Photo blog-

The Burns Archive

Here, Burns says, is the only known photograph related to the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the rebel Southern states during the Civil War. President Lincoln freed the slaves by executive order. To commemorate the occasion, a crowd and Union band posed for this photograph in front of a Massachusetts hotel. Placing an honored person in a wheelbarrow (the black man pictured here) is, Burns says, “one of the forgotten political cultural traditions of American society.”

The Burns Archive

A crowd of about 20,000 gathered to watch the hanging of Bethea, pictured here climbing the gallows with his hands bound. Bethea was accused of robbing, raping, and killing a 70-year-old woman, but by a quirk of Kentucky law, prosecutors had to show that the victim was alive when Bethea raped her in order to justify a public hanging. Throngs of media also turned out for the spectacle, and their coverage was likely a factor in keeping authorities from staging future public executions. Said one headline: “Crowd Jeers at Culprit; Some Grab Pieces of Hood for Souvenirs as Doctors Pronounce Condemned Man Dead.”

The Burns Archive

In Austria and Germany during the early 20th Century, young men studying to be doctors or lawyers would join societies famous for brutal ‘duels’ in which the goal was to be wounded, so as to secure the mark of the social elite. The dueling scar was a symbol of courage, manliness, and, perhaps most important, high class. In this image, a young man sits calmly, bleeding as his face is cut. Cuts were often made on one side of the face to preserve half the individual’s normal profile. Presumably, the young man’s counterparts would be impressed if he underwent the procedure without reacting to the pain.

The Burns Archive

In this eerie photograph of a Cuban prison, inmate after inmate stands silhouetted in a semicircle of stacked cells. They are posed there, backlit, perhaps to demonstrate the buildings utilitarian design. First conceived by philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century, the so-called panopticon prison design allows a single guard to keep watch on hundreds of confined men while staying in an armored perch, out of the prisoner’s sight. The cells in the prison pictured here do not have doors, though presumably armed guards would have been a deterrent against any escape attempt. Many prisons, including Alcatraz, were designed to remove a convict’s privacy in favor of control, but full incorporations of Bentham’s idea are a rarer find.

Excerpts from an astounding archive

About dmacc502

Happy individual with positive outlook. Enjoy people and sharing ideas and mindful thoughts. Avid news watcher, cat lover, birdwatcher and cook.Fortunate not to have to work and love my quiet time. Married with two daughters in college.
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