22 Photos That Pioneered Lolcats And Animal Memes A Century Ago

American photographer Harry Whittier Frees made a career out of perfectly crafted cute animal photography starting in 1906. Frees used his novelty photos for postcards, calendars, and children’s books.

Frees dressed the animals and posed them in human situations with props. He used his own cats as models as well as the pets of his friends and neighbors

“Rabbits are the easiest to photograph in costume, but incapable of taking many ‘human’ parts. Puppies are tractable when rightly understood, but the kitten is the most versatile animal actor, and possesses the greatest variety of appeal,” Frees said.

Take a look at Frees’ original cat memes — or lolcats — and plenty of other just plain adorable baby animals:

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Wedding

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Waterwell

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Watering The Flowers

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Washing Dishes

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Train Ride

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Towing

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Tangled

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Swing

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Sewing Clothes

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Ready For Bed

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Push Cart

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Planting

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Pins

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Picnic

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Nurse

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Laundry

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Joy Ride

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Fire

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Fiddle

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Diving

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Cooking

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

Airplane

Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress

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Next, check out the seven cutest animals you’ve never seen before. Then, jump to the other end of the spectrum and have a look at the world’s ugliest animals.

Gorillas In The Crossfire At Africa’s Oldest National Park

For more on the battle for Virunga National Park, visit National Geographic.

Virguna National Park Gorillas

Photograph by Brent Stirton, © Brent Stirton / National GeographicA silverback from the 22-member Mapuwa family emerges from the jungle to keep an eye on a ranger patrol. Virunga National Park has largely succeeded in protecting mountain gorillas, its top tourist draw, from violence. Their population is now growing.

TWO GROUPS OF MOUNTAIN GORILLAS WERE SLAUGHTERED in the summer of 2007, one after the other.

First, two females were shot, with one’s infant left alive and later found still clinging to its dead mother’s breast. Then came the killing of three females and a silverback, shot, burned, and, in a strange move for poachers, left otherwise intact, no trophies or meat taken for sale on the black market.

Then again, these men almost certainly weren’t poachers.

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