines that shows a virtual smorgasbord of traditional food items being served to the passengers. Various sausages, meats, and cheeses are offered, as well as beverages. After the government stopped regulating the cost of airline tickets, the airlines responded by engaging in a type of price war and perks war…showcasing the unique features of a particular airline. Like gourmet food.
Ballerina Girl 14 year-old Brigitte Bardot was a ballerina dancer in 1949.
The French bombshell took dance lessons from an early age at Madame Bourget’s Dance Studio in Paris. She focused her lessons on ballet and was accepted into the Conservatoire de Paris in 1947. Just two years later, a friend of Bardot’s mother invited the then-15 year old to model in a runway show which led to an appearance on the cover on Elle magazine in 1950. A director saw that issue and invited her to audition for her first movie role. From ballerina to model to actress…Bardot made the path to stardom look easy.
A dog holds onto a little boy as he tries to retrieve a ball in the water with his golf club. (1920s)
This little boy’s best friend isn’t going to let a water hazard get the best of his buddy. He is holding on tight while his human plays his ball. The sport of golf goes back hundreds of years to ancient Scotland where the water hazards are a bit more hazardous. Still, this finely-dressed young man doesn’t want to get his clothes wet while playing his favorite sport so he is thankful for his faithful pooch. Now, if he could just get his dog to caddy his clubs for him.
A little boy driving a goat-drawn carriage in the 1940’s
While it is comical to see goat-drawn wagons today, goats are well-suited for this line of work…and they are much more affordable than horses. Goats can be trained to pull carts, haul packs, and even go through obstacle courses. That old wives’ tale about goats being too stubborn to be good service animals is not entirely true. Goats are intelligent animals and a good goat can be trained to be gentle enough to pull a small child on a cart.
A Navajo medicine man back in 1904.
In the Navajo culture, medicine men, also called singers, lead important rituals and perform healing ceremonies. They begin their training early, serving as apprentices to older medicine men. They learn chants and songs which tell the oral traditions of the tribe. They do some herbal healing but their role is to restore balance within a person as a way to promote health and well-being. One way they do this is by assembling a medicine bundle of organic material with spiritual significance.
Anti prohibitionists making quite a bold statement in 1919.
That’s one way to get the men’s attention! The push for Prohibition was primarily driven by women. To get their voices heard, they resorted to ploys like this one…threatening to withhold their ‘favors’ if their husbands drank liquor. That hit the men where it hurt and they began to pay attention to the anti-alcohol rhetoric that was very much part of the national conversation of the time. It worked. Prohibition took effect in 1920 and lasted for almost the entire decade before it was repealed.
Bankrupt investor Walter Thornton tries to sell his luxury roadster for $100.
That’s a great deal! When the Stock Market crashed on October 29, 1929, and many of the nation’s banks failed, many formerly well-to-do people were left destitute and penniless. They had to do whatever they could to make ends meet, including selling a cool looking luxury automobile for a mere $100…a steal, even in those days. The sad part was that there was probably no one left with the resources to buy this beauty.
Family vacation at an unfinished Mt. Rushmore. (1938)
It took 14 years for all four faces to be carved onto Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, but that didn’t stop the area from being a tourist attraction during the construction years, as this family can attest. Work began on the monument on October 4, 1927. Designed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the rock face of the mountain features the faces of four prominent U.S. presidents, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. The carvings were completed in 1941. Millions of tourists flock to South Dakota every year to see the memorial.
Famous flapper Louise Brooks and her equally famous bobbed hairdo in a photo taken by Eugene Robert Richee. (1928)
Silent movie actress, Louise Brooks, set the bar for the flapper generation. She is widely credited with making the bob hairstyle popular in the 1920s. In fact, her distinctive bobbed hair and sex appeal led her to be an icon of flapper culture. Popular throughout the 1920s, flappers were stylish young women who delighted in throwing aside societal rules. They wore their hair short, listened to jazz music, wore makeup, wore short skirts, and engaged in whatever they wanted. Brooks embraced this lifestyle. She even experimented with same-sex relationships, most notably, a triste with Greta Garbo.
Female firefighters in London, 1932.
You go, girls. This group of female firefighters is not only extinguishing fires; they are laying the ground work for gender equality in the fire service. Traditionally, the fire service has lagged behind other professions when it comes to gender equality, but that is changing. Today, the cities of Atlanta, Phoenix, Austin, Davenport, and about fifty more communities are being served by a female fire chief.
Here's a photo of the Eiffel Tower under construction in 1887.
Construction on the Eiffel Tower in Paris started on July 1, 1887, and the entire project was completed in just 22 months. The metal grip was mostly erected on site from more than 18,000 pieces of metal that were made at a factory just outside Paris. All of the pieces were held together with rivets. For every rivet that was placed, a team of four workers was needed. One was needed to heat the rivet. A second was needed to hold the rivet in place. Another had to shape the head of the rivet, and the last one hammered the rivet in place using a sledgehammer.
India's first rocket transported by a man on a bicycle. (1963)
Back in 1963, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, who is considered to be the father of India’s space program, sought to launch the country’s first rocket from a small village situated on the magnetic equator. Most of India back then, as well as today, used bicycles for transportation and delivery of goods, so it was only natural for Dr. Sarabhai to use bike power to transport the rocket parts to the launch site. The parts were assembled on site and the launch was a success.
Jim Thorpe was a Native American track star, professional football and baseball player. He won gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Associated Press has named Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete of all time. It is easy to see why he earned that title. He played collegiate and professional football, professional baseball and basketball and was a gold medal winner in the pentathlon and the decathlon at the 1912 Olympics. In fact, he was the first Native American to earn an Olympic gold medal. Because of his Native American ethnicity, Thorpe was often the target of racial slurs and cultural stereotypes. Thorpe combated racism by proving his superiority on the playing field. That’s one way to silence the haters.
Just an Irish farmer with his pony enjoying the stout in a pub in the 1960s.
Just a man and his horse, enjoying a beer. Although beer is not a natural part of a horse’s diet, and veterinarians advise against giving animals alcoholic beverages, it is worth noting that beer is made using the grains that horses love…barely, for example. Apparently, in the 1960s, it wasn’t considered odd to take your horse to the bar with you. Today, however, you could probably get away with it but claiming that the horse was your emotional support animal.
Leonid Rogozov was part of a Soviet expedition to Antarctica in 1961
In 1961, a young Russian doctor named Leonid Rogozov was stationed in a remote outpost in Antarctica when he fell ill. He knew the symptoms pointed to one diagnosis…acute appendicitis. He also knew that his appendix would have to be removed as soon as possible, before it ruptured and killed him. The harsh, snowy elements made leaving the polar region impossible and there was no one else on the base qualified to do the dangerous, albeit routine, surgery. Rogozov made a bold decision. He would have to operate on himself. With a couple of terrified assistants, lots of Novocain, and a mirror, he was able to successfully remove his own appendix.
Motorcycle chariot racing was really a thing back in 1936.
Chalk this up to one of the craziest ideas ever. It’s true, people used to chariot race using motorcycles in the first few decades of the 1900s. As wild and dangerous as it sounds, someone got the insane idea of strapping a chariot behind two motorcycles…sometimes with drivers, sometimes without…and racing them around a track, Ben-Hur style. As you can image, the events drew large crowds who had to see it to believe it. We have heard that there were several injuries report to be related to this sport. Big surprise.
Native Americans Indians
Did you know that there are more than 500 federally-recognized Native American tribes in the United States? The indigenous people of the country, thought to have come to North America via a land bridge from Asia, had established unique and diverse cultures across the continent long before European settlers arrived to disrupt their lives and their societies. Today, many people are fighting to regain the Native American way of life and to preserve the culture, language, religion, and heritage of the first people.
Norma Jeane Dougherty at age 15 in 1941, later to become Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe’s childhood was anything but idyllic. She never knew her father and her mother, who was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, was committed to a mental hospital. Monroe hopped around from foster family to foster family and even spent some time in an orphanage, the Los Angeles Orphans’ Home. This picture shows her as a pretty, happy 15 year old. Within a few months, however, she would be married to her first husband, James Doughtery. Her foster family was moving to another state and she was unable to move with them. She chose to marry rather than return to the orphanage.
Siberian bear-hunting armor from the 1800s.
What is the best way to protect yourself from a bear attack? Dress like a porcupine! Seriously, wearing a spiked suit of armor like this one might discourage a hungry bear from taking a second bite out of you. This suit, comprised of a leather jacket and pants, has inch-long iron nails protruding from it, spaced about three-quarters of an inch apart. Holding the nails in place is a quilted lining that is sewn around the nail heads. The ensemble includes a spiked helmet as well. It is hard to image that this suit is comfortable or flexible, but if one is wearing it, they don’t have to worry about outrunning a bear.
Stephen and Jane Hawking on their wedding day in 1965.
Steven Hawking, the genius physicist and cosmologist, looks geekily happy on his wedding day in 1965. Hawking and his first wife, Jane, were married for 30 years. Hawking married his second wife, Elaine, in 1995. This marriage lasted until 2006. Hawking suffered from early-onset ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which left him paralyzed and unable to speak, but didn’t stop his scientific studies and writing. Hawking was 76 years old when he died in 2018.
Steve Ross, son of artist Bob Ross, and his happy little painting in 1994.
Check out that mullet! Steve Ross, son of Afro-wearing painter Bob Ross, channeled his dad in his own paintings. Bob Ross found fame as a host of the PBS series, “The Joy of Painting”, which he created. The show ran from 1983 to 1994. A whole new generation of people have been introduced to Bob Ross through social media memes poking fun at the painter and TV host.
The Drexel Institute Girls Rifle Team, 1925.
It is hard to believe now, in the era we live in, that many high schools and universities had shooting teams and promoted shooting sports, hunting, and gun use. In fact, practices were held on campuses and students were encouraged to bring their guns to school. My, how times have changed. Guns are now banned on school grounds, especially for students in the wake of the numerous high-profile school shootings, from Columbine to Parkland. The young ladies shown in this photograph are showing their school spirit by participating in their school’s rifle team.
The Golden Gate Bridge under construction in 1934.
First step…the towers. San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a beautiful structure that has become a symbol of the city. Construction started on the bridge in 1933. The bridge allowed for California Highway 1 to continue across the San Francisco strait. One of the most photographed places in the United States, the Golden Gate Bridge has been called one of the Wonders of the Modern World. It all started with the installation of these two 746-feet high towers.
The notorious Bonnie Parker in front of the famous Ford V-8 auto she and Clyde Barrow drove in 1932.
This is one half of the gangster duo, Bonnie and Clyde. The sweetheart criminals caught the attention of the American public and the media romanticized their exploits. Bonnie Parker was the epitome of the pretty gangster’s girlfriend when she started a relationship with Clyde Barrow. The duo are suspected of robbing a series of businesses and killing several people. The law caught up with Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana in their Ford automobile. Both Bonnie and Clyde were killed in the ensuing shoot out.
The world’s largest horse was Brooklyn Supreme, standing at 78 inches tall and weighing in at 3,200 lbs, 1942.
A red roan Belgian stallion named Brooklyn Supreme was an extremely large horse…possibly the world’s largest horse. Although he was not the tallest horse ever, at more than 3,200 pounds, he was the largest. Brooklyn Supreme was born at the Earle Brown Farm in Minneapolis and when he reached his enormous size, his owner, Charles Grant Good of Ogden, Iowa, took the horse on tour, exhibiting him a fairs around the country.
Tippi Hedren and a cast member from the film, The Birds 1963.
Actress Tippi Hedren made her cinematic debut in the 1963 horror classic, “The Birds,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock. An animal rights activist, Hedren went on to work for the protection of animals, but she enjoyed hanging out with her ‘co-workers’ in the movie, like this bird. Several trained bird were used in the filming of the movie..
Wild West outlaw Jesse James in the 1870s.
Outlaw Jesse James, together with his brother Frank, was a notorious Wild West figure. Accused of robbing banks and trains with his brother and his gang, James was romanticized in the media as a Robin Hood-figure even though he never distributed his loot to the poor. When several members of the James Gang were killed when they attempted to rob a bank in Minnesota, the James brothers took on a few new members. One of those new gang members, Robert Ford, shot Jesse James so he could collect the reward money. James dies on April 3, 1882.
Chief U.S. Game Warden George A. Lawyer, with an illegal 10-foot, 250-lb Punt shotgun. (1920)
How crazy is this? A ten-foot tall shotgun. This actual functioning weapon, demonstrated by George A. Lawyer, a game warden, was called a punt gun. This type of gun was popular around the turn of the 20th century but was banned because they were too effective. A single shot could kill up to 50 ducks at a time. In fact, hunters could just shoot a few rounds, then spend the rest of their ‘hunting’ time, just picking up the dead ducks. The populations of water fowl were fast depleting because of the punt guns, which led to their banning.
German physical trainer Joseph Pilates was notable for having invented and promoted the Pilates method of physical fitness. Here he is at the age of 57, in 1940.
A sickly child suffering from rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever, Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. His father, however, was an avid gymnast and super-fit metal worker who encouraged his son to take control of his health. His father taught his gymnastics, body building, boxing, and martial arts. Pilates devoted his live to maintaining his health and physical strength. His devotion worked. He developed a fitness routine that improved breathing and posture and overall fitness.