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Historial photos from the Burns Archive

Check out this interesting photo gallery of images plucked from the Burns Archives, one of America’s largest collections of historical images. It’s well worth the browse.

Man Tarred and Feathered, 1940

This 1940 press photo shows a victim of the oft-used but rarely documents practice of tarring and feathering. The hot, sticky liquid was poured over the victim, who was then doused with feathers as the tar dried. Though barbaric, the punishment could be administered without seriously scalding the victim or leaving permanent scars. But the consequences for accused criminals, communiists, or activists who would dispute the racial hierarchy of the time were far from pleasant — at the very least, the person would suffer irritated skin and eyes and have a need for one heck of a shower. The process often included public humiliation to boot.

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Story: Newsweek | Photo: The Burns Archive

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