I’m in my hometown visiting my parents and every time I come home there are obviously loads of memories from my childhood coming back to me and it’s always fun going through old things. The other evening I found an old book about dog breeds that I clearly remember looking in as a little kid. I’ve always been crazy about dogs. I remember thinking these illustrations made the dogs look a bit funny, not at all like the modern books with photos of the dogs on glossy pages that I had in my book shelf.
This book is from 1958.
1958 doesn’t feel that long ago at all, does it? It was the 50′s, just a few decades ago, my parents were kids, my grandparents were in their prime…
But yeah well, looking at these illustrations now I realize that some things have happened since. That Rhodesian ridgeback wouldn’t get far at a dog show of today (not allowed too big white patches). You could also see in the book that it was still allowed to cut the tail and crop the ears on breeds like Dobermanns and Boxers.
Furthermore, it was before we switched over to driving on the right side of the road here in Sweden, in fact not all families had a car yet. Or a “television set”. And it was before The Beatles, before man went to the moon.
And it wasn’t just the dogs being judged and measured. People were too, at the State Institute of Race Biology – the first of its kind established here in Sweden in 1921 – where the “foreigners, criminal and retarded” were separated from the “healthy, strong and Scandinavian looking”. This institute did studies on 100 000 Swedes and took on measures like forced sterilization. These “researchers” were later critisized as their guidelines proved very close to the Nazi views on mankind. In 1958 the institute changed its name to Institute for Medical Genetics.
And all the sub-Saharan African countries were still under colonial rule.
1958 isn’t that long ago, but quite a few things have happened since then, thankfully.