Rare Historical Photos Capturing A Unique Moment In Time
Photographs often serve as a visual memory bank. They have emotional and sentimental significance. From the viewpoint of an artist, photography depicts the universe and life in a completely new light. Many people only think of photography in terms of its aesthetic and personal value, but they don’t understand its importance in historical documentation.
The fact is, photographs help us record the past events for later review and help connect past and the future events. We hope that the historical gallery we have prepared for you in this list will help you learn something new, connecting you to the past, present, and future.
1. Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive a journey over Niagara Falls in a barrel
Annie Edson Taylor had planned to make a fortune via a one-of-a-kind PR stunt. She intended to take a barrel ride over Niagara Falls on her birthday (October 24, 1901). She had a watertight and cushioned barrel specially made for her. As a test, she sent a barrel over the falls with a cat inside, and the feline survived the drop, much to her pleasure and the cat’s happiness.
So, on that 24th day of October, the 63-year-old retired teacher got into the barrel with the help of her companions and secured the lid. She was cast adrift just above the falls. After she journeyed down the falls, she was met by an awaiting boat, and the lady was discovered alive and unharmed.
2. Cigarettes bought from a hospital bed in the 1950s
Prior to the Surgeon General’s warning connecting tobacco use to cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other illnesses, the medical community did not consider smoking to be a health risk. In fact, smoking was considered to soothe a worried person, suppress appetites, and generally be beneficial.
As absurd and counter-productive as it may seem, hospital patients could purchase packets of cigarettes from their hospital beds during this time. They could even smoke in their hospital rooms if they wanted to!
3. A manually operated traffic control machine, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1922
Cars began getting into accidents and fender-benders shortly after the automobile first reached the streets. It became apparent immediately that laws and procedures were required to ensure that individuals did not drive their vehicles into other cars, people, or structures.
Motorists started using traffic signals to know when to halt and when to continue through a junction. Before electric traffic signals, the only alternative was to have manual signals, such as the one seen in the photograph, that were manually changed from “stop” to “go” by a traffic stop operator.
4. A man on top of the Golden Gate Bridge during its construction
Building the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco required a lot of bravery. There was an unspoken rule in the 1930s about high-steel bridge building projects like this one—Engineers should anticipate one death among the employees for every $1 million spent. The $35 million Gold Gate Bridge, on the other hand, had a stellar safety record, with just 11 fatalities.
At least 19 individuals are said to have been saved thanks to a massive net hanging underneath the construction site. The Bridge employees’ survival is a marvel of forethought.
5. The Historic U.S. Route 50 (The loneliest road in America)
While looking at this photograph, it is easy to see why Route 50 is referred to as “The Loneliest Road in America.” From West Sacramento in California all the way to Ocean City in Maryland (a distance of about 3,073 miles), the roadway traverses vast swaths of barren, arid terrain.
When Life magazine published its July 1986 edition, the road was dubbed as “The Loneliest Road in America.” Since then, the name has gained popularity, and the state of Nevada has adopted it as a marketing slogan for the road. According to the publication, there are “no places of interest” along the path.
6. Women delivering water during WWI
As WWI was happening throughout Europe, women began to take up tasks that had previously been filled by males, including anything from working in factories to transporting massive blocks of ice to the front lines. The need for this kind of work existed at the time, even before refrigerators were widely available.
Ice distribution was taking place all across the nation at the time, with delivery workers transporting huge blocks of ice around the country on carts and in motor vehicles. The ladies in this photograph delivered ice from a distributor to houses across Manhattan so that the ice could be used to cool down meals. As refrigerators and freezers grew more common, the company gradually went out of business.
7. Robert Wadlow's height compared to the huge Shaquille O'Neal (7' 1)
You probably know who Big Shaq is. Yes, he is a huge basketball player. A wax replica of Robert Wadlow, which is on display in a museum, is seen in the photograph below with the real-life basketball star Shaquille O’Neal standing next to it to provide some perspective on how tall Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in the world, truly was.
With a height of 7’1”, O’Neal is not accustomed to looking up to anybody, but it is clear from the photo that Shaq is almost two feet shorter than Wadlow at his highest point, which is almost 9 feet tall.
8. Yoda with his sculptor, Stuart Freeborn
Everyone who watched The Empire Strikes Back fell in love with Yoda, the funny, little creature on Dagobah who also happens to be the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy. However, if the original version of Yoda had made it to the screen, the film may not have been released. The original plan for Yoda was to teach a costumed monkey to move around the set instead of using a puppet.
Several team members who worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey years before objected the concept. Actors had to be recruited to represent the primates since they were tough to properly manage. The character we know and love today was created with the assistance of makeup artist, Stuart Freeborn who made the model of Yoda based off himself and Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art. But aren’t you interested to see Mark Hamill acting with a monkey?
9. A woman standing at a rupture after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906
The 1906 earthquake of San Francisco left a visible gap all along the San Andreas Fault line, which can still be seen today. Located at the border between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate, the San Andreas Fault is among the most known active faults on the planet. It was named so after the San Andreas Lake that was formed as a result of the fault, which was discovered in 1895 by geologist Andrew Lawson of the University of California, Berkeley.
After the 1906 earthquake, Professor Lawson established that the fault line ran down to the southern portion of California, which he named the “California Fault Line.” Immediately after the Great Earthquake, the fault line could be clearly seen, as shown in this picture.
10. The Monowheel (Dynasphere) from the 1930s
This bizarre vehicle was based on a design by Leonardo da Vinci! The concept for this wheel, popularly known as a monowheel, was patented in 1930 by a British inventor called Dr. J. A. Purves, who based his design on Da Vinci’s drawing. Purves was so sure that his monowheel would be the next great thing in the automobile world that he even wrote an article about it in the journal “Popular Mechanics.”
The monowheel ran well, but it had a major weakness when it came to braking and accelerating. The force would cause the driver’s carriage to spin around the wheel, similar to when a hamster stops abruptly when running on a wheel. It definitely had some design issues to fix!
11. Painter Bob Ross feeding a baby raccoon
Bob Ross was not a pet owner. This soft-spoken painter was a liberal thinker who had a passion for out-of-the-box creatures. At times, Ross would bring in his small furry buddies, especially rehabilitating wild newborn animals.
He went back to his youth and urged his audience to take care of their furry little pets, recalling his experience trying to milk an alligator in the family bathtub and taking care of an armadillo in his bedroom. Weird right? When he eventually bought his own house, he converted his backyard into an animal rescue facility.
12. A couple of stylish students at the Cambridge University, (1926)
These elegant Cambridge gentlemen were members of a fraternity of academics who attended one of the world’s most renowned universities. Even while Cambridge students were very studious, it didn’t mean they didn’t know how to have a good time.
There was a secret organization on campus at the time called the “Alpine Society,” which only permitted members to join if they could get over the college’s gates at night. Can you imagine attempting to climb a fence in these trousers at any hour of the day? They must have been experts in gate climbing.
13. Dad and daughter ride penny-farthings in the 1930s
Penny-farthing bikes were already outdated when this picture was taken in the 1930s. The penny-farthing cycles were popular in the 1870s and 1880s until the advent of contemporary bicycle design. They were distinguished by their oversized front wheel and relatively small rear wheel. This type of bike gets its unusual name from British coinage.
Like the wheels on this bicycle, the penny is considerably bigger than the farthing. We can only presume that the father and daughter in this picture were having fun with an old-fashioned toy since the penny-farthing bike had been replaced by the conventional bicycle at the time this photograph was taken.
14. The knock-up profession of the 1920s used to wake up workers
We now use alarm clocks or mobile phone alarms to get us up in the morning, but folks needed to be on time to work before these devices were created. Those who worked as “knocker-uppers” could be found in most major industrial cities. Knocker-uppers walked about with long sticks, knocking on bedroom windows to ensure that their clients’ workers got out of bed on time.
Knocker-uppers were paid a few pennies each week from their customers, with an additional incentive if they remained at the window, persistently knocking until they were sure the person was up and ready to start their day.
15. Cowboys enjoying a saloon in Tascosa, Texas
It is quite uncommon to find an image like this one depicting cowboys enjoying themselves in a bar and playing cards.The one thing you’ll notice as soon as you see these cowboys is how different they appear from what you see on TV. The hats these guys are wearing don’t have stylish-looking caps attached to them, but rather tall hats that provide ventilation and keep their heads cool.
Additionally, all the riders are wearing chaps to protect their legs when horse riding. Although most people think that a cowboy should look like Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef, this picture clearly depicts a typical cowboy.
16. A little girl hugs the Crufts Dog Show champion in Birmingham, England, in 1935
Bloodhounds, such as Leo, a six-time champion shown in the photograph, are often employed by emergency services to locate lost missing persons and other people of interest. Bloodhounds are excellent for this job since they have an inherent drive to track and a keen awareness of tiny objects.
Humans have been using bloodhounds to find missing individuals since the Middle Ages. Bloodhounds are believed to be descended from hounds kept and raised in the Belgian Abbey of Saint-Hubert. In this 1935 photograph, Leo seems to be as lovable as he can be, and he enjoys receiving embraces from his human friends.
17. European royalty in London in 1910
Nine reigning monarchs were present during King Edward VII’s burial in 1910. Thankfully, someone saw this as a wonderful picture opportunity and collected the monarchs for a historical image, possibly the only photograph of all nine kings in existence. In the back row, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria, King Manuel II from Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II from Germany and Prussia, King George I from Greece, and King Albert I from Belgium.
In the front low, seated from left to right are King Alfonso XIII from Spain, King George V from the United Kingdom, and King Frederick VIII from Denmark.
18. Mark Twain, a celebrated novelist, essayist, lecturer, and humorist (1909)
Samuel Langhorne Clemens grew up on the Mississippi River’s banks and spent his adolescence and early adulthood working on riverboats, where he wrote several of his novels. Even his pen name, Mark Twain, was derived from a riverside phrase that refers to a river depth of two fathoms or deeper. He even chose the Mississippi River as the setting for his most renowned literary masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain was a writer, essayist, lecturer, and humorist who was renowned for works such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Authors’ Court, and The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. He was also a comedian and speaker. Mark Twain was born in 1835, only a few months after the arrival of Halley’s Comet, and he was fond of joking that he had come in with the comet and would go with it as well. He passed away in 1910, the day after the comet made its appearance.
19. The art of Mayan astronomy seen in the Chichen Itza Kukulcan Temple, Mexico
The ancient Mayan people were skilled astronomers with sophisticated techniques for estimating astronomical occurrences that they passed down through generations. They were also skilled builders.
It was common for them to merge their interests in astronomy and building, as can be seen in the Chichen Itza Kukulcan Temple. When the sun’s rays illuminate the pyramid during the spring equinox, a huge serpent-like image is seen in the shadow cast by the sun’s rays on the vast stairway of the temple leading to a stone snake head at the base of the structure.
20. The oldest Harley-Davidson built in 1903
Did you know that Harley-Davidson, America’s most famous motorcycle business, had its start in a shed in Wisconsin? Well, this was when William Harley and the Davidson brothers, Arthur and Walter, began manufacturing bikes in their spare time. When Harley-Davidson was founded, numerous motorcycle start-up businesses were emerging, but the quality and workmanship of the Harley-Davidson enabled it to thrive during a period in which many rivals were forced to close their doors.
The Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee is home to most of the firm’s bikes, including this one, which was the first motorbike the company manufactured in 1903 and which is on display there today.
21. The original Moulin Rouge in 1915
The Moulin Rouge, the capital’s first electrified structure, astonished Parisians when it opened in 1885. The design was created by Adolphe Léon Willette, who created a vivid electric-powered façade that would be permanently associated with Paris. This picture of the Moulin Rouge was captured just shortly before a fire of historic proportions took down the building in 1915.
Today, the structure was restored and serves as a monument to entertainment that has spanned more than 120 years. Over the years, the Moulin Rouge has constantly evolved to keep up with the ever-changing entertainment industry. The Moulin Rouge has seen it all, from the cancan girls to cabaret to live music. The theater draws over 600,000 people every year due to its popularity.
22. Dolly Parton with husband Carl Dean
Celebrity weddings nowadays may seem as if they were arranged by the publisher of a magazine found at the checkout counter, but the Queen of Country met her spouse the old-fashioned way—at the laundromat. Parton claims they met on her first day in Nashville in 1964, and they stayed in touch for the next two years while her career took off.
Carl, according to Parton, doesn’t even listen to her music; instead, he prefers British rock bands. “Maybe that’s the reason why they get along so well”. She told Good Morning Britain in 2019 that her husband was into heavy rock, Led Zeppelin, and bluegrass music. Although she emphasized that he did not truly dislike it, he did not go out of his way to play her albums.
23. An Ottoman supply abandoned in the desert
T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was a fascinating personality to emerge from WWI. Lawrence’s extensive understanding of combative tactics served him well throughout his years spent working with the Arab people.
He assisted them in methodically taking down the Turkish military. He and the Arabic army focused their efforts on Turkey’s Hejaz Railway in order to prevent food, soldiers, and supplies from being sent across the region. All the trains that Lawrence and his crew brought down are still sitting in the middle of the desert.
24. The imperfect marriage of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy
During the decade that Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy were married, they had to deal with the challenges of politics and the affairs. Although his most well-known side relationship was with blonde beauty Marilyn Monroe, she was just one of many women.
However, while Jackie was allegedly aware of these transgressions, she did not approach them in a confrontational manner. Instead, she was certain that he would always come back to her side.
25. Costumed entertainers riding horses in a 1920s Halloween event
In the 1920s, people dressed up for Halloween in elaborate costumes, much as they do now. They even dressed up their horses. As eerie as these figures seem, it’s likely that they were part of a parade or perhaps a carnival, so there’s nothing particularly eerie about them.
That being said, if these costumed skeletons were just riding about in their full regalia in the middle of the night, that would be a whole other story altogether. Is it appropriate to bring this style back? Is it something that has to be put aside for the time being? This may be the perfect costume if you have horses at your disposal.
26. The ridiculously cheap gas prices of 1939
Think about being able to pull up to the petrol station and use some spare coins on the counter to fill up your entire tank; that was how life was in 1939. Obviously, due to inflation, that’s not how things played out; in 1939, 16 cents was equivalent to $2.87 in current money, which is still reasonable, particularly if you live in an age when gasoline consumes a significant portion of your income.
As inflation continued to rise throughout the twentieth century, gas prices increased dramatically, and by the 1970s, Americans were having difficulty eliminating it from their daily lives, something that must have been difficult to comprehend for this gas station employee back in the 1930s.
27. Marilyn Monroe entertaining thousands of soldiers in Korea (1954)
Following her marriage to New York Yankees baseball player, Joe DiMaggio in California in January 1954, Marilyn Monroe and her new husband headed to Japan for their honeymoon. While there, DiMaggio had to attend some baseball clinics, and while doing so, he had to take a commercial flight to Korea. Monroe used this time to amuse U.S. military personnel stationed there.
After Monroe’s solo journey, she had more confidence in herself. After she had all that experience traveling by herself, she felt successful. Due to the 10 performances she did in four days, she was convinced that she overcame her stage fear and felt like she could conquer any stage.
28. Funny reaction of Yakini, a baby gorilla in Melbourne Zoo, during a check-up
Take a look at this photo of Yakini responding to a chilly stethoscope if you need any more evidence that humans are comparable to apes. We’ve all been there: the doctor uses their icy stethoscope, and it’s as if you’ve been transported to Antarctica in a matter of seconds.
Yakini, who was born in 1999 and grew up in the spotlight while living at Melbourne’s Werribee Open Range Zoo, is now the group’s leader. According to his caretaker, Kat Thompson, as Yakini grew older, it was only inevitable that he would challenge his father for the role of the group leader. The struggle lasted many months, but it was a delicate one—more of a confrontation of wills than of brawn. It’s wonderful to watch all the hard work pay off.
29. The photo taken featuring comedy duo Laurel and Hardy
With an insane number of short and feature films under their belts, Laurel and Hardy were some of the most popular comedic duos of the early twentieth century. The duo’s last film performance was in 1951, but by 1954, the men’s careers were all but gone. Hardy had a heart attack that year and dropped 150 pounds as a result; he was also battling cancer at the time.
Hardy had a series of strokes a year after this picture was taken, leaving him in a coma until his death in August of 1957. Stan Laurel gave an interview about their connection a week after his companion died, and he spoke warmly of his fallen buddy.
30. The beautiful but hard to ride Steam Line KJ Henderson motorcycle of 1930
It looks like a bike a superhero would ride, doesn’t it? The bike seems like it would be a lot of fun to ride, but the 1930 Henderson Model KJ Streamline was very unsuitable and difficult to operate. This conventional motorcycle looked very similar to Triumphs and Indians that were manufactured in the early 1900s.
That, of course, was due to the bikes being simpler to handle and cheaper to manufacture. However, looking at this bike, one may admire the refined Art Deco style. During the early stages of development, the bike’s curved panels were pounded into shape in the same manner as the Chrysler Airflow.
31. Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine inspiring the look of “The Joker”
The Man Who Laughs, a silent German Expressionist film by Paul Leni, is so steeped in the darkness that it’s frequently referred to as a horror movie rather than a melodrama. Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt), the star of a traveling carnival show, who was left with a perpetual smile as a result of an accident, is a character everyone remembers in the film.
His role in the film is remembered for being terrifying as well as for serving as an influence for the Joker from DC‘s Batman. In the original concepts of the Joker, we can see definite visual influence from Veidt, even down to his hairdo. Even though the character’s personality has evolved throughout the years, the Joker has always had a touch of “The Man Who Laughs.”
32. Antonio La Cava and his famous "Il Bibliomotocarro"
It may be difficult to find a decent book if you don’t live in a big city, which is why individuals like Antonio La Cava are so inspirational. Since 2003, this retired teacher has driven his “Il Bibliomotocarro” throughout southern Italy, delivering books to youngsters and adults alike. He plays an instrument to announce his arrival, and then he allows everyone in the vicinity to look through his books.
When La Cava was asked why he does so, he said that reading should be enjoyable rather than a chore and that reading indifference often begins in schools when the skill is taught but not accompanied by affection.
33. Model Goldie Jamison Conklin of the Seneca native tribe
Conklin grew up on the Allegany Reserve in South Western New York, where she was a Seneca Native American tribe member. However, these photographs of the gorgeous young lady led her from being a kid on a reservation to a full-time model.
The photograph of Conklin took as part of the Cattaraugus Cutlery Company of Little Valley, New York’s marketing campaign for their “Indian Brand” blades, depicting her dressed in traditional headdresses and costumes for the occasion. However, there isn’t much known about Conklin other than the fact that she died in 1974 after living a relatively long life.
34. Cold, snowy dawn in London (1950s)
England is not renowned for having excellent weather. Even when it is not raining and cloudy, it is snowing and freezing outside. However, no amount of unpleasant weather can deter the hardy Londoners from getting their work done.
From the photograph, the gentleman is crossing the snow-covered Westminster Bridge, which spans across the Thames River in the center of London. An iconic London double-decker bus has just gone by, and in the distance, people can see the renowned clock tower known as Big Ben keeping watch over them.
35. Robin Williams and his fans outside a shelter in Boston (1988)
When Robin Williams wasn’t onstage or in front of the camera, he was giving back to those who didn’t have nearly as much as he had. Aside from his role as one of the presenters of Comic Relief, a program that raised millions of dollars for those in need, Williams volunteered his own time to assist individuals who were homeless. Mayor Ray Flynn said that anytime Robin was in town, he could always be counted on to come down and spend time with those who were less fortunate.
As reported by CBS, Flynn said he went to the Long Island Shelter, which was a hospital that he had recently constructed, and a shelter for homeless people in Boston, in order to get them off the cold streets, and that he was “phenomenal.” He was just entertaining the whole group of individuals as well as the staff.
36. John Matuszak takes on the role of Sloth In the 1985 film The Goonies
Sloth, the huge, misshapen brother of the Fratelli’s, was one of the most endearing characters in the 1985 film The Goonies and John Matuszak played the role. However, the 6-foot-8, 280-pound NFL defensive lineman is most known for his two Super Bowl victories with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders.
Makeup artists worked for hours to turn John Matuszak into the unique, Baby Ruth bar-eating, and misunderstood monster. The audience empathizes with Sloth, who was mistreated by his family—and they cheer for him as he assists the Goonies in locating the treasure and escaping.
37. Colored photo of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (1887)
Elizabeth Feodorovna was perhaps the most tragic of all the royals from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. In 1884, she married Sergei, a son of Alexander II, who was born on November 1, 1864. She relocated to St. Petersburg in 1891 and converted to Russian Orthodoxy at that time. After Sergei died in 1905, Elizabeth stopped eating meat, sold her possessions, and started a convent to assist the sick and aged of Moscow. She gained no political favor because of this.
In 1918, she was imprisoned on Lenin’s orders and banished to Perm before being relocated to Yekaterinburg and then Alapayevsk. She was then taken to an abandoned iron mine, blindfolded, and marched to the bottom, where she died a cruel death.
38. The changing size of the donut hole
For all those who have ever wondered how the size of a donut hole has changed over time, surprisingly this data was documented as seen in the historic image below. Within 21 years the hole in the center of a donut went from 1 ½ inches to ⅜ inches in diameter.
While having a diagram of this information is a bit peculiar, none of us will probably complain about this decrease in size as less donut hole means more donut. It is quite likely that the 1927 donut shape was truly meant for dunking in a beverage, thus it has a larger donut hole for people to hold and dunk their donuts easier.
39. The voice actors behind the “Peanuts” characters
This unique image taken in the 1960s depicts the cast of the “Peanuts” running their lines in a recording studio. The creator of the popular comic strip, Charles Schultz, thought it was very important for his youthful characters to be brought to life by actual child voices.
All the characters were cast with children who were around the same age as what their ages were in the comics. Cathy Steinberg who played Charlie Brown’s younger sister Sally was just 4 years old when she was hired for the role.
40. 1940s Princess Elizabeth at the age of 14
While Queen Elizabeth II has been Queen of England for 69 years, there was a time when she was only a princess. Here we see a rare photo of the well-known princess at the young age of just 14 years old.
As a teenager, Princess Elizabeth would stage pantomimes around Christmas time in which the proceeds would go towards purchasing yarn for military uniforms per the Queen’s Wool Fund. The princess appeared on her first radio broadcast in 1940 for BBC’s Children’s Hour in which she addressed a child audience after blitzkrieg.
41. The 1930s version of LinkedIn
Today, finding a job can be as simple as searching for positions on Google, LinkedIn, Indeed, and other helpful job sites. In this historic photo, we see a gentleman attempting to promote his skills with a sign attached to him during the time of The Great Depression.
The Great Depression in October 1929 devastated the stock market and American economy. This man represents the millions of Americans who were directly affected by the economic crash and wound up out of work for months to come.
42. Bill Clinton’s cat gets celebrity treatment in 1992
At the time of this photo, Bill Clinton was merely a governor of Arkansas before assuming the role of President of the United States in the following year. As a presidential candidate in 1992, Clinton was bound to be in the limelight. However, here we see his cat named Socks stealing the show.
Paparazzi were all over Socks the cat, attempting to capture the perfect image of this future president’s feline. In 1993, Socks moved into the White House and became quite the popular first pet. He even had his own video game and would respond to written letters from children at the time.
43. George Bernard Shaw outside his “sun efficient” writing hut
Shaw composed the play for which he was most known while residing in “Shaw Corner” in the Hertfordshire community of Ayot St Lawrence for 40 years. Even though he had a study in his house with a Remington typewriter, Shaw did much of his writing in the shed he called “London” at the foot of his yard. Aside from its intriguing name, Shaw’s writing hut was built uniquely. It was designed to be movable, so Shaw could position his window towards the sun for as long as possible while working in natural light.
Mr. Shaw, according to an article in the 1932 Modern Mechanix magazine, had a plan to have the light shining on him at all times as he worked. On his property, he created a tiny hut on a turntable. When the morning sun changed, he just pressed his shoulder against the side of the hut, causing the warming rays to shine through at the proper angle through his window. Mr. Shaw’s idea to keep the light shining on him was a basic health precaution rather than an outlandish idea.
44. John Lennon sniffing a bottle of Coke in 1964
That’s not the kind of coke we’re talking about! At least, not in 1964, when this photograph was taken. It was common knowledge that former Beatle John Lennon was a heavy drug user from the late 1960s until his death in 1980.
As a matter of fact, there were rumors that Lennon was planning on having cosmetic surgery to fix a septum that had been damaged by his usage, but that never materialized. It wasn’t only Lennon who suffered from addiction; Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac was also a victim of this nefarious habit.
45. Young Anna Nicole Smith and her aged husband J. Howard (an oil tycoon)
Their oddity goes without saying. When she met her future husband, an 86-year-old millionaire, Anna Nicole Smith was youthful and attractive. Anna attempted to squash the reports of gold-digging as the pair insisted that they were in love. However, their marriage was short-lived and had a painful end.
Anna’s spouse passed away on August 4, 1995, and her portion of the late husband’s wealth became embroiled in a long court battle. Not so long after her husband’s death, Anna Nicole Smith was reunited with him in death. She passed away in her hotel room in Hollywood, Florida, in 2007.
46. Mata Hari, the Dutch dancer in the 1910s
Mata Hari was the stage name of Dutch woman Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod. Mata Hari was an exotic Dutch dancer and her beauty will go down in history. Many women have tried to imitate her unique look for years to follow.
Aside from her dancing, Mata Hari is also believed to have been involved in espionage. Although she admitted to the French she worked as a German spy, no records can confirm nor deny her involvement.
47. Frank Lentini, the three-legged man
In 1889, Frank Lentini was born in Italy with three legs and four feet. This genetic rarity is known as being born with a parasitic twin which is when twins begin to develop during a pregnancy but do not separate.
Due to his rare appearance, Frank Lentini began a career as a sideshow entertainer under the name “The Great Lentini.” He would go on to perform with the Ringling Brothers Circus as well as Barnum and Bailey.
48. A rendering of the Neanderthals
This historic image is a rendering of what Neanderthals may have looked like according to the excavated bones and other data found around 1920 by the Field Museum of Natural History.
In recent studies, up to 3 percent of a modern human’s genetic code may be linked to that of a neanderthal. The neanderthal DNA may affect certain traits we have such as being a night owl, moodiness, as well as loneliness.
49. Creative Photography Techniques in Warsaw, Poland, 1946
This is quite the take on fake-it-til-you-make-it. What do you do when your hometown has been ravaged by war? You create an escape using a backdrop.
After a bomb tore through Warsaw, the ruins sat to remind the Polish what they had endured and lost. That totaled to 84% of buildings and 72% of homes. Knowing what a massive undertaking a rebuild would be, some chose unique ways to move forward.
50. Winnebago/Ho-Chunk Family, 1880
Once known as the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, the Ho-Chunk Native Americans were actually settled around an area that is now part of Wisconsin. Jean Nicolet, French explorer known for his finds around Lake Michigan, was the first to come in contact with the tribe.
Here is a family photograph of a proud Ho-Chunk family before the turn of the century. Unlike most of the other tribes, the Ho-Chunk built a life and community in one spot. They lived in igloo-shaped homes that were more conducive to the harsh weather of the north. Preferred crops for the tribe included tobacco, beans, and squash. Nowadays, there are only about 10,000 tribe members left.
51. Nikola Tesla, 1888
Holder of 112 patents in the US alone, Nikola Tesla was a brilliant mind who once worked under another famed inventor, Thomas Edison. Originally from Croatia, Tesla immigrated to bustling New York in the early 1880s.
With a laboratory like this, it seems like Tesla was exploding with ideas. Here he’s depicted taking notes after he struck out on his own. Tesla was ahead of his time, as were his inventions, but that helped propel technology forward as power began spreading to homes and business alike.
52. The Beatles vs. Their Sons
Bands that move a generation are few and far between. One of the most well known of the 20th century were The Beatles. Having the most #1 hits of all time with 20, The Beatles are also some of the most recognized musicians to date.
This is a comparison of each Beatle on the right with their sons on the left. Not only do these sons favor their widely known fathers, they also inherited the music gene and all have worked in the industry.
53. Walking Library, 1930
One common thread that binds together people from all walks of life is the need to be entertained. Whether it be catching a movie, listening to music, or even a quiet evening at home with a good book.
Enter the walking library of London. Long before audiobook apps, digital libraries, or streaming services, there were mobile libraries. For a mere 2¢ a week, you could rent a book from one of those back shelves. Hopefully this young woman also received tips because the strain that was put on her back, with heels, could not have been pleasant.
54. Girls In Windows, 1960
New York is about 400 years old. Needless to say, both the city and state have undergone some massive changes over the centuries. With technology advancing daily, it’s no wonder that people get emotional about watching their neighborhoods evolve.
Photographer Ormond Gigli felt the sting of the ever-changing times and wanted to make a memory. He noticed the brownstone across the street was going to be demolished. In the spur of the moment, he had an idea to remove frames from each window and have a lady stand in them. The next day, arrangements were made and models arrived in their own clothes to give life to this vacant building one last time.
55. Coney Island Rotor Ride, 1952
There’s nothing like hitting up your friends on a nice summer day for games and funnel cake. The most memorable place to do that in New York is the famous Coney Island, even back in the 50s.
One of the more popular rides can be seen here in action. The Rotor, known also as the “Devil’s Hole,” used the strength of gravity and centripetal force to spin eager carnival goers up against the wall. The ride was shut down in the late 50s due to safety violations. However, a more patron-friendly version still exists in traveling carnivals today.
56. Nurse Agatha Christie, 1915
Being part of the war effort was something everyone believed in during what was then called the Great War. Future novelist Agatha Christie was no exception in wanting to play her part during the world’s stage of chaos.
Agatha Christie was a nurse during WWI and was stationed on the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the conflict, Torquay, England. Her time in service included taking care of patients and cleaning up after amputations. After having dealt with some of the more gory sides of war, it’s not surprising that twisted stories of mystery and murder would become her forte.
57. The Skyline of Paris in 1890
Paris is one of the most recognizable cities in the world. This is in large part due to one of the most famous structures sitting in the skyline, the Eiffel Tower.
Erected in 1887, this photograph was taken when the landmark was still new. However, that wasn’t the only new architecture in the city. The period known as Belle Epoque, starting in the late 1800s through the start of WWI, saw a boom in new construction that would continue to change its profile into the remarkable city that it is today.
58. Eltz Castle, Wierschem, Germany
Some of the most notable things to see in modern Europe would be castles. Relics left over mostly from the Middle Ages, the medieval castles add allure and curiosity to the landscape.
The Eltz Castle, nestled in the forest in Wierschem, Germany, has housed 33 generations of the same family for nearly a millennium. The estate was established in the 9th century but it wasn’t until 1470 that construction started on what you see here. Each family member who inherits the castle has added a special addition. Even though it is a private residence, the castle is open for visitors, who will pay about 10 euros per ticket.
59. Union Soldiers resting in 1863
It’s been over 150 years since the American Civil War. After all this time, it can be a challenge to remember sometimes that these people were neighbors fighting for a side determined by geography.
Remembering that fighting was only part of the battle is what this colorized image from off the battlefield represents. This casual moment is more of what many expected when they set off to join the army. When the war started, most young men believed the war would be over in a few weeks. Four years and 600k casualties later, the war had much longer lasting implications.
60. Wayne Gretzky, 1977
Most 16-year-olds are studying and hanging out with friends. Wayne Gretzky was busy beating his prior hockey record for the minor league team he played for.
Gretzky was already talented enough to play with men twice his age. While hitting the ice like a pro for the Greyhounds, Wayne had to live away from home. The sacrifice paid off; he’s considered the greatest hockey player of the 20th century.
61. Rare Bonnie and Clyde Photo from 1933
Two of the most infamous people in America during the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow captivated the nation with their multi-state crime spree that started in 1932 and continued until their deaths in 1934. Bonnie was a mere 19 when she first joined up with repeat offender Clyde.
In this ultra rare image, you can get a glimpse of the couple looking casual and in love. Unfortunately, the serenity captured here was short-lived. The two were finally tracked down by police on a rural road in Louisiana where they met an untimely end.
62. Madison Square Garden, 1966
If you ask a native New Yorker, they would likely speak highly of Madison Square Garden. This venue has hosted a wide variety of musical guests, sports teams, and even theater productions. Over the years, it has come to be one of the most talked about venues in the US.
Madison Square Garden took three builds to finally get it right. Constructing an oval-shaped venue was the most unique design of the times, giving every attendee an unobstructed view of the stage.
63. Hazel Ying Lee, 1932
In WWI, Americans were part of the British flying service. In WWII, we flew our own planes. Even though the United States Air Force was not created until after WWII, that didn’t keep us from having outstanding pilots during the conflict.
WASP, Women AirForce Service Pilots, started during WWII. Hazel Ying Lee was a standout even in this historic group of women as the first Chinese-American woman to obtain a pilot’s license. Hazel Lee took flying lessons and discovered her passion at 20. By the time she was 30, America was part of the war effort overseas and Lee joined. Unfortunately, this hero didn’t live long enough to see the war end. Hazel passed away when her plane had a mishap during landing in November 1944.
64. Walt Disney with His Cat and Mouse, 1931
Just as The Beatles transformed a generation with music, Walt Disney transformed a generation with cartoons and animations. He created one of the most iconic and enduring characters of all time, Mickey Mouse.
Here you can see Walt introducing the new fan favorite to his cat. The cat, like all cats, was unimpressed. However, everyone else was quite taken by the peppy cartoon. The rest is history.
65. The Sundance Kid, 1901
Another infamous historical figure comes in the form of a Wild West outlaw, the Sundance Kid. Known for his criminal antics with Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, the Sundance Kid lived quite the adventure.
Before leaving for South America to escape the Pinkertons, Harry “The Sundance Kid” Longabaugh and his wife, Etta Place, made sure to get their likeness captured. He either died seven years later after a bank robbery went wrong or he snuck back into the States under a fake name.
66. Delivery Receipt from 1943
Even if you don’t have personal experience with birth and delivery, you’re likely aware of the often astronomical costs associated with labor in the US. If not, how does $10,000 sound? That’s just an average price tag, not including complications.
This receipt depicts the cost of a delivery from 1943 being less than $30. Perhaps you’re thinking that with inflation it might make more sense, but that’s still only $435 today. Who needs health care when you can invent a time machine, right?
67. The Real Ewoks, 1982
When it comes to the Sci-Fi genre, Star Wars is a lightsaber beyond the rest. When the original trilogy began in 1977, the world had no idea what was about to walk out of that starship. A galaxy far away comes with a new cast of characters that are both human and not so human.
Ewoks are some of the most enjoyable characters in the series, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that they look and move like teddy bears. The original Ewok actors, seen here, spent twelve-hour days in these thick costumes for the sake of cinematic glory.
68. Time Operator in Chicago in 1928
There are many jobs that sound boring, but this position might actually take the cake! Back in the 1920s, a new service was started to keep people with the times. The goal was for all citizens to say with confidence, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be late again!”
Here you can see one of the time operators in Chicago doing her diligence to announce the time every 15 seconds. Pretty soon, recordings took over and eventually the service was phased out in 2007.
69. Salvador Dali, 1941
Sometimes you have a bad feeling you can’t shake. Other times, premonitions can come out through creative endeavors such as paintings, at least that was how gifted Spanish artist Salvador Dali saw it.
“The Face of War” came to life while the surrealist lived for a short time in California. The pain and sorrow that accompanied war was often used as a template for design by Dali. This painting represents a desert wasteland with a hovering corpse-like face. The multitude of smaller faces within the face is meant to stand for the unending number of souls lost, possibly to war as it was painted after the Spanish Civil War and on the brink of WWII.
70. Muhammad Ali, 1954
Speaking of premonitions, television programmers had no idea what they were doing when they put a 12-year-old Muhammad Ali on a show called, “Tomorrow’s Champions.”
At the time, going by his birth name Cassius Clay, this 12 year old would go on to become ranked as one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time. He’s also regarded as one of the most celebrated figures in sports of the 20th century.
71. The Rare White Raven
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.” At least that’s what you’d be thinking if you were to ask him about his cousin, the white raven. When you think of rare birds, these are near the top of the list.
This white-feathered, blue-eyed bird suffers from a loss of pigmentation. Another way they stand out is by occasionally mating with crows. Professional Mike Yip has been photographing these rare creatures from Vancouver Island.
72. Grateful Dead's Wall of Sound, 1974
Elsewhere in the 60s, the most notable rock bands were forming. Live sound wasn’t exactly the kind of quality we have today. This caused a sound jumble that was not appreciated by bands anywhere and one decided to take action.
The Grateful Dead didn’t want you to just hear rock, they wanted you to feel it, too. Thus, the “Wall of Sound” was born. In total, the system was over three stories tall, 100 feet wide, and weighed in at 70 tons. Hundreds of separate equipment pieces, such as speakers and amps, were part of this monument to rock.
73. Kids Using a Mimeograph Machine in 1960
There is no greater piece of unruly office equipment than a printer. In offices everywhere, the printer mocks and messes up documents, much to the chagrin of irritated workers. Even though the digital printer is annoying, it still offers a much easier way to get copies than in the past.
That brings us to the mimeograph. Invented in 1886, it was one of only a few ways to get an exact replica of a document. Here students are going through the several step process. Using a wax, mulberry paper stencil, the mimeograph covered paper with ink to create as close to a perfect copy as you could get in the 60s.
74. Disney Imagineers Working on an Animatronic
This photo may seem quite provocative, making you do a double-take, but it is not what you may have thought at first glance. While many viewers at first may see this as some sort of disturbing surgery being performed, it actually is a photo of two engineers working on an animatronic for Disneyland.
This animatronic in particular is for the beloved ride Pirates of the Caribbean. It is quite incredible to witness the behind-the-scenes process of Disneyland imagineers who were truly ahead of their times when it came to using advanced technology for entertainment purposes. The backside of this figure here looks so real and is a testament to the skills of these engineers and creatives.
75. Vintage WWII Photo from Germany
This rare vintage photo depicts German women lining up and awaiting their inspection from their higher-up. Within this all-female athletic club you can see the look of concern among the girls as they prepare for inspection and critiques.
Overall, women are constantly being judged by their appearance as they are held up to high standards. Here we see the women’s superior in the black athletic suit examining their bodies, posture, etc. This instructor then would critique exactly what they are doing wrong and what they need to correct or work on. No matter who you are, being judged is never a pleasant experience.
76. Marilyn Monroe Serenades JFK for His Birthday
The sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” instantly became one of the most discussed moments in the 20th century. It’s also one of the most replicated and parodied throughout pop culture. Singing for President John F. Kennedy’s birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden in 1962, this marked one of Marilyn Monroe’s last major public appearances before her death.
As if the performance wasn’t provocative enough, Marilyn Monroe wore a sheer, flesh-colored dress bedazzled with 2,500 glistening rhinestones. Designed by Jean Louis, the gown was so tight that Marilyn Monroe had to be sown into it.
77. Race Organizers Try to Prevent Woman from Running in the Boston Marathon
Kathrine Switzer wasn’t going to be stopped. As the daughter of a major in the United States Army, failure was never an option. While studying at Syracuse University, a coach once told her that a “fragile woman” could never run in the Boston Marathon. This only encouraged her further. Undeterred, she trained in secret and entered the race in 1967.
Rather than simply letting her run, officials reacted and even tried to physically pull her from the race. Fortunately, Kathrine Switzer was running alongside her boyfriend, who helped fend off her attackers. She finished the competition in just over four hours.
78. FBI Investigates 'Louie Louie' by The Kingsmen
“Louie Louie” was originally released by Richard Berry in 1957. However, it was The Kingsmen’s version in 1963 that stirred up controversy. It also launched an 18-month investigation by the FBI.
Parents and politicians alike feared that the indecipherable, incoherent lyrics were actually laced with obscenity. The FBI listened to the song “forwards and backwards” and followed the band on tour, hoping to determine what was actually being said. Some states and radio stations even banned the song. Turns out, all this publicity only added to its hype.
79. Benjamin Franklin Pens His Daily Routine
Turns out Ben Franklin has a to-do list too. The Founding Father has authored countless famous works. Many of which are ingrained in the American tradition. Yet it’s his daily routine, recorded in 1726, that provides unique insight into the mind of a genius.
Written when he was just 20 years old, the daily routine featured several surprising revelations. Not only does he appear to have slept only four hours a night, Benjamin Franklin also seemed much more focused on examining and reflecting on his life than he was on inventing or other works.
80. Chuck Norris Enlists in the U.S. Air Force
Before appearing on screen, Chuck Norris got his kicks in the U.S. Air Force. Literally. After enlisting in 1958, Carlos Ray Norris discovered his passion for martial arts while stationed in South Korea. He has earned black belts in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and judo.
After leaving the service, Chuck Norris would go on to win many martial arts championships and discover his own martial arts discipline, known as Chun Kuk Do.
81. The Tin Man Joins the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Balloons and floats drifting along Central Park are iconic parts of the pageantry around this annual tradition. Yet, it wasn’t always this elaborate. When the first annual Thanksgiving parade was introduced, it was a much simpler affair.
It actually began in Newark, New Jersey, where employees would march down the streets in colorful costumes. After it was moved to Macy’s in New York City, it evolved to the big, extravagant fanfare we know today. Depicted here in 1939 is the Tin Man float, followed by the Wicked Witch of the West.
82. The Three Stooges Pose for 'Three Little Beers'
Filmed in 1935, “Three Little Beers” represented a departure for the slapstick comedy team. Of the 190 shorts produced between 1934 and 1959, the group rarely left the sound stage. This film took place outdoors.
This movie finds the Stooges working as delivery men for a beer company. Once they discover their company is hosting a golf tournament with cash prizes, the Stooges hit the links to improve their skills. As you can imagine, hijinks ensue.
83. Len Dawson Enjoys a Cigarette During Halftime of Super Bowl I
It definitely brings new meaning to the phrase “throwing smoke.” In 1967, it wasn’t uncommon for a quarterback to have a cigarette and a soft drink while on the sidelines.
Len Dawson put in work on the field too though. He won one Super Bowl and was named the NFL Man of the Year in 1973. From 1962 to 1969, he threw more touchdowns (182) than any other professional quarterback. He retired in 1976.
84. Fred Astaire Dances Up in the Air
Widely considered the greatest dancer in the history of film, Fred Astaire could make any routine seem effortless. But, in reality, he was a relentless worker. The star would notoriously film any dance sequence repeatedly until it was perfect. Often, this meant 30 to 40 takes.
And this work effort translated onto the screen. It’s a major reason his stage and film career spanned a remarkable 76 years. Although he was great with a partner, his best work usually came when he was allowed to cut loose and improvise.
85. George H. Bush Leaves Letter for Bill Clinton on Inauguration Day
As is tradition, the outgoing leader pens a note for the newly-elected President. However, this one from 1993 is especially meaningful. The two former Presidents and political rivals shared an unlikely friendship that spanned decades.
After George H. Bush passed away, Bill Clinton professed his gratitude for the friendship that they had formed. Specifically, he was “struck by the kindness” displayed to him and his family.
86. Concert Goers Hitch a Ride to Summer Jam
Woodstock gets a lot of press as the fabled festival of peace and love. But, Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, NY in 1973 drew even more fans. Headlined by the Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers, the concert drew nearly 600,000 people. Even more impressive, tickets sold out instantly.
Yet, the tiny village in central New York wasn’t equipped to handle this huge influx of people. Stores quickly ran out of food and mail delivery was suspended. Fans were still treated to a once-in-a-lifetime show that went off without a hitch. Remarkably, there were no reported instances of violence.
87. Muhammad Ali Displays His Winnings
Flying like a butterfly certainly pays off. The boxing legend definitely has come a long way from the 12-year-old boy featured earlier on this list. On his way to becoming the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali earned a lot of belts and even more piles of cash.
When posing for this photo, he told the Sports Illustrated reporter that he was the greatest for another reason too. Unlike other fighters of his era, Muhammad Ali attributed his notoriety to his ability to “throw the jive.” He continued, saying that he was “a boxer who can throw the jive better than anybody you will probably ever meet anywhere.”
88. Valeska Suratt Poses for a Picture
Throughout the 1920s, most silent film stars dressed in the flapper girl style. But Valeska Suratt was different. She was one of the first mainstream stars to rock the “goth” look. Known then as “vamps,” she was famous for her unique tousled hair and smeared makeup. Vogue even named her “one of the best dressed women on the stage.”
Although Valeska Suratt got her start doing vaudeville in Chicago, she later signed with Fox and appeared in 11 silent films. Unfortunately, due to the 1937 vault fire at the studio’s film-storage facility, all of her work is now lost.
89. Mickey Mouse Consoles Kermit in Cartoon after Jim Henson's Death
Jim Henson touched us all. Whether it was Sesame Street, The Muppets, or some of his later work, Jim Henson had a place in almost everyone’s childhood. Yet he influenced an entire generation of creators too. That’s why, in 1990, after his death, Disney honored Jim Henson with this cartoon. It was sent directly to his former company.
Known for always wanting to have fun, Jim Henson had strict requirements for his funeral. Among them, no one was to wear black. The service also featured a song medley performed by Big Bird.