• Old Photos: Hitler

    I know, I know, these are pictures of Hitler. And maybe it’s not the best idea to put them here, me being who I am. But these photos are amazing, shot by Hitler’s personal photographer Hugo Jaeger in color and such close proximity that as a fan of historic photography I cannot just pass them by. And yes, I know what was happening while Hitler was greeting adoring women, checking out cars and watching parades, and I have these photos too. If anything these photos make one wonder how a grim, plain-looking and not extremely bright individual could achieve absolute power over a civilized country.

    (L-R) Ferdinand Porsche, Adolf Hitler and Robert Ley with Hitler's 50th birthday gift, the Volkswagen Beetle. ©Time Inc.Hugo Jaeger
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  • The Curse of Kansas City

    This article about the Hyatt Regency disaster published in the Weekly World News on August 11, 1981 has a curious inset.

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  • Sons of the Mad Men

    If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that it mainly consists of retro items. Whether it’s my memories of living Behind the Iron Curtain or numerous collections of the Old Photos, there is no shortage of nostalgia on these pages. Strangely, American retro is equally interesting to me, even though, for the obvious reasons, I can’t be nostalgic about the American past.

    When I was researching my post about Bert Berkley I was frequently distracted by the ads in Kansas City magazines from the 1970’s. Ads about new real estate, long-gone stores and restaurants, services that became obsolete years ago, banks that are now forgotten, new cars that are now rotting in the junk yards. Some of you may remember these things, old restaurants, banks, hotels and car dealerships; others may recall being excited about the new modern services such as ATM machines and pagers. For many who weren’t alive at that time, the ads may seem naive, prices shockingly low, services overly personal and generous. For me it’s a trip to the past, not my past, but nevertheless exciting, and an ability to see it from the vantage point of 2010 – what survived and what didn’t, what made it to the future and what is now erased from the memory and the city map. I went back to the Library, checked out some magazines from 1974-77 and copied a few ads that I liked. The quality of the images is not that great but old magazines are not easy to photograph in the dim light.

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  • Old Photos: Women of the USSR

    Sometime ago I was arguing on twitter about the number of women in the medical profession in the USSR. While I knew I was right (because I am always right), my opponent ridiculed my anecdotal references, like a number of female doctors I visited in my childhood, or a number of female students in my Dad’s medical school photo-album. I thought maybe a scientific-looking study would be more convincing.

    Soviet Women in the Work Force and Professions
    WILLIAM M. MANDEL Highgate Road Social Science Research Station, Inc.(Berkeley, California)

    Women had been 10% of doctors and dentists in 1913. They rose to 77% in 1950 (Tsentral’noe Statisticheskoe Upravlenie, 1969a: 103), but then declined to 72% in 1969, when they were also down to 55% among medical students, pointing to an equalized sex ratio in medicine a generation hence.

    Although remuneration in the Soviet professions shows nothing remotely like the spread in the United States between the teacher at the bottom of the heap, the engineer somewhat better off, and the doctor way out in front, there is a differential there as well. The Soviet government, always economically pinched, has raised wages and salaries in a[264] manner to attract people into fields which would not otherwise be entered by enough candidates to meet the need. Engineering is the best enumerated. Law is the lowest paid of the professions in the Soviet Union, and in it women are precisely the same proportion (one-third) as in engineering,the highest paid. Women had been 5% of the lawyers in 1926. At present there are 2,500 women judges. So women are majorities in the two professions in the middle of the payscale –  medicine and teaching   minorities in the two at the extremes-engineering and law. However, the 1971-1975 Five-Year Plan provides sharp salary increases for the two professions of medicine and teaching. Those seeking signs of discrimination no matter what are faced with the fact that, in numbers as distinct from percentages, there are more women engineers than physicians, and more physicians than librarians. The 775,000 women engineers in the USSR (1969) is almost equal to the total number of engineers in the United States (870,000), of whom only 1% are women.

    On this International Women’s Day I am posting some photos of the Soviet women at work and at play. Wishing the best to all my female readers, even those who thought they can prove me wrong.

    Worker and Peasant Statue. 1956 © Time Inc.Lisa Larsen.
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  • Old Photos: One School Day In 1939

    Some photos depicting student activities in Springfield, MO in 1939.
    Toy train…

    A view of a children playing during class.

    …and the real thing.

    A view of a class learning about trains first hand at a railroad station.
    A view of a class learning about trains first hand at a railroad station.

     

    A view of a class field trip to the local stockyard
    A view of a class field trip to the local stockyard

    Now that’s tough, even I had a cot when I was a kid.

    A view of children in school taking a nap in the middle of the day.
    A view of children in school taking a nap in the middle of the day.

    This must be the other side of the tracks.

    A view of a class doing an exercise in practical carpentry.
    A view of a class doing an exercise in practical carpentry.

    This kid grew up to invent the overhead projector.

    A view of child giving a presentation in school.
    A view of child giving a presentation in school.

    Something tells me the old guy is not an actor.

    A view of a class learning about slums by visiting the local slum area.
    A view of a class learning about slums by visiting the local slum area.
    A view of a class field trip to a farm to study the soil.
    A view of a class field trip to a farm to study the soil.
    A view of the Springfield sewage disposal plant.
    A view of the Springfield sewage disposal plant.

    Before the air-conditioning the government meetings were brief and to the point.

    A view of a sixth grade class attending a town meeting during a lesson on government.
    A view of a sixth grade class attending a town meeting during a lesson on government.
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