If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You’d Be Off By 500 Years… At Least.

So, just in case you thought that the age of internet, smartphones and social media was solely responsible for the craze of dressing pets up in silly costumes, this should serve as a helpful reality check for you. Cat owners, at least, have been doing such things for at least five centuries.

Kalev Leetaru, a Fellow at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., has built a vast collection of awesome images showing kittens in dungarees, bonnets, silly paper hats, bow ties and dresses.

And the best part of it is that it has all been revealed as part of an archive of 12 million copyright-free images which Kalev is putting online on the photo-sharing site Flickr.

The cat images were taken from a 1911 collection titled Kittens and Cats: A Book of Tales by Eulalie Osgood Grover an American children’s author who sold many millions of books in the first half of the 20th century.

Kittens and Cats: A Book of Tales is but one of 600 million library book pages which have been scheduled for uploading to the archive by Mr. Leetaru – and the range is astounding. Incredibly, the images stretch all the way back to 1500 and go to 1922, when copyright laws were introduced. They range from the colorful illustrations of Queen Victoria’s spectacular coronation parade to detailed pen-and-ink drawings of human anatomy and mosquitoes.

1. As these images from 1911 show, dressing up cats in silly costumes is a craze which long predates the age of the blog.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

2. The photos from Kittens and Cats: A Book of Tales by Eulalie Osgood Grover are part of a vast collection of out-of-copyright images which have been uploaded to Flickr by an academic.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

3. The text before this image reads: ‘I wish someone would hurry and bring me some milk. Mine is all gone and so is my mouse. I wonder if this is all we are going to have to eat. I am so hungry I shall have to go home and catch a rat. The Queen is asking some one to tell a story. I believe she means me. Yes, dear Queen, I will’

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

4. The surreal photos feature cats dressed up in dungarees, overalls and dotty bow ties.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

5. The book is just one of thousands uploaded to Flickr.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

6. The cats are in surreal situations.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

7. The collection also includes intricate drawings of human anatomy and a hair-raising sketch of a mosquito.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

8. As with humans, much of the expression comes from the eyes.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

9. Having a bizarre array of hats and bonnets probably doesn’t do any harm.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

10. Despite his archive containing three million images so far, Mr Leetaru couldn’t help admitting the cat images were among his favourites in the collection.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

11. Despite his archive containing three million images so far, Mr Leetaru couldn’t help admitting the cat images were among his favourites in the collection.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

12. Many of the cats are dressed up in intricate costumes.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

13. The costumes’ size suggests they may have been painstakingly custom-designed.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

14. In one case, a cat is pictured in a tiny bed.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

15. The researcher said: ‘The project was entirely unfunded and there was no huge team, just me, and I did it entirely in what little spare time I had. So, its a perfect example of what’s possible today from purely volunteer and personal projects in the era of “big data”!’

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

16. The researcher added: ”I wanted to be able to search for images matching a certain keyword, to be able to trace imagery through time. For example, to see the imagery of the “telephone” change over the decades as it changed from being the realm of male businessmen at work to the whole family at home’.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

17. What makes the online Flickr archive so curious is that many of the photos come with only cryptic descriptions, leaving the viewer guessing as to their origins.

If You Thought That Dressing Pets Up In Silly Clothes Was A Recent Fad, You'd Be Off By 500 Years... At Least.

Source: Internet Archive Book Images.

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