life magazine

sadie north

i browse the life archives a bit everyday, and usually find something magical. here is 77 year old sadie north doing a variety of robust activities. women like this symbolise everything that’s good about the world.

sadie riding her bicycle

sadie teaching swimming & first aid

sadie making tapestries (!) & babysitting

sadie playing violin (she also plays the organ) & singing in her church choir

sadie mowing her own flipping lawn.

all images courtesy of the life magazine archives

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tennis star

at school we had to do some kind of sport as an extra-curricular activity, as well as regularly playing different sports during PE classes. man. i HATED it… because i was so incredibly terrible at it. i would say things like, “i don’t see the sporty kids being forced to do art!” which obviously didn’t help anything, but as a kid i wanted to exercise my right to complain and winge. now of course i would tell my younger self, “just get on with it. one of these days you’re going to regret not getting all those sporty hours in and building your muscles when you still have the time & energy.”

the only game i was remotely good at was tennis. i actually understood it, and it’s fun to watch. cool uniforms too.

all images courtesy of the life magazine archives

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camping

as a kid my family would often go on camping trips, especially up the coast during the holidays. my parents had this huge canvas tent that was super complicated to put up – but the end result was a harry-potter like palace that could sleep all six of us. perhaps not a palace. i can still remember the smell of that tent… hot grass and sunscreen.

all images from the life magazine archives

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mirth response test

discovering the “mirth response test” series was my very own mirth response test (result: positive)

photographed by lisa larsen in 1955 for life magazine

(this is totally something i can imagine the peeps at sterling cooper draper price doing – with don draper just sitting there, not enjoying it. thinking about something else. brooding.)

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heaven, basically.

‘glorchoz shop fashions’ on the island of st. thomas in the caribbean. photographs by lisa larsen for life.

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scouts

i love the scouts. my dad was one, all my brothers were in the scouts and my young nephew has just recently graduated from being a cub. i think it can have such a positive influence on a kid’s development, especially the fact that they encourage and cultivate a love for the outdoors. my nephew and i were recently having a discussion about some giant tortoises in our neighbourhood park whose shells had been damaged by local kids – and he said, “those are the children who stay inside all day and play video games.” this coming from an eleven year old! man. all kids should be in the scouts. plus their uniforms are cool, right?

these photos of american cub scouts at a camp were taken by yale joel for life magazine (no year)

and this dishy young man is from a story called ‘boy scouts in the antarctic’ photographed by nina leen

all images from life magazine

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victory corps

you will have to pardon me, because the life archives have been fixed and so i’ve been happily immersing myself in old photos again. yayayay! (that’s a triple yay) look at these cute gals in their uniforms – this is the victory corps in 1942

As Americans became more involved in the escalation of World War II, volunteer organizations began to form. Seeing the need for high school students to become involved, the Victory Corps was established on September 25, 1942 . The purpose of this student organization was to prepare high school students to aid in the war effort on the homefront and the frontlines. Both girls and boys from white and African American schools participated. In order to be a member, a student needed to participate in a physical fitness program, enroll in a war-effort class, and volunteer for at least one extracurricular wartime activity.

that sounds like an ordinary south african school day to me. i don’t know about you guys, but my school had (a) uniforms (b) PE classes and (c) compulsory extracurricular activities. we would have been so ready for war*

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* tongue firmly in cheek.

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john olson

john olson was hired by life in 1968 at the age of 21, making him the youngest staff photographer at the magazine. before that he went to vietnam at the age of only 19 and won the robert capa gold medal for his coverage of the battle of hue, one of the bloodiest battles of the war. you may recognise his photographs of rock stars and their parents.

all images courtesy of life mag

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