Photograph by Anthony Fiala
CUB IN A TUB
This orphaned polar bear cub was adopted by members of a 1905 Arctic expedition after they shot its mother, who had been circling their boat in search of food. "We lassoed the cub and brought it to the ship," recounted expedition leader W. S. Champ in our January 1906 issue. But the little bear was frantic. "I was going down the gangway when the thought struck me. If I can get the skin of the mother to this cub, possibly it will quiet her." The older bear's pelt was fetched, and the cub, which turned out to be male, was comforted. He was caged for the rest of the journey—except at bath time—and sent to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where he lived until his death in 1936. This photograph has never before been published in the magazine.
Photograph by Alexander Wiederseder
DOGGONE DOGGIE DINER
This doggy diner got biting criticism from author Frederick Simpich in "Southern California at Work," published in November 1934. Simpich—and likely, residents of upscale Beverly Hills—was aghast at buildings shaped like owls, teakettles, and shoes, so-called architectural eyesores that were popping up along roadsides in surrounding Los Angeles.
Photograph by Horace Bristol
Visitors to Australia's Mast Head Islet reined in green turtles for a wild ride over the water. Thrill-seekers climbed on the backs of sleeping turtles, startling them into action as they plowed through sand into the sea. It was "a game that requires a steady nerve and a bathing costume," wrote Charles Barrett in National Geographic's September 1930 article, "The Great Barrier Reef and Its Isles," where this photograph was originally published. "Though a turtle can carry a person with ease, it is quite a feat to ride one after it has entered its natural sphere, for it moves swiftly." The turtle won this round, once it reached deep water, but about a thousand of its kin lost out to another local specialty. According to the article, a turtle-soup factory listed them on the ingredients labels of 36,000 tins of soup.
Photograph by Horace Bristol
CELEBRATING THE NEW MOON
Lunar New Year observances at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama, Japan, traditionally include this feat of human performance. For a ceremony known as hadaka matsuri, a roomful of men grapple in total darkness to find camphor-scented batons tossed into the fray by the temple priest. "It is obvious," wrote photographer Horace Bristol, Jr., whose camera's flashbulb provided the room's only illumination, "that the participants in the ceremony must all be young, athletic, and in the peak of condition, for the melee is exceedingly fierce." This photograph was taken shortly after World War II. It appeared in the September 1988 issue of the magazine.
Photograph by Associated Press Photo
A LONG STORY IN SYDNEY
"I thought it must be the original sea monster," said fisherman Keith McRae, at left, who used a handline to haul in this 12-foot (4 meters) oarfish from Sydney Harbour in June 1954. Few photographs have ever been made of this species, Regalecus glesne, which can grow to 40 feet (12 meters) long and weigh as much as 650 pounds (300 kilograms). Though they rarely venture from deep-sea waters, the creatures do occasionally wash up on shore and are thought to have inspired centuries-old sailors' tales of sea serpents. This photograph has never before been published in the magazine.
Photograph by Kolb Brothers
ROCK OF AGES
This boulder wedged in a slot canyon along North Bass Trail was a Grand Canyon tourist attraction around 1905, when this photo was made, and remains one today. At that time photographers Ellsworth and Emery Kolb had a trailside darkroom below the South Rim to sell "instant" portraits of muleback visitors. Many of the chasm's nooks were first explored and photographed by Ellsworth. When Emery showed their photos at the Society in 1913, "two hundred of our members who were unable to find seats, both at the afternoon and evening meetings, were content to stand through the entire lecture," noted Editor Gilbert H. Grosvenor, who published this image in "Experiences in the Grand Canyon," in August 1914.
Photograph by Topical Press Agency
A HIGH TEA
London ladies in 1932 picnicked on the rooftop of Adelaide House—which then boasted a fruit and flower garden and an 18-hole putting green—overlooking the Thames' Tower Bridge. In February of that year the Geographic published "Some Forgotten Corners of London," in which author Harold Donaldson Eberlein had less success with the region's cuisine. "With the striking variety of… vegetables that can be successfully grown in almost any part of England," he wrote, "the absolute domination of cabbage and potatoes in the average British regimen appears totally inexcusable." This photograph has never before been published in the magazine.
Photograph by Photo-Art Commercial Studios
The peaceful waters of Spirit Lake enjoyed by these swimmers in the 1940s would roil a few decades later, when Mount St. Helens—in the background—erupted on May 18, 1980. An avalanche of rock and ash turned the evergreen wilderness into moonscape and dammed the lake's southern shore, raising the water level 200 feet (60 meters). Twenty years later old-growth tree trunks that were scoured off the mountainside still float raftlike on Spirit Lake, now part of a research area closed to recreational users. This photograph has never before been published in the magazine.
Photograph by F. E. Williams, London Electrotype Agency
A masked dancer from the Elema people of Papua balances a shark-effigy headdress crafted from bark cloth and cane. Maskmaking was part of the region's hevehe ritual, in which villagers invoked spirits of totem animals during the building of a new men's meetinghouse. These houses were frequented not only by bachelors but also by married men, who retreated there "at intervals, for the sake of a little peace and quiet," noted author E. W. Brandes in his September 1929 article, "Into Primeval Papua by Seaplane." This photograph, acquired by the Geographic in 1938, has never before been published in the magazine.
Photograph by Herbert G. Ponting
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
"Imagine a city where camels go up and down the streets upon legitimate business, not in a circus parade!" wrote James Arthur Muller about "Peking, The City of the Unexpected" in our November 1920 issue. "There are dozens upon dozens of them lining the sidewalk, up the street and down." This caravan of Bactrian camels, photographed around the time that the article was published, exits one of Peking's nine Tatar City gates. The 40-foot (12-meter) wall and its ten-story watchtower were built by Ming rulers in the 15th century, but both structures were demolished in the early 1960s to make room as Peking (Beijing) sprawled northward. This photograph has never before been published in the Geographic.
Photograph by Associated Press/Pictures
Seeing her window of opportunity, a young gorilla bound for the St. Louis Zoo in June 1938 experiments with escape from the car of zoo director George P. Vierheller. She and her male companion had just been greeted by crowds at the train station "like movie stars," according to a local paper. The apes were captured in central Africa, then shipped to New York City, where they were met by Vierheller and loaded on a train to St. Louis. When the pair refused to remain in the baggage car, Vierheller allowed them to ride in his Pullman car. "Both were as tame as kittens, at least to all appearances," said press accounts. "But both wore collars and stout iron chains which their chaperons carefully held." This photograph was published in the August 1940 issue to illustrate "Man's Closest Counterparts."
Art by Anthony Fiala
OUT OF THIS WORLD
"Were the Martians you met really as mean looking as you drew them?" an audience member once asked Anthony Fiala, a turn-of-the-century explorer. Fiala had slipped this alien image into his lantern-slide show just for fun, but photos from his actual travels to the Arctic and the jungles of Brazil must have seemed nearly as exotic. A former cartoonist, Fiala was just ending a stint as Spanish-American War correspondent for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle when he signed on as photographer for an unsuccessful expedition to the North Pole in 1901. He made the first moving pictures ever taken in the Arctic and two years later led his own team to the region, funded in part by the National Geographic Society. Fiala's group mapped a number of Arctic islands but never quite made it to the Pole. This Martian has never before been published in the magazine.