November 1st, 1896 – Boobs!


The first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published in October 1888, nine months after the Society was founded. Eight years later, on November 1st, 1896, the magazine made the controversial choice to publish a picture showing the bare breasts of a woman . . . 

According to the Society’s official website, one of the magazine’s early milestones came when its publishers decided that from then on out, they would show native peoples as they were, including when photographed nude.  In the case of November 1896, that month’s issue included a photograph of a Zulu bride (topless) and groom from South Africa.  The message conveyed is that nudity is not necessarily “pornographic” in nature, but that it has a legitimate, academic place when studying world cultures.


A less discussed detail is that one can totally see the man’s nipples, but perhaps critics deem them less noteworthy as his are unable to produce nourishing mammary fluids for the couple’s offspring.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


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