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Flashback Archive "We try to come up with funky stuff that is full of surprises," says illustrations editor Susan Welchman, who picks the images each month for National Geographic's most popular feature. "They have to be light, related to the stories in the magazine, and, if possible, funny."
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Flashback


2003
January
Two models sport undergarments made with Controlastic, a rubberized elastic yarn pioneered by Firestone and unveiled at the 1939-1940 World's Fair.

February
Historians continue to debate the authenticity of this 1907 Edward S. Curtis photo of a Hidatsa hunter clutching an eagle he may (or may not) have just captured. It's possible the bird was simply a prop.

March
For centuries in the Fiji Islands, tribal officials would bring out their best utensils for special people—not to serve them, but to eat them.

April
Early technology—in the form of an x-ray and an electric shaver—is sparingly demonstrated in this 1941 image.

May
Taking a break from her daily routine, Anne Cary Maudslay, wife of English archaeologist Alfred Maudslay, admires an eighth-century Maya stela at Quiriguá, Guatemala, in 1894.

June
As the former king of Syria, Faisal I already had experience when he came to Iraq’s throne in 1921, establishing a Hashemite monarchy that lasted until 1958.


July
Shortly after this photograph was taken in 1910, political upheaval not only divided the Korean nation, but also the family of the country's former minister of war, Yun Ung-ryeol.

August
Welcome to Hell! Hell’s Café, that is, a Right Bank hot spot where 19th-century Parisians had a devilishly good time.

September
Watch out! This striped burrfish grinds its teeth to attract mates, as F. Barrows Colton found in his 1945 experiment to record fish noises.

October
Buried for centuries after Dur Sharrukin, now Khorsabad, Iraq, was abandoned, this gypsum relief of a winged Assyrian god remained unharmed during the looting of Baghdad’s Iraq Museum last April.

November
In 1953 the children of National Geographic author and photographer Ralph Gray got closer than the law allows, at least today, to one of Yellowstone’s bears.

December
The hybrid ConvAirCar buzzed over San Diego on a trial flight in November 1947. But on its third test run, it crashed. The pilot survived. Production plans didn’t.