40 Must-See Photos From The Past

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was coined by American newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane in 1911. It’s a simple notion that applies to many aspects of our lives, but especially to historical photography. Sometimes, one simple picture can tell you more about history than any story you might read or any document you might analyze.

These photographs all tell stories about the historical figures or events that they represent. Once taken simply to document their present, they now help us witness the past. Many photographs only become iconic shots years later, once we understand their importance and historical context. From historical landmarks and famous people to the basic daily routines of the past, these pictures portray the past in a way that we can empathize with and understand more intimately.

Perhaps the wars, poverty, fights for freedom and little miracles of the past have lessons for us that we can use today?

(via sobadsogood)

Woman With A Gas-Resistant Pram, England, 1938



Unpacking the head of the Statue of Liberty, 1885



Elvis in the Army, 1958



Animals being used as part of medical therapy, 1956



Testing of new bulletproof vests, 1923



Charlie Chaplin at age 27, 1916



Hindenburg Disaster, May 6, 1937



Circus hippo pulling a cart, 1924



Annette Kellerman promotes women’s right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit, 1907. She was arrested for indecency



Annie Edison Taylor, the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, 1901



106-year-old Armenian Woman guards home, 1990



Baby cages used to ensure that children get enough sunlight and fresh air when living in an apartment building, ca. 1937



The original Ronald McDonald, 1963



Disneyland Employee Cafeteria in 1961



Advertisement for Atabrine, anti-malaria drug, in Papua, New Guinea during WWII



Soldier shares a banana with a goat during the battle of Saipan, ca. 1944



Little girl with her doll sitting in the ruins of her bombed home, London, 1940



Construction of the Berlin wall, 1961



Unknown soldier in Vietnam, 1965



Bookstore in London ruined by an air raid, 1940



Walter Yeo, one of the first to undergo an advanced plastic surgery and a skin transplant, 1917



Suntan vending machine, 1949



Measuring bathing suits – if they were too short, women would be fined, 1920′s



Martin Luther King with his son removing a burnt cross from their front yard, 1960



Hotel owner pouring acid in the pool while black people swim in it, ca. 1964



Lifeguard on the coast, 1920′s



Artificial legs, UK, ca. 1890



Mom and son watching the mushroom cloud after an atomic test, Las Vegas, 1953



Mother hides her face in shame after putting her children up for sale, Chicago, 1948



Austrian boy receives new shoes during WWII



Hitler’s officers and cadets celebrating Christmas, 1941



Christmas dinner during Great Depression: turnips and cabbage



The real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, ca. 1927



Last prisoners of Alcatraz leaving, 1963



Melted and damaged mannequins after a fire at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, 1930



A space chimp posing to camera after a successful mission to space, 1961



Illegal alcohol being poured out during Prohibition, Detroit, 1929



Princeton students after a freshman vs. sophomores snowball fight, 1893



A beautiful suicide – 23 year-old Evelyn McHale jumped from the 83rd floor of the Empire State Building and landed on a United Nations limousine, 1947



First morning after Sweden changed from driving on the left side to driving on the right, 1967




Translate »
Exit mobile version