Wednesday, March 23, 2022



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Vincent Van Gogh's Actual Portrait

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.

Lincoln's Funeral

On April 15, 1865 — just six days after the surrender at Appomattox effectively ended the Civil War — John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

Four days later, on April 19, the nation mourned as funeral marchers made their way down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.

The Shot That Started World War I

The (overly) simple version of the story goes that World War I began when Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.

Here, we can see police arrest the man who "started it all" just after the assassination.

(Some scholars say that this photo actually depicts the arrest of an immediate bystander initially mistaken for Princip.)

Hitler Declares War On The U.S.

It's not unbelievable that this moment would be photographed, but it is strange that it's not more widely known due to what it depicts and the fact that it provides the portrait of Nazi pageantry you'd think would be burned into our collective memory.

Indeed, with bold colors and an enormous Reichsadler, it was a scene of spectacle when Hitler addressed the Reichstag at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin on December 11, 1941 to declare war on the U.S.

Hanging Of The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators

John Wilkes Booth was working with nearly ten other conspirators around the time he assassinated Abraham Lincoln. These Confederate sympathizers planned to revive the Confederacy by assassinating Lincoln as well as Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward.

Unlike Booth, they failed to follow through. Like Booth, they were eventually captured and killed. On July 7, 1865, four of the plotters — Mary E. Surratt, Lewis T. Powell, David E. Herold, and George A. Atzerodt — died at the end of a rope in Washington, D.C.

Billy The Kid, In Person With His Posse

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 Surrender That Ended The Civil War

While historians can argue about when exactly the Civil War ended, the widely accepted narrative states that it came to a close on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Pictured: Soldiers wait outside the court house in Appomattox as the higher-ups work out the official terms of surrender.

The Armenian Genocide

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 (almost as great as the percentage of Jews who would die in Nazi-controlled Europe) 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.

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