Walter Bentley Woodbury, age 23. Self-portrait with a camera, 1857. This British-born photographer sailed to Austraila when he was twenty and ran a sucessful photography studio first in Melbourne, and then in Java, Indonesia.
He enclosed this photograph with a letter to his mother:
“The portrait I send has the date marked on it and in the future I shall always date them so that you can see if I improve in appearance or otherwise.”
Santiago Ramón y Cajal in his early twenties, c. 1870. The father of modern neuroscience (who mapped the anatomy of the neuron and its cells) was also an amateur bodybuilder and gymnast in his youth.
Here he is with a beard, c. 1876. Cajal really gets our neurons firing, if you know what I mean.
Submitted by coveted
Thornton Wilder, age 23, 1920, from his Yale graduation photograph. This author and playwright was introduced to his close friend and supposed lover Samuel Seward by Gertude Stein. His homosexuality was never disclosed publicly and he died after living with his sister for many years.
Submitted by maximoperesonorus
Situwuka and Katkwachsnea, Native American couple, 1912
Submitted by degbnth
Henry James, c. 1860, age 17.
From the submitter Katie Sommer:
Hello MDB. I am the associate editor for The Complete Letters of Henry James (ongoing; U of Nebraska Press). Here’s a photo of an extremely handsome young (18 years old or so) Henry James. The photo dates from 1860 or 1861 when his family was in Newport, RI, and the original is at the Houghton Library at Harvard University (pf MS AM 1094).
Charles Rennie Mackintosh, c. 1900, in his early thirties. This handsome Scot was responsible for some of the most beautiful design of the Arts & Crafts movement in the UK. His artistic temperament can be seen in the devil-may-care tying of his cravat.
Submitted by thenewmessiah
Lew Wallace, c. 1853, in his mid-twenties. Union general, governor of New Mexico territory, diplomat to the Ottoman Empire, where he gathered material for the bestselling Ben-Hur (which Ulysses S. Grant reportedly read in a single 30-hour sitting.)
From the submitter cmcdwh:
This handsome fellow is my great-great-grandfather, Lew Wallace, around 1853. The daguerreotype was taken around 1853 and is owned by the General Lew Wallace Study in Crawfordsville, Indiana. By the time he was a Major-General in the Civil War, Lew had grown an impressive beard, but I like him better this way. Lew sat on the military tribunal that tried another daguerreotype boyfriend, Lewis Thornton Powell. [Ed: Gasp!]
Bird Rattle, Piegan tribe, ca. 1910. Photographed by Edward S. Curtis. According to The Atlantic:
Curtis secured funding from J.P. Morgan, and visited more than 80 tribes over the next 20 years, taking more than 40,000 photographs, 10,000 wax cylinder recordings, and huge volumes of notes and sketches.
From submitter Chris Black:
Written on the back of this photo is written “Velma I Love You, Fred” Velma was my grandmother. I have no idea who Fred was.