Eerie Photos They Left Out Of History Books

By Jack Ripley | March 13, 2023

Staying Cool At The Madonna House Nursery In NYC During The Summer Of 1941

Vintage photos are windows into the past, whether it's people and events we remember or things that happened a century before our birth. From the Princess of Wales and her baby to clown prince John Candy and his daughter, way back to president Abe Lincoln and his son -- the joy of parenthood shines through.

History's mysteries always draw us in, whether it's a 1,400-year-old monument carved by the Maya of South America or simply a candid glimpse of a geisha with her hair down, we hunger for more of the story. And we can't get enough of celebrities in a new light: teenaged Johnny Carson, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe; Bob Ross in his Air Force days; Johnny Cash fishing in his back yard; Borg and McEnroe chilling away from the tennis court.

Join us on this journey into the past, we promise you'll see something new, as well as familiar things, in a new light. Onward!

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Source: Reddit

On July 1, 1941, a nun at the Madonna House Nursery in New York City did what had to be done to keep her charges cool. Here she is seen using a sprinkler head attached to a hose to douse them with cool water. There's bound to be a metaphor here about tending to the young human seedlings so that they might grow into prosperous adults who bear the fruit of moral clarity. 

Anyone who's experienced a summer heat wave in New York City is not likely to forget it. The concrete and cement of buildings and streets absorb heat, making city temperatures higher than those of surrounding regions. Buildings prevent airflow -- you're less likely to catch relief from a cool breeze when you're surrounded by apartment blocks and high-rises. On top of that, the smells of a sticky-hot NYC summer are a whole new level of urban unpleasantness. We don't have a temperature for July 1, 1941 -- the date this picture was taken -- but we can tell you that on July 2 the thermometer hit 98 degrees.

17-Year-Old Norma Jean Dougherty, 1943

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Source: Reddit

This is a pretty girl on a beach, but would you pick her out to become Marilyn Monroe? That's what happened to Norma Jeane Dougherty, who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson (but often went by Norma Jeane Baker) and changed her last name when she married James Dougherty. She was 16 when they wed. In this photo, she's standing on the beach at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, California. Her husband was stationed at the island's boot camp.

While her husband was off fighting in the Pacific Teater of World War II, Norma Jeane began modeling -- against his wishes. She signed with an agency that determined her figure was better for pinup and cheesecake modeling than fashion, and she was soon appearing in magazines geared toward a male audience. She straightened her hair and dyed it blonde to make herself more marketable, and she soon proved to be one of the agency's most in-demand models. A couple of screen tests and a name change later, and she was destined for the silver screen.