Found in the LOC: 20 Bike Prints From the 1890s

Except for those completely committed to bike life, most of us are packing away our wheels for the winter, tearing at the freedom and fun put on hold until warmer days return. While I can’t control the weather, I can offer a few visual treats to help you get through, all from the 1890s, the period in which bicycles as know them took off…

There had been bicycle-type vehicles for decades, including variations on the pedal-less contraption German inventor Karl von Drais’ called a “running machine,” but which the public often called a “velocipede,” a “dandy horse” or, in England, a “pedestrian curricle,” and there was also the unforgiving British device nicknamed the “bone-shaker,” but bicycles as we know them didn’t take off until the 1860s, when the French company Michaux added pedals. Though was slow going at first — bikes didn’t arrive in America until 1878 —the vehicles finally became a full-on craze by the 1890s.

With the Industrial Revolution in full swing, when there were so many options of transport — steam trains, steam ships, automobiles and subways — men and women were opting to propel themselves. (So popular were bikes with women that some of the images you see here allude to a revolutionary change not only in women’s fashion, but their place in society at large.)

The bike’s popularity hasn’t waned since, becoming an indelible part of human culture the world over. Now, if we can just muster a bit more interest, we can leave this climate change thing in the dust in no time: a 2015 study showed that increasing global bike riding to 20% in urban areas would help reduce carbon emissions 11% by 2050. But we in the States still have a long way to go: current ridership in U.S. cities is only 1%.

Until then, and without further ado, nineteen more bike-themed adverts, inserts, road maps and lithographs, AFTER THE JUMP. (Above, an 1895 lithograph.)

(And f more “Found in the L.O.C., click HERE.)

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Knock-Knock, 1936-Infinity

These trying times require a little levity, so how about a knock-knock joke?

Knock-knock.

Who’s there?

Cows go.

Cows go who.

No, silly; cows go ‘moo.’

I understand if this punchline elicits an eye roll. That’s perfectly natural. Very few knock-knock jokes go beyond the hackneyed and/or juvenile. Yet the format endures. And that speaks volumes about the nation itself.

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Gucci v. Gender Inequality: VIDEO

For those of you who think fashion is just vapidity and glitz, I urge you to check out Artsy’s new Gucci-backed video series about gender inequality in the world of art.

In this installment, “Past,” artists Barbara Zucker, Faith Ringgold, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Joan Semmel discusses the barriers they faced coming up in the art world, including Hershman Leeson’s admission that she invented male art critics to create the credentials to find representation. Today she’s one of the most lauded and sought after artists in the world. “Present” and “Future” will be the Artsy/Gucci series’ next installments.

And, PS: this isn’t the first-time Italian luxury brand Gucci has thrown its glamorous and influential weight behind combating gendered imbalance: last year they teamed up with Beyoncé for the “Stand In Formation” initiative against gender inequality, poverty and general injustice.

Found in the LOC: 34 Pics of Animals Acting Human

You never know what you’ll find in the Library of Congress’ digital archives. I searched “pin” and came up with that image above: a kitten adorned in a dress and bowling. Obviously I had to know more, so I clicked on the “animals in human situations” link and was delivered to a collection of images by Harry Whittier Frees.

Turns out Frees, 1879-1953, was a pioneer in pet photography who posed baby animals, mostly kittens, doing all sorts of whimsical things.  The New York Daily News called him “original LOLCat photographer,” and NPR recently ran a profile on the late artist. Spoiler: like so many creative minds, Frees wound up broke and broken.

But at least Frees’ campy art lives on — and it’s adorable. Except for the ones with the dolls. They’re creepy. So, without further ado, 33 other Frees images, all taken between 1914 and 1915, AFTER THE JUMP.

And for more Found in the LOC, that’s Library of Congress, click HERE.

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