Photographer Harry Whittier Frees, born in 1879, began a career in cute-animal photography in 1906, building out a small studio to produce postcards, calendars, and children's books. While I was researching World War I events on the Library of Congress website, I stumbled across a collection of Frees's work from June of 1914, and just had to share. The LOLcat is not a new phenomenon.
My wife is going to accuse me of being a hypocrite for posting this (I’ve got a strict rule about not bothering me with pictures of OPCs—Other People’s Cats), but I think this set of pictures is worth the charge. Make sure you click the title to see the rest.