The Hindenburg disaster happened 75 years ago this month. In this incredibly fascinating video, Cheryl Ganz, the chief curator for the National Postal Museum, talks about the photographs, letters, and maps collected by Hindenburg passenger Peter Belan.
Belan was on the Hindenburg when it burst into flame. In fact, he took a whole roll of photos from the doomed ship as it came in for a landing, photos that haven't ever been published before. You'll see some of them here. Belan's pockets and suitcase are the source of some of the only surviving examples of Hindenburg passenger documents, including receipts and a map of the ship's last route.
In particular, I absolutely love the Belan photographs. There's something very modern about them, or maybe just about the act of photographing a setting right before it becomes infamous. These shots make it easy to imagine a parallel-universe Belan twittering the disaster as it happened.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.