Life-Magazine Research Archives

To Top

Uranium ‘Gold’ Rush

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: This was originally published April 22, 2015


Credit for posting this rare magazine cover with a CJ-2A on it goes to:

The hunt for Uranium during the late 1940s and into the 1950s in the American West was a big deal. It’s also the last great mineral rush with-in the continental United States. Uranium’s grand paradox, as author Tom Zoellner puts it, is that “[t]he stability of our world rests on a substance that is unstable at the core.”

So large was the hunt for Uranium, the May 23, 1955, issue of Life Magazine noted that more man-hours had been spent hunting for Uranium between 1952 and 1955 than were spent seeking all other metals in history, at least according to the Atomic Energy Commission. Having spent considerable time thumbing through decades of mine related information prior to the 1900s, I find this claim dubious, but maybe someone can explain how this could be?

Still, the uranium boom captivated the imagination of the public. Uranium Fever was written and sung by Eliot Britt in 1955 and included jeep references. This great site shows how the search affected popular magazines of the time. In the Life Magazine article referenced above (pg 26), the author included a list of ultimate gear for prospecting. At the very top of the list was a brand-new four-wheel jeep for only $1,685, along with equipment and a map of the best places to hunt:

1955-05-23-uranium-hunt4 1955-05-23-uranium-hunt3 1955-05-23-uranium-hunt2 1955-05-23-uranium-hunt1

Continue reading

To Top

The 1959 Jeep Cavalcade “Rush to the Rockies” Centennial

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images Jeeping • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Will Corbett shared this 1959 ‘Jeep’ Cavalcade “Rush to the Rockies” Centennial event brochure with Gone-Gpn on Facebook. It is a tri-fold brochure that opens up with a full-page on the back. I’ve pieced together the back page from two separate pages, so it isn’t quite a perfect example.

This is the front of the brochure:


This is the back of the brochure:

1959-colorado-cavalcade-centential4This image shows the back of the brochure when fully opened:



Originally Posted October 18, 2018:

This information covers the 1959 Jeep Cavalcade “Rush to the Rockies” Centennial. The 1959 Cavalcade was part of the 100th anniversary of the John Gregory’s Central City May 1859 strike, which led to a wave of hopeful miners descending upon what would become the Denver area. The Centennial was celebrate throughout Colorado through a variety of celebrations and merchandise (like these bottles and this Centential booklet).

A subsequent ‘Jeep’ Cavalcade was organized for 1960, as shown in this brochure.


Photo from the Denver Post. Both Life Magazine and the Denver Post covered the event. Note the white wagon above. It appears in a couple of the color photos below.

Some folks attached these flags to their rigs.


Here are photos of the 1959 Jeep Calvacade that appeared in the December 28, 1959, issue of Life Magazine (the one below).

Continue reading

To Top

1946 X-Raying of a Jeep

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old News Articles • TAGS: .

This is a real X-ray of a real jeep developed as a life-size image. Life Magazine, March 25, 1946.

In 1946 the wiz kids at the University of Rochester, NY, and Eastman Kodak built the world’s largest radiograph, one that could create an X-Ray photo of a large machine, say a jeep, which is precisely how they tested it. In the jeep’s case, the team used the million-volt x-ray machine to create a radiograph 12′ 1″ long by 4′ 1″ tall, or large enough to contain a life size jeep. The larger goal was create the ability to X-Ray large machinery.

The February 8th, 1946, issue of Rochester Democrat Chronicle shared the story:


The next month, Life Magazine also ran the story, this time with a copy of the X-ray photo (seen at top):



The jeep’s hood number is 20200556

To Top

1945 Life Magazine Superglue Example

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: .

This photo from the March 05, 1945, issue of Life Magazine shows a jeep being used as a guinea pig for a superglue test.


To Top

1951 Yakima Ridge Runners’ Life Article

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: , .

This May 14, 1951, article “Life Goes Ridgerunning” from Life Magazine used to be posted in full on the Yakima Ridge Runner’s website, but that site appears to be no longer active. So, you’ll find it below.

If you’ve never seen the color footage of the Ridge Runners jeeping in the Cascade Mountains, that’s worth a throwback look:

And, there’s the widely circulated set of two videos that may have been filmed at the same time the writers of the magazine article were visiting Yakima (video 1 and video 2)

1951-05-14-life-magazine-ridge-runners-article1-lores Scannable Document Scannable Document Scannable Document

Continue reading

To Top

Wally Cohn — Jeep King?

UPDATE 3: There are some broken links, so I’ll need to spend some time and clean up this post.

UPDATE 2: Daniel Strohl over at Hemmings provided a solid background update about Wally Cohn.

“Born in 1924 in Germany, his father and stepmother sent him to the Chicago area in 1937 both to live with family and to escape the increasingly anti-Semitic mood in Germany. After Kristallnacht, his older brother Herman, his father Siegfried, and his stepmother joined him in Chicago. Walter flew 30 missions for the U.S. Army Air Corps as a bombardier during the war, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star and rising at least to the rank of Sergeant. After the war, he served as a member of the chief justice’s staff during the war crimes trials in Nuremberg, then returned to the United States and founded W&W Foreign Auto Parts in Blue Island, Illinois.”

UPDATE:  A reader named Clint just determined what type of vehicle Wally was using — A 1936-1940 Opel Olympia.  Here are two links to images:  Link 1 & Link 2. Thanks Clint!

ORIGINAL POST published in 2010:  I ran across the images shown below and others.  I didn’t think much of them until I looked more closely.  It appears the builder, who I assume is Wally Cohn, has merged a 1936-1940 Opel Olympia with a MB to create, arguably, the first Jeepster-like vehicle, except it is four wheel drive. The ‘Wally’ appears to use the entire jeep drive train.  If you look in back, you’ll even see this car can tow a trailer!

Who is Wally Cohn? I have no idea. I can’t seem to find anything about him, other than his name was Wally Cohn and he was nicknamed the Jeep King by photographer Walter Sanders.

Photographer Walter (Wally) Sanders worked for Life Magazine from 1944 to 1961. After growing up and leaving Germany for the US in 1937, he returned in early 1946 and lived the rest of his life in Europe, mostly in Munich. You can learn more about his biography here.

Because Walter was in Europe during December of 1946, and because these photos were snapped during that month, and because of Wally’s uniform (which Bob noted is an Army Airforce Uniform), I have concluded that Wally Cohn was a member of the armed services trying to merge cars and jeeps into a Wally vehicle of some kind (note the name Wally is displayed prominently on the dash in one of the pics).

This would be a great collector’s item — and a cool jeep too!

To Top

August 1942 Letter-to-Editor Discusses Jeep Name

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

This summer of 1942 article highlights some of the confusion surrounding the jeep name and might be one of the first documented instances of someone claiming that GP became jeep. As I’ve argued, I see no reason to believe that’s the case.


To Top

Escape From Burma in Ford GPs

During a 75,000 mile adventure between 1940 and 1942 Life photographer George Rodger photographed the growing war across Africa, Europe, and Asia. During the latter part of his adventures he found himself using, then abandoning, Two Ford GPs sent to the Chinese as he and his fellow adventurers escaped Burma. He reported on these adventures, through photos, in the August 10, 1942, issue of Life Magazine.


1942-08-george-rodger-75000k-fordgp-photos-65 1942-08-george-rodger-75000k-fordgp-photos-66 1942-08-george-rodger-75000k-fordgp-photos-67

Continue reading

To Top

1949 De Anza Cavalcade – Life Magazine Tags Along

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images, Trips, Women & Jeeps • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: This was published back in 2010. This seems appropriate, since the post below this one may feature the dozer blade shown in the photos below.

I believe these images are from the 1st annual De Anza Cavalcade, which occurred in 1949.  You can read a little about these events from the Hemet Jeep Club’s Website. Here’s an brief synopsis from Harry Buschert’s memorial:

In 1948 (Harry) Buschert joined the first Hemet Jeep Cavalcade and jumped in a jeep with Harvey Gibel at the Hemet Farmer’s Fairgrounds. The first Cavalcade, sponsored by the Anza- Borrego Trails Association and the Hemet Valley Chamber of Commerce, began as a way to show the public the need to pave the road between Hemet and Borero Springs. Over 400 Jeeps and 800 passengers came out for the first event. They took two days to travel down Coyote Canyon. Buschert would participate and assist in running the events for years to come. The event ran continuously until 1973. By 1973 the movement pave the road had become obsolete, the high prices of gasoline made the event too costly, and the perceived impact of the event affecting public perception all led to the its ending. The event took a fifteen year hiatus and began again in 1988, Buschert took part in the anniversary run.

The Life Magazine Photographer was Peter Stackpole, whom the New York Times described as a chronicler of California Trends.  Peter was part of the first group of photographers hired by Life Magazine.

You can view all the photographs of this two day ‘Jeep Ride’ in 1949 here. I have included small versions of a few of my favorite images.  Click on the images to see blown up views.

1) Here we are at the beginning:

Note the Department of Agriculture painted on the side.  That looks like a nice wool jacket, too:

Here the ‘wagon’ train is on the move.  Note the little boy peeking out the window:

You can see the line of Jeeps stretches for a ways:

Here the jeeps stop for a rest; I probably lightened this up a little too much, but I wanted to be able to see the details of the jeeps better.  Note that one of the jeeps near the bottom of the pic has an extended back — a woman is sitting in back of it:

One of the stranger arrangements was this CJ-2A that sported 3 or four passengers plus luggage, plus a plow! I have 3 images of that below:

And finally, when’s the last time you saw a Ford GP out Jeeping?

Again, you can see MANY more pics of this 1949 Hemet Jeep Club Calvacade at the Life Magazine Image Archives.

To Top

1944 Color Photo from France

• CATEGORIES: Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

Taken by Life Magazine photographer Frank Scherschel, I found this photo at the picturesdotblog site. Note the use of the parking brake! Also note the “press” sign on the front of the jeep. Do you suppose the wire cutter on the front of the press jeep was cut so that it wouldn’t interfere with photos?


Jeeps (including a press vehicle) in the town square, Marigny (Manche), Normandy, 1944.

A view of the same town seventy years later (thanks Tom!):

To Top

1942 Life Photo of Jeep Crossing River

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

The November 30th, 1942, issue of Life Magazine featured this photo of soldiers pushing a jeep across a river in New Guinea.


To Top

MB/GPW in the Snow

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

This photo was published by Life Magazine. I’m still hunting down the issue.


To Top

2 Ford GPs in Burma during WWII

Here’s a set of Ford GPs in Burma during WWII. The photo is from the June 08, 1942, issue of Life Magazine. The article, “Flight from Burma” on page 30, is a fascinating tale of the desertion of the Rangoon, as told by George Rodger, the photographer pictured in the photo with the two Ford GPs below.

Search for Life Magazine June 8, 1942, on eBay


Later in the issue (page 56) is this ad with a jeep:


To Top

Centre D’Art’s Folk Art CJ-2A

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

1950 photo of the Centre D’Art CJ-2A. This is a snapshot from the US Information Service video shown below.


Note how much more complex the art looks in this photo than in the video. This is DeWitt Peters with his Centre D’Art CJ-2A.

In 1943, WWII conscientious objector and artist American DeWitt Peters chose to go to Haiti to teach English. After a year, he wrote to the Haiti’s Ministry of Education and suggested he could do more for Haiti by establishing a school of painting. Using some of his own money, along with US State Department and Haitian funds, he helped launch the LE CENTRE D’ART. The goal of the center was to encourage the development of Haiti artists and folk art.


Image is from Life Magazine circa 1947. This looks different from the other photos. It is possible the jeep was repainted regularly.

To help advertise the Center’s work, Dewitt Peters used his jeep as a rolling mural. As you can imagine, this color jeep must have been quite a sight motoring around Port-au-Prince. Dewitt also used the jeep to deliver art supplies to rural painters. The video below from the United States Information Service shows his jeep from timestamps 5:17 to about 8:00. Too bad it isn’t in color.

Many publications credit DeWitt for launching a renaissance in Haitian folk art, however some historians question his overall impact. However, one thing he might have launched is the Tap Tap Buses and Taxis, whose outsides are highly colorful and continue to shuffle riders to this day. Unfortunately, the Centre’ d’Art’s building was completely demolished in the Haitiian Earthquake.

Here are a few links of interest:

  4. Images of Tap tap vehicles
  5. Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti. Includes references to DeWitt Peters
  6. Life Magazine, August 1, 1947, article titled “Haitian Painting”, pgs 58-61.

Tap Tap Bus — public transportation in Haiti. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
To Top

Photos of Jeeps on the Stilwell Road in Life Magazine

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: .

Life Magazine captured the scene when a convoy of jeeps and trucks navigated over the Burma road and reached Kunming, China, for the first time. The article is called “Life Goes Over the Stilwell Road” and was published in the March 12, 1945, issue on page 117.

This link gives more context to the images and shows them all:

You can read the original article in full on google:

Search for March 12, 1945 issues of Life Magazine on eBay



To Top

Duncan Douglas’ Photo of Nightmare Alley

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Not a great day for driving a jeep. This 1950 photo of Nightmare Alley was shot as these troops retreated. The temperature was estimated at -40 degrees. Read more about this LIfe Magazine photo here.

David Douglas Duncan / TIME & LIFE Pictures.U.S. Marine crouching down next to his jeep while leading a convoy of vehicles during the 1st Marine Division's retreat down canyon road they called "Nightmare Alley," after being cut off by the Red Chinese and under fire from nearby hills in December 1950.

David Douglas Duncan / TIME & LIFE Pictures.
U.S. Marine crouching down next to his jeep while leading a convoy of vehicles during the 1st Marine Division’s retreat down canyon road they called “Nightmare Alley,” after being cut off by the Red Chinese and under fire from nearby hills in December 1950.


To Top

Photo of Soldiers on Mariana Island in 1944

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Life magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith too this photo on Mariana Island of Saipan during the summer of 1944. You can see more photos at’s site. As you can see, both of these jeeps are MB Slatgrilles. Interesting that the spares are stored in the same place used later by the CJs.


To Top

Transporting Jeeps via Plane

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

The August 03, 1942, issue of Life Magazine has an article about Transport Planes. The article includes photos of some GPWs. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be wedged in there next to the jeep during a bumpy flight!

You can see the entire article at Google Books

There is a copy of this issue on eBay as well.

1942-08-03-transport-planes-gpw1 1942-08-03-transport-planes-gpw2

To Top

Ford GP & the Flying Tigers in Burma

• CATEGORIES: Bantam-FordGP-WillysMA-EarlyJPs, Features, Magazine • TAGS: .

John spotted this photo on this website from page 29 of the March 30, 1942, issue of Life Magazine. The article covered the Flying Tigers and features some great photos.

Here’s a copy of the magazine for sale on eBay


To Top

Jeep-Borne Beer Keg

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

The Princeton graduating class of 1932 used a jeep to celebrate their 15th reunion (in 1947) by hauling a keg in it. This photo was published in the June 16, 1947, issue of Life Magazine (page 60).

The related article takes an in-depth look at the class of ’32 by interviewing and publishing their incomes, job changes, marital status and more. It’s actually a pretty interesting article. I was surprised to see that by 1947 31% of marriages ended in divorce. One of the graduates of ’32 was Jimmy Stewart. Do you suppose he’s somewhere in the back of that jeep?




To Top

Slat Grille By Cable in May 5, 1942, Life Magazine

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: .

I bought a cheap copy of the May 5, 1942, issue of Life Magazine off ebay the other day. In it I found these photos on page 8-11. It was a failed effort to slide a jeep across a river by cable.

Before I show a the hanging jeep, I wanted to share the photo below that shows some jeeps aboard a vessel of some sort.

1942-05-04-Life-Magazine-pg23Here’s the jeep by cable from pages 8-11. You can view the magazine on Google.

1942-05-04-Life-Magazine-pg8-111942-05-04-Life-Magazine-pg8-11-00 1942-05-04-Life-Magazine-pg8-11-01 1942-05-04-Life-Magazine-pg8-11-02

Continue reading

To Top

Crated Jeep Photos

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

Hugh forwarded these crated jeep photos.

crate-jeep1 crate-jeep2 crate-jeep3

To Top

Life Magazine Photos from May 23, 1944

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images • TAGS: .

John forwarded these two great photos. I couldn’t find these published in any specific issue of the magazine.



To Top

1953 Parade in Which Texas Town?


Joe submitted these pics and question:

Question: What happens when you combine the festive atmosphere of the Texas State Fair, a U.S. Army Band and a battalion of M38 Army Jeeps.

Answer: You have a huge parade and tax the driving skills of 24 soldiers with driving in close-order formation.

These LIFE photos by John Dominis are available for sale on the internet. Do an Image Search on “LIFE Jeep-Borne Army Band”. I count 24 jeeps………. Can anyone identify the name of the city in Texas where this was photographed?

34e6a0f9c68b49a8_large 0553fd9c22b23457_large dcebc5c782864fc5_large

To Top

Life Magazine Jeep Photo Slide Show

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A, Magazine, Old Images, Women & Jeeps • TAGS: .

Robert spotted this great link of Life Magazine Photos. The photos range across the decades, including black/white and color ones.  This was photographed by Myron Davis for the July 1945 issue.