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I wonder do you do prints from the Vancouver, BC area, and Montreal PQ area in Canada?

I don’t, sorry! None of them are mine, they’re mostly from government and university archives – and I don’t think they’d like it much if I tried to start selling prints, haha! 

I’ve never used it so I’m not sure how it works, but here’s a link on the website where I found the Vancouver and Montreal photographs (Library and Archives Canada) where you can order prints of their pictures. Hope that helps a bit!

Photograph by Ronny Jaques; Halifax, Canada, 1940

The Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, December 11, 1928

The 1928 Olympics were the first to host women in track and field races. Before this, women had competed in Olympic sports like figure skating, swimming, diving, archery, tennis and golf, but the decision to allow women to run was controversial – it was said that athletics of this sort would make women more “masculine” and possibly even ruin their ability to become mothers in the future. Nevertheless, the track competitions were added to the women’s program, and ten percent of athletes competing in 1928 were women. 

On August 2, the 800 metre race was ran by Kinue Hitomi (the first Japanese woman to win an Olympic medal), Elfriede Wever,

Marie Dollinger, Gertruda Kilosówna, Bobbie Rosenfeld, Florence MacDonald, Inga Gentzel, Jean Thompson and Lina Radke. Lina Radke placed first, and so the story goes, 5 or 6 of her competitors collapsed to the ground. Some reporters claimed some of the girls were senseless and some unconscious, or alternatively, rolling about; that Florence MacDonald of Boston (who finished 6th) had to be “worked over” for fifteen minutes before she was able to stand again. It probably didn’t help that August 2 the American team suffered the worst day in their Olympic history yet – not winning a single medal.

By August 7th, the 800 metre race had the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation), which met in Amsterdam following the games, debating whether women should be allowed to compete at the Olympics at all. Other incidents that contributed to the debate were two false starts by a Canadian woman competing in the 100 yard dash, which allegedly left her crying, and a German woman shaking her fist in the face of the starter who disbarred her. 

Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Hungary and Finland wanted women out of the Olympics entirely. America, Japan, Austria, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Poland, Greece, Holland, Estonia, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany and France voted to keep women’s sports in – with some changes.

American delegates suggested 10 categories for women to compete in, but only 6 were accepted (discus, javelin, 100-metre flat, 400-metre relay, high jump and 80-metre hurdle made the cut). Shot put, the 200-metre dash, the broad jump, and, of course, the 800 metre race, were out.

Still, as the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics approached, it was suggested that women should not be training and should certainly not be competing. It was believed that track and field athletics, aside from being “dangerous” to women’s delicate internal organs, were also frivolous – women’s athletics should be of the type that “planned to develop feminine qualities including gracefulness in speech, dress and character”. Lina Radke was defended by Dr. Bergmann, who told the press she still sewed, cooked and kept house, besides breaking world records.

It took 32 years for the 800 metre race to come back as a women’s Olympic competition; in 1960 Liudmyla Lysenko won gold in the newly returned race in Rome.

Hello! This is actually my first time asking anyone something. Regarding the kitty doing laundry, I had a story book when I was little that featured that picture. It was exactly the same. The story was told with a series of photos just like that one. Do you have any explanation for that??

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I do! The pictures were taken by Harry Whittier Frees in his Oaks, Pennsylvania studio and they were extremely popular during the 1900s to 1930s. 

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, Nebraska, June 2, 1936

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One day, Frees, who didn’t even own a camera, put a hat on the family cat and thought “I’d love a picture of that”. So he bought a camera and set up a studio and began.

Frees got his start in 1906 selling postcards of his animal photos. Postcards were only allowed to be printed and issued by the USPS, and they were generally pretty boring and generic, until 1898, when private companies were allowed to begin printing them. By 1900 it had become major fad, sending and collecting souvenir cards, and postcards were a booming industry. He sent a couple pictures in to a leading postcard company, thinking maybe they’d take them. The company accepted immediately and printed the photos on their postcards, they sold like hotcakes, and he was offered a three year contract with the company.

The Anaconda Standard, Montana, May 27, 1906

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 He published multiple books of his works, like The Animal Mother Goose (1922), which had 63 full page photographs. Other books by him include Little Folks of Animal Land (1915), Animal Stories (1916) and Kitty Cat Stories (1917) which was followed with Bunny Stories and Puppy Stories. He also helped illustrate advertisements and other people’s books with his photographs, like Edward Anthony’s The Pussycat Princess in 1922 and did exclusive series for newspapers, usually for Sunday supplements or ongoing features.

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It was asked pretty frequently what he did to have the animals sit so well. After all, it was hard to get a good picture of a person back then, let alone an animal in an elaborate pose. People wondered if the animals might be drugged or hurt to hold the poses, but Frees said it was done with a whole lot of patience – and lots of treats. He said that one reason he always used young animals (aside from the fact that they’re darn cute) was that they were easier to work with than older ones. 

Fitchburg Sentinel, Massachusetts, November 13, 1935

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However, some people doubt whether the animals Frees used were even alive:

“The idea that some of these images are the result of patience is clearly nonsense,” opines Mike Power in one public post beneath an article about Frees. “He admitted that he used a shutter speed of 1/5th second which, in modern terms, is slow. Taxidermy was popular and the Victorians weren’t concerned about it in the way that we are today.” According to an article on dangerousminds.com, Frees used both dead and living animals, but refused to acknowledge the use of stuffed pets. “If Frees’ contemporaries knew that many of the animals in his photos were dead, they probably didn’t care,” the article states. “Victorians and Edwardians had no problem photographing dead things.” 

The Ottawa Journal, Ontario, Canada, March 29, 1935

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Fitchburg Sentinel, Massachusetts, November 13, 1935

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Personally, I don’t think any of the photos I’ve seen were taxidermy. Might the animals have been uncomfortable during the shoots? Maybe a little. I know my cats get pretty surly when I try to put a Santa hat on them for Christmas photos. But I don’t think Frees mistreated them, and I think he had a genuine talent with animals and that he loved them.

Fitchburg Sentinel, Massachusetts, November 13, 1935

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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, May 27, 1906

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The Ottawa Journal, Ontario, Canada, March 29, 1935

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Here’s a link to an NPR article about Frees’ not so happy personal life.

More pictures by Frees from the Library of Congress:

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