25 Vintage Pictures Of Moscow Fortunately Saved

Vintage Pictures Of Moscow Fortunately Saved

Posted on March 14, 2011 by team


These vintage pictures of Moscow have been kindly sent to us by one of our readers in America. They were taken in 1909 by his great-grandfather and their history is the following ...


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In 1909 the great-grandfather of our reader accompanied a group of American champion trotting horses on an exhibition tour Moscow, Russia with stops along the way in Germany, Austria and other European spots circa 1909. During the trip, he took over 400 pictures with a Graflex box camera, wrote articles for The Horse Review, and was arrested several times in Russia and Germany for taking unauthorized pictures. 38 photograpghs (out of over 400) became a museum exhibition titled "Empire and Empathy - Vintage Photographs of Russia".

Here is an extract from the 1914 magazine "Men and Methods" about these pictures:

TWO hundred and fifty thousand troops were in formal review before the Kaiser. Suddenly a tall, sloping shouldered foreigner stepped into the open, leveled his graflex and snapped it. "Take me to the official photographer," he suggested, when, the next instant, astounded sword bearers fell upon him from every quarter.

A few minutes later, he had the official picture maker deep in an enthusiastic conversation over some prints showing his work on another day, when foggy weather had foiled the official camera.

After that, it was merely human nature for the Kaiser's photographer to have his Yankee friend released, and gracefully to exchange prints with him. Over the Czar's borderline, the same diplomatic triumph became settled routine for the traveler. Whenever, as happened some twenty-five odd times, the big-fisted, steady-eyed American snapped his camera without license, he calmed the local authorities by merely explaining, urbanely and in perfectly good transatlantic sporting slang, the mechanism of his nihilistic appearing box—or by generously and confidentially allowing his captors to peer into the ground glass while at no waste of films, he snapped the mayor or judge. Straightway—a verdict of acquittal, with due apologies. Flattered and interested human nature again.

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25 Responses to “Vintage Pictures Of Moscow Fortunately Saved”

  1. Musa says:

    I thought there were comments already posted here. Where did they go?

    I love these old pictures, thank you for sharing them.

  2. testicules says:

    That is one big bell.

  3. Karen says:

    These are wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I will forward a link to my students of Russian. I know they will enjoy the photos as well.

  4. Misha says:

    moscow didn’t really change :)

  5. George Johnson says:

    Those were really nice. I’d like to see all of the photos.

    You can tell the guy liked horses. Looks like every time a horse came by, click, “Oh, look, there’s another horse, snap. Hey, a horse, Click…”

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He had some nice horses too.

    • cranewoods says:

      To say he liked horses is an understatement. They were his life for a long stretch. His humorous books Stable Conversation and The Excuse Book (both from around 1900) are still wrtten about today, and the Harness Racing Hall of Fame gives out a reprint of his Excuse Book with every membership.

  6. uliqed says:

    Unique photos.

  7. Leibstandarte says:

    Such a nice Russia was, before bolsheviks came in power

  8. Chris says:

    The guy’s great grandfather was quite the photographer! Most of these appear to be uncropped. Excellent street photography. I wonder which Graflex model he used.

  9. DougW says:

    Nice pics. And that’s a big frickin canon!

  10. Ivana Benderova says:

    An interesting and unusual post, because 1) it was explained adroitly in its context; and 2) the photos are professional, compelling, and have historical value. WTF happened here? LOL!

  11. SovMarxist1924 says:

    Interesting historical pictures, glad to see them. But this was a society ripe for revolution. An uncaring, decadent government that let the wealthy do anything while doing nothing for the masses.

  12. SovMarxist1924 says:

    Interesting historical pictures; glad to see them.

  13. Left SR says:

    Child labor while the rich are at the race track. Some society. Communism couldn’t come quick enough.

  14. TimM says:

    It is my understanding that the photographer owned world renowned racehorses that traveled, from the US, with him to Russia to race…hence the horse photos. I’m sure he would have photographed some vehicles if they had been invented or, at least, used at this time in Russia.

    • cranewoods says:

      He was traveling with a group touring race horces owned by G. K. G. Billings. The star was Lou Dillon, the first 2 minute mile trotter. He wrote articles about the trip and took 400 or so photos with his Graflex (I believe an RB model – I have one of his Graflex cameras … still works). Although he was running the advertising department for Union Carbide at the time, he got his start writing about racing for The Horse Review (he is in the Harness Racing hall of fame for his writing) and ran a race track in Memphis for Mr Billings prior to the trip. He stayed involved in racing until his death many years later.

  15. cia says:

    Yep, massive amounts of Russian culture lost forever, due to the homogenization process of totalitarianism.

  16. These people look more like Europeans then they do Russians.

  17. handy says:

    These are incredible ruusian picures.
    The only problem i have is the domain name. LOL.

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