Articles

Unearthed Photographs from National Geographic’s Archive

by Allison Meier on August 11, 2014

Alexander Graham Bell & his wife Mabel in Nova Scotia (1898) (via Bell Collection)

Alexander Graham Bell & his wife Mabel in Nova Scotia (1898) (via Bell Collection)

The arresting images that have thrived on the pages of National Geographic since 1888 are just a fraction of the photographs taken for the magazine. While most of these have been away from public view in their incredible archives, they’ve recently been emerging on National Geographics Found Tumblr blog.

Julia Lowrie Henderson shared some of the images on Studio 360 last week. Found launched in 2013 for National Geographics 125th anniversary, but if you haven’t checked in since then, or are new to their Tumblr, it’s a captivating chronicle of humanity over the last century. The publication has long employed some of the best photojournalists out there, able to capture images from around the world, including the intricate scars on a Nuba woman’s back in 1966 and a 1973 boy’s lemonade stand in Aspen, Colorado. All of the Found photographs have long been in obscurity. As they explain on the site:

Some of these photos have never been published before, others were in the magazine years ago but since then have rarely been seen by the public. Their beauty has been lost to the outside world..

Recent reveals include the curve of a scenic road near Trieste, Italy in 1956 that looks like a scene from a Godard film; women sunbathing alongside oil pumps on Padre Island, Texas, in 1980; a fortune teller’s cards in Marrakesh in 1971; President Johnson looking up with a crowd at the Apollo 11 launch in 1969; Times Square shrouded with steam in 1987; a woman and her pug shopping for a fur coat at Bergdorf Goodman in 1964; and a man selling goldfish in plastic bags draped on a tree branch in Beirut in 1983.

Some of the photographs have lost their time and place, so Found is also a means of crowdsourcing the missing details. Below are some selections from the early years of National Geographic, resurfaced decades later by Found.

A Kenyan woman with her pet deer in Mombassa (March 1909) (photograph by Underwood & Underwood)

A Kenyan woman with her pet deer in Mombassa (March 1909) (photograph by Underwood & Underwood)

Horseshoeing in Scotland (May 1921) (photograph by William Reid, National Geographic)

Horseshoeing in Scotland (May 1921) (photograph by William Reid, National Geographic)

Easter Island, Polynesia (December 1922) (photograph by J. P. Ault, National Geographic)

Easter Island, Polynesia (December 1922) (photograph by J. P. Ault, National Geographic)

Inspecting a British airplane with folding wings (1918) (via National Geographic Found)

Inspecting a British airplane with folding wings (1918) (via National Geographic Found)

Sending smoke signals in Montana (June 1909) (photograph by Dr. Joseph K. Dixon, National Geographic Creative)

Sending smoke signals in Montana (June 1909) (photograph by Dr. Joseph K. Dixon, National Geographic Creative)

Wrecked Zeppelin in Mison, France (1918) (photograph by Paul Thompson, National Geographic)

Wrecked Zeppelin in Mison, France (1918) (photograph by Paul Thompson, National Geographic)

Newspaper boys in an NYC fountain (April 1916) (photograph by Edwin Levick, National Geographic Creative)

Newspaper boys in an NYC fountain (April 1916) (photograph by Edwin Levick, National Geographic Creative)

Water collapses Tegucigalpa’s arched bridge in Honduras (August 1916) (photograph by F. J. Youngblood, National Geographic)

Water collapses Tegucigalpa’s arched bridge in Honduras (August 1916) (photograph by F. J. Youngblood, National Geographic)

British airman signally to a friendly aircraft (1918) (photograph by Central News Photo Service, National Geographic Creative)

British airman signally to a friendly aircraft (1918) (photograph by Central News Photo Service, National Geographic Creative)

Botafogo Bay and Rio de Janeiro (September 1920) (photograph by Carlos Bippus, National Geographic)

Botafogo Bay and Rio de Janeiro (September 1920) (photograph by Carlos Bippus, National Geographic)

National Geographic Editor Gilbert H. Grosvenor at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC (1914) (photograph by Leet Brothers, National Geographic Creative)

National Geographic Editor Gilbert H. Grosvenor at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC (1914) (photograph by Leet Brothers, National Geographic Creative)

More images from the National Geographic archives are on their Found Tumblr.

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