A Group of Samurai in front of Egypt’s Sphinx; ca. 1863
A group of thirty four samurai were sent by the Japanese government to France at the end of Edo era. At the time, all the ports of Japan were closed, cutting it off from the rest of the world.
The mission’s aim was to persuade France to agree to the closing of the port of Yokohama to foreign trade, and allow Japan to retreat into isolation once more. The mission inevitably failed. In 1864, en route to Paris, the Ikeda mission visited Egypt. The stay was memorialized in one of nineteenth-century photography’s most extraordinary images — the embassy’s members, dressed in winged kamishimo costume and jingasa hats, carrying their feared long (katana) and short (wakizashi) swords, standing before the Giza Sphinx.
A crowd gathers after Jumbo the elephant is struck and killed by a train in St. Thomas, Ontario; September 15th, 1885
Jumbo was 24 when he was killed on September 15, 1885, in the rail yards at St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. It was about 9:30 p.m. The circus had just finished a performance. The elephants were being led along the main track in the rail yards to their boxcars. To their left was a steep bank; to their right was the circus train. An unscheduled freight train roared down upon them from the east. The engineer tried to stop the train, but failed. Animal keepers got most of the elephants to safety down the bank. Jumbo and a dwarf elephant called Tom Thumb were the last act on the circus programme and the last to leave the Big Top. Tom Thumb was behind Jumbo. The little elephant was hit by the train and thrown into a ditch. His left leg was broken, but he lived. Jumbo ran down the track away from the oncoming train with Scotty beside him. The locomotive struck Jumbo from behind. He roared in pain as the train carried him 300 feet (91 m) down the track. He was wedged partly above and partly below a flatcar. Jumbo’s skull was fractured in several places. He had serious internal injuries. Blood poured from his mouth and trunk. Jumbo reached for and held Scotty’s hand with his trunk. He died within minutes of the accident. The locomotive and the tender were thrown off the track. They were destroyed in the collision.
A policeman stops traffic to allow a mother cat to carry her kittens across Centre Street, New York; July 25th, 1925
Harry Warnecke, a photographer for the New York News, got a phone tip about a cat trying to carry its kittens home who was tying up traffic because a policeman had stopped the cars on a busy street to allow it to cross. Warnecke arrived after the event was over, but he convinced the policeman and cat’s owner to allow him to recreate the scene. Despite the policeman’s initial reluctance, the cat’s inclination to cross the street diagonally instead of in front of the cars, and furious honking motorists, Warnecke finally got his shot — after three attempts.