Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vintage Photos

This image is of my great grandfather Willem Kat and his daughter Harriet in Yosemite in 1931. Willem Kat was one of the early founders of modern day rock climbing and lived in Yosemite National Park for 19 years as a contractor. Kat Pinnacle named for him in Yosemite.
-Sparrow King


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  1. Barcelona m'enamora

    July 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Her trousers ara what in our days called boyfriend jeans…isn't it?

    And this type of boots are very modern, too!!

  2. FH

    July 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Beautiful story :)

  3. Jack Daniel

    July 23, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Are these Dutc people..?

  4. alastair

    July 23, 2011 at 10:41 am

    It's funny how stylish the absolute functionality of their clothes becomes.

  5. AGreekAbroad

    July 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I love the reflection of the mountains into the water. Beautiful scenery!

  6. Naomi Marie

    July 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I actually love her boots, goes to show the difference between style and fashion and how something so functional can be stylish too. Wonderful photo, thank you for sharing the story!

  7. Richard

    July 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I've climbed Kat pinnacle in Yosemite. Nice to see who it was named for.

  8. Vasare Nar

    July 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

    These photographs look great :)

  9. annamaria

    July 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Lovely photo- Awesome boots!Really enjoy all the retro posts-

  10. tinyjunco

    July 23, 2011 at 11:58 am


    i sent you a 'vintage pic' of my grandfather, and this particular pic echoes him in so many many ways….first, my grandfather lived in the CA central valley all his life(fresno) and in the 1920's and 30's he used to go camping in yosemite (they'd take a mule team or horses in back then, easier than cars.) by the 1960's he no longer wanted to go to yosemite since it was 'too crowded'. fortunately many areas in the Sierra Nevadas are still very lonely, if you backpack in :)

    Grandpa was a US National Champion uphill motorcycle racer in the 1930's, and in so many pictures of him from that time he is wearing the same jodphurs and knee high laced boots Harriet wears in this picture. Wonderful!

    Thank you Sparrow King and Mr. Sartorialist! steph

  11. Anonymous

    July 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Sparrow King,

    Thank you so much for sharing this photo of your very actually cool family. I loved the back story of your Great Grandfather bucking convention of the day and pioneering a new adventure.



    July 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Wow this is so cool. Really opens my imagination

  13. Bohemian Design

    July 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Love the story!

  14. Anonymous

    July 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    grandeur of the wild

  15. Marcel Da Chump

    July 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Classic Americana.

    Wondering if they met Ansel Adams.

  16. Vasilieva

    July 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

  17. Camille Romagnani

    July 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

  18. Anonymous

    July 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Every single thing about this photo is cool, but maybe the coolest part is that in 1931 this man was getting his daughter out in the wilderness in men's clothing and teaching her to climb, too. (Maybe he didn't actually teach her to climb, but I like to imagine that happened!)

    Thanks so much, Sparrow King, for sharing this photo! It's a treasure.

  19. Maryam

    July 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Beautiful photo! Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo, Maryam

  20. warp-speed

    July 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    This picture is great at capturing the stillness of the lake. Those style of boots have come a long way haven't they.

  21. mon sac by me

    July 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Wonderful place…. ! wonderful people…… !!

  22. Brittany Myers

    July 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    absolutely incredible. Kat truly was a visionary!

  23. peglud

    July 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Are you still accepting submissions for vintage photos?

  24. Anonymous

    July 24, 2011 at 12:55 am

    more incredible is the fact that no one seems to be mentioning their beautiful healthy bodies – how often do you see them nowadays?

  25. Anonymous

    July 24, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Just for a moment I thought he was talking on a mobile phone!

  26. Country Girl

    July 24, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Love love love!

  27. Laura K

    July 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I am a clothing buyer in the outdoor industry and a rock climber – so I love this photo! Any more outdoor vintage photos you have to share? Especially any of women 1920s- 1950s? I would love to use them for inspiration and design.

    Thanks for all you do…

  28. Anonymous

    July 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Photo and story are both wonderful!

    Thank you for sharing.

  29. lollipop4598

    July 25, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Wow, they look very stylish. Now i climb, and let me tell you, that is certainly not what I wear. I LOVE their clothing, especially her boots and jeans, but I don't see how you could possibly rock climb in that. That waist on her pants looks too tight to even sit comfortably.

  30. Sartor Resartus

    July 25, 2011 at 3:42 am

    The main thing that strikes me here is how soft and spoiled we have become regarding clothing/equipment for outdoor activities. All romanticism aside, this is very basic clothing. People were tougher, whined less and took more risks.

  31. Camille

    July 25, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Truly awesome anecdote.

  32. Sophie

    July 25, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I love reading the stories that accompany these photos – it's amazing to see a snapshot of someone's day from such a long time ago!

  33. vintage engagement rings

    July 25, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Fashion keeps on rolling!

  34. Eighteen Grams of Glitter ...

    July 25, 2011 at 7:35 am

    These photos are amazing, the stories, the people, the surroundings, the clothes – truly fascinating.

  35. Anonymous

    July 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I love this photo and the story behind it. This one really makes me wish that this blog offered the option to "Share" and "Like" on FB because of it's quality and historical significance. But I don't think there's an official Sartorialist FB page. For a good example of a blog I follow that does this well, check out

  36. Kat

    July 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Sparrow King – i would love to know more about your great great grandfather because my name is Antoinette Kat -my husband was Jaco Kat and his father Cor Kat.
    I live in South africa and have three sons. my e- mail : [email protected]

  37. CCMBA

    July 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Wow. I've climbed Kat Spire a few times- had no idea of the story. And to find out via The Sartorialist is very cool, indeed!

  38. Marissa

    July 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    this is so funny, there really is nothing new under the sun is there? those boots rock! love the whole look.


  39. Anonymous

    July 26, 2011 at 10:06 am

    A free book about William Kat is available at in electronic version.

  40. lollipop4598

    July 27, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    So Kat Spire is named after this guy? Pretty cool.

  41. Anonymous

    July 29, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Sparrow, thanks for sharing. How unexpected to find your post here. I especially enjoyed seeing the photo as I spent some time in Yosemite in the early 70's doing rock climbing with the UCLA Bruin Mountaineers…an interesting bunch indeed.

  42. Dan

    August 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    dig the story and i love Yosemite!

  43. Wayne

    August 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Reminds of the great photo Edward Weston took of his muse Charis Wilson at Yosemite. She was wearing very similar boots.

  44. lesblant

    December 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Yosemite Sam? Her outfit would be all the rage right now. The riding boots, boyshirt and jodphurs. I think we’re about to see a return to fuller pants up top — pleats, paper bag waists, harem pants. The trends will make it to where I live in about 5 years.

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