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13 Vintage Photos of Hurricanes and Their Aftermath

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As Hurricane Sandy makes landfall on the East Coast, here's a look back at other dramatic hurricanes in American history.

Galveston, Texas Hurricane, September 1900

This hurricane was the deadliest in U.S. history—the estimated death toll was 8000 (to compare, 1800 people died during Hurricane Katrina).

Damage to a church.


The hurricane, which had a storm surge of 15 feet, also destroyed a public school.

Workers recovering bodies, which were then burned.

The New England Hurricane of 1938

Before Sandy, this storm—nicknamed the Long Island Express, because it actually reshaped part of the island's coastline—was the most powerful hurricane at this latitude.


Damage on a street in Keene, New Hampshire.

Debris along a New England Shoreline.

The Connecticut River overflowed.


A couple sits near the wreckage of their home in Highland Park, Rhode Island.

Hurricane Carol, August 1954


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A man holds onto a tree by the seashore against severe winds during Hurricane Carol's assault on the Northeastern seaboard, Brooklyn, New York.


Flooding in New England. Carol came about under similar meteorological circumstances as the 1938 hurricane. At the time, this storm was the third costliest in U.S. history.

Hurricane Donna, August and September 1960


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A fire tender being driven through a flooded street in New York street in the wake of Hurricane Donna.

Hurricane Betsy, August and September 1965


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A Miami Beach resident emerges from his home and braves high winds and waist-deep water to assess the damage that Hurricane Betsy has done to his property. The storm caused caused $1.42 billion worth of damage in the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana, earning the storm the nickname "Billion Dollar Betsy."


A view from inside the eye of the storm.

Hurricane Hugo, September 1989


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Hurricane Hugo slams into the eastern coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wind gusts of 140 mph and heavy rains ripped through the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, before the storm struck land again in South Carolina on September 22. It was a Cape Verde-type storm; hurricanes of this type form off the coast of Africa and tend to be very powerful because they have a lot of warm water to fuel them before they hit land.

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‘American Gothic’ Became Famous Because Many People Saw It as a Joke
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1930, Iowan artist Grant Wood painted a simple portrait of a farmer and his wife (really his dentist and sister) standing solemnly in front of an all-American farmhouse. American Gothic has since inspired endless parodies and is regarded as one of the country’s most iconic works of art. But when it first came out, few people would have guessed it would become the classic it is today. Vox explains the painting’s unexpected path to fame in the latest installment of the new video series Overrated.

According to host Phil Edwards, American Gothic made a muted splash when it first hit the art scene. The work was awarded a third-place bronze medal in a contest at the Chicago Art Institute. When Wood sold the painting to the museum later on, he received just $300 for it. But the piece’s momentum didn’t stop there. It turned out that American Gothic’s debut at a time when urban and rural ideals were clashing helped it become the defining image of the era. The painting had something for everyone: Metropolitans like Gertrude Stein saw it as a satire of simple farm life in Middle America. Actual farmers and their families, on the other hand, welcomed it as celebration of their lifestyle and work ethic at a time when the Great Depression made it hard to take pride in anything.

Wood didn’t do much to clear up the work’s true meaning. He stated, "There is satire in it, but only as there is satire in any realistic statement. These are types of people I have known all my life. I tried to characterize them truthfully—to make them more like themselves than they were in actual life."

Rather than suffering from its ambiguity, American Gothic has been immortalized by it. The country has changed a lot in the past century, but the painting’s dual roles as a straight masterpiece and a format for skewering American culture still endure today.

Get the full story from Vox below.

[h/t Vox]

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“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0
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Get Your GIFs Ready for This International Public Domain GIF-Making Competition
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“Dissension” by Tobias Rothe. Original image courtesy Fondazione Federico Zeri/Università di Bologna // CC-BY 3.0

Excellent GIF-making skills can serve you beyond material for your clever tweets. Each year, a group of four digital libraries from across the world hosts GIF IT UP, a competition to find the best animated image sourced from public domain images from their archives.

The competition is sponsored by Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), New Zealand’s DigitalNZ, and the National Library of Australia’s Trove, all of which host millions of public domain works. The requirements are that the source material must be in the public domain, have a 'no known copyright restrictions' statement, or have a Creative Commons license that allows its reuse. The material must also come from one of the sponsored sources. Oh, and judging by the past winners, it helps if it’s a little whimsical.

The image above won the grand prize in 2015. And this was a runner-up in 2016:

via GIPHY

This year’s prizes haven’t been announced yet (although Europeana says there will be a new one for first-time GIF makers), but last year’s grand prize winner got their own Giphoscope, and runners-up got $20 gift cards. (Turns out, there’s not a lot of money in public domain art.)

Not an expert GIFer yet? You can always revisit the audio version of DPLA’s advanced GIF-making tutorial from last year.

The fourth-annual GIF IT UP contest opens to submissions October 1.

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