41 Important Historical Photographs And Pictures That Might Change How You View Humanity, As Shared On This Online PageInterview With Owner
One of the key thoughts about history as an educational discipline is the idea that humans, a species that puts so much focus on progress and improvement, could learn from the people and events of the past.
But the fact that we still have wars, plagues, and everything else that’s wrong with the world, reinforcing the another popular idea that history is cyclical, means we have learned very little. At least to an extent that it would be considered significant progress.
Still, the fact that these lessons land on deaf ears doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to try. Incidentally, there is a subreddit called r/DragonUtopia that’s all about showing the interesting parts of history. I use 'interesting' loosely as the content that’s featured there lands somewhere on the spectrum between uneasy, raw, and uncut.
So, while you’re scrolling through our carefully curated list of the best posts the subreddit has to offer, give the various submissions an upvote, encourage discussion, and check out our exclusive interview with the person behind the subreddit, u/myrmekochoria.
The Most Dangerous Animal In The World. Exhibition In The Bronx Zoo, 1960s
Senegalese Soldier Who Lost Both His Arms Writes A Letter With His New Prosthetic Limbs. At Vocational Rehabilitation School For Amputees, Paris 1918
To give you an overview of the subreddit, it introduces itself as a platform that covers a variety of aspects in history: famous figures and events, art, archaeology, overviews of museum inventory, architecture, technology, as well as biology, science fiction, covering old magazine and comic book excerpts, screenshots and the like.
It is important to note that, just like history is bloody, some of the posts are deemed not safe for work (or even not safe for life), but it’s an unavoidable part of history that ought to be learned from.
The subreddit is run by just one person, u/myrmekochoria, with whom Bored Panda got in touch for an interview, who makes sure a steady stream of interesting facts, tidbits and other forms of historical enlightenment reaches a community of over 37,700 people.
Nurse From The "Red Cross" Writing Down Last Words Of Mortally Wounded Soldier, 1917
Activists Picketing Outside Of A Segregated Swimming Pool, Ohio 1960s
Viktor Yushchenko Before And After His Poisoning By Vladimir Putin In 2004. He And His Family Believe The Assassination Attempt Was Ordered By Moscow When He Attempted To Steer Ukraine To Closer Integration With Europe
Myrmekochoria recalls hearing from a friend about old-time diarists like Samuel Pepys and the like. They can’t recall the exact name, but there was one who never missed a single day without writing something in his diary. But unlike many contemporaries, instead of focusing on world events, he noted the everyday grind and epiphanies of an unimportant person in this cruel world, a la In Search of Lost Time, but without any hope of care from others.
“It was like a statement of a single person against the uncaring world. But I tried to do it as an intellectual footprint of the mind through time—not a personal drama,” elaborated the creator of the subreddit. “I do not work in any intellectual circles or related jobs, so this is how I keep up my interest, instead of becoming a mindless consumer of sorts.”
“Also, my teacher once told me that these kinds of diaries help with inspiration and provide rabbit holes that lead into books and help broaden one’s own intellectual horizon. I have been creating this sort of content for a long while, even before Reddit on another Polish website, but people there were not that nice, and the content was not really tailored for them. On Reddit, it found its niche.”
Theodore Roosevelt's Diary The Day His Wife And Mother Died, 1884
American World War I Veterans At A Reunion In 1978
Queen Genepil The Last Queen Consort Of Mongolia. Killed During Stalinist Purges In 1938
An East German Guard Throws A Ball Back To A Child Playing On The West German Side Of The Berlin Wall. 1962
I bet you’re wondering why Dragon Utopia? Well, in the beginning of it all, Myrmekochoria explained that they used to channel two types of content: old art-themed posts called Starszezwoje, or Elder Scrolls (“hopefully, no lawsuit pending,” joked OP), and Smoczautopia, or Dragon Utopia, which was aimed at sharing objects from museums, letters from Mesopotamia, armor, weapons, that sort of thing.
“The name of the subreddit always comes up in conversations. It is a reference to a game called Heroes of Might and Magic III. There is a building called Dragon Utopia, and after fighting with a powerful dragon you are rewarded with powerful artifacts. In concept, this subreddit was destined to be dedicated to old artifacts and objects from online museums. But there is already a great subreddit for that, so I switched directions and merged the two types of content into one. The name remained.”
Man In A Bar (Saturday Night) In Craigville, Minnesota 1937
Japanese Nurse Dressed In Black During The Russo-Japanese War, 1905
Earliest Known Photo Of A Surfer, Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1890
President George W. Bush Is Interrupted By Chief Of Staff Andrew Card While Reading To Schoolchildren In Sarasota, Florida, On September 11th, 2001
As mentioned above, the creator of r/DragonUtopia is extremely diligent in posting content on the daily (with a slight hiatus as of this article, but no worries!)—it would often average at 10 posts a day, each with a visual and a short explanation of what folks can see.
“The posts depend on what I’m reading currently or am in the mood of. I usually post around 10 post a day and there is sometimes (not always) an overarching theme hidden behind them like: cruelty of humans, beauty of art, indifference of war and of the biological world, suffering of humans and maybe the possibility of empathy and the feeling of their despair as yours through photographs, child labor, progress of science changing life for the better,” elaborated OP.
Salvador Dalí Poster For Us Army In Campaign Against Venereal Diseases, 1942
“There are so many great resources now on the Internet. There are plenty of national archives (like the Library of Congress, Narodwe Archiwum Cyfrowe (National Digital Archives in Poland), and a bunch of others—nearly every country now has digitized archives.”
“These feature hundreds of thousands of photos in high-res for free, authored by famous photographers like Lewis Hine, Jack Delano, John Vachon, Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, Theodor Horydczak, Arthur Rothstein, Arthur S. Siegel, Andreas Feininger, and Gordon Park. I’ve previously mentioned them in length because they document reality as a 19th-century French novelist would do.”
“Also, there are plenty of great blogs and other people doing the same thing on social media, but for the most part, I try to give the content some kind of personal touch, if that is possible.”
Robert E. Peary, An Inuit Man Warms Up His Wife’s Feet In Greenland, 1890s
Since the subreddit’s creation in April of 2017, it has grown from a “diary” to a whole community, and Myrmekochoria has nothing but praise for them:
“The community is great. They always have something interesting to say and they provide interesting links to articles or academic papers. If I post about lesser-known events from modern times, people sometimes write that they were there or witnessed it. Sometimes, citizens of a city or smaller village write to me about how things change or which building still stands (or not).”
“Often they will give me interesting links to blogs or archives that I did not even know existed, and I end up using them in future posts. The readers often say that they learn things that were before completely unknown to them about history from the subreddit, and that is very flattering.”
The Charred Remains Of The Apollo 1 Cabin Interior. Three Astronauts Died In It: Gus Grissom, Ed White And Roger Chaffee
Greaser Takes A Break From Working On His Car, Brooklyn 1950s
Lastly, we’ve asked Myrmekochoria to drop some historical knowledge that they think people should ponder, or at the very least know about, and they had this to say:
“By no means am I a historian, so, maybe, I am punching above my weight here. But I would like to say two things: one objective and one personal.”
“First, objective: the path to our modern life starts in the 17th century, after the Thirty Years’ War. Europe, after a ruthless religious war, finally starts to grow away from religious dogmas and the two ‘splinters’ of Catholicism finally accept one another, but the intellectuals look in the other direction after Peace of Westphalia. There are rumblings and Age of Enlightenment slowly begins and brings miracles of technology that will forever change our lifestyles, governments, worldviews and so on.”
“The French Encyclopédie, for the first time, gives people an alternative view of reality to the Bible in Europe. Governments change to absolute monarchies focused on technology, conquest, finance, and growth. Firearms, trains, modern chemistry, Louis Pasteur’s groundbreaking studies, architecture, judicial systems in the spirit of Montesquieu, and birth of modern nations (most of them were just class systems) in the 19th century’s Spring of Nations. We also see this system of thought being transplanted to other parts of the world, like Japan in the Meiji Restoration or South American countries—it became a good and tested way to reform a country with all its flaws and evils.”
Stock Exchange Trader At The End Of The Day On Black Monday, Toronto 1987
Men Outside The Bar Called “The Squirrel”, Sweden, Stockholm, 1895
The Effects Of A Daisy Cutter Bomb, The Bomb Was Designed To Clear An Area For The Helicopter To Land
Myrmekochoria continued: “Second: peasant suffrage. Throughout most of history, over 90% of people were peasants or serfs who were treated very badly—sometimes worse than cattle. In Revolutionary France, around 93-97% people were the Third Estate (Fr. Tiers État). The ruling class never wanted them to learn to read, let alone bring them to the policy table. Peasants were conscripted, forced to do the back-breaking labor, paying taxes, and their social advance through the ladder was mostly not attainable.”
“In the 19th century, peasant suffrage starts more or less excluding many different parts of the world. There is a misconception that the great revolutions of our time (Russian and Chinese) were workers’ revolutions, but in fact they were that of the peasants who finally had enough of their government. And this gave us the Soviet Union (and Communist China). Cold War, Space Programs, Atomic Era, IT technology. Maybe the suffrage is too personal and important to me, because I was born to a rural peasant family and I did not have a TV or a phone up until 1995, but technology gave me the chance to learn language and see the global wonders without exiting my room. This is a stunning achievement, reached in more or less 350 years. So, the Enlightenment, the technological prosperity following Peasant Suffrage and the possibility for greater education overlap.”
Bobby Kennedy Taking A Lunch Break At The Bluefield Drive-In, 1960
Each Day At The End Of The Shift, The Miners Would Have To Go Through The X-Ray Machine For Inspection. Some Miners Would Swallow Diamonds, Even Hide Them In Self-Inflicted Incisions In Their Legs, South Africa 1954
A Freshly Painted M4 Sherman Tank In An Infrared Lamp Tunnel ,which Is Designed To Cut The Drying Time Of The Paint From 24 Hours To 4 Minutes
“There are also many other things, like the Neolithic revolution, iron smelting, cattle breeding, plant manipulation, chemistry and others things that should be mentioned here, but it would take us a long time to do so. And maybe my liberal (in the classic Enlightenment sense) worldview speaks through, but we are all slaves to our thoughts and minds,” concluded Myrmekochoria.
If you have a thirst for history in this vein, be sure to join up the r/DragonUtopia Reddit community, but there’s also Twitter, if that’s your forte. And if you’ve accidentally missed it, there was another recent post we had about folks on Tumblr pointing out historical facts in the most spot-on and hilarious ways.
But before you do leave us, be sure to get engaged with the folks in the comment section by sharing some of your insights on history!