50 Important Historical Images That Might Change Your Perspective On Things, As Shared By This Facebook Page
Studying history helps us understand and grapple with complex questions and dilemmas of the present. By examining the past, we get a better understanding of what shaped (and continues to shape) global, national, and local relationships between societies and people.
But as interesting as these processes sound, some people still find them not vivid enough for their time. So, in an attempt to bring more light to this beautiful and intricate subject, we invite you to take a look at the Facebook page 'Historical Images.'
As the name suggests, it shares rarely-seen pictures from days gone by. Whether it's a group of Italian school children crossing a river in the '50s using pulleys, or an American mailman delivering Christmas letters and parcels in the '20s, this page has it all.
More info: Facebook
Stoney First Nation Member, Samson Beaver With His Wife Leah And Their Daughter Frances Louise, 1907
An American Serviceman Shares His Rations With Two Japanese Children In Okinawa, 1945
In 2006, Professor Anna Pegler-Gordon, already talked about visual media being more accessible to students than the written record. Pegler-Gordon's students were saying that images give concrete shape to a world that sometimes seems intangible and they appreciated the immediacy of the image, which often conveys information quicker than a primary document in an unfamiliar language.
However, as valuable as images can be to our learning process, Pegler-Gordon also pointed out that we should be careful about the way we consume them; we should not only pay close attention to an image's production and circulation, but also to the responses of the image's audience, for example. In most cases, this information cannot be learned from the image itself, and supplementary material is needed.
1945: The Day Daddy Came Home. Gunner Hector Murdoch Had Been Gone Over Four Years, Most Of It As A Prisoner Of War In Singapore. His Wife Rosina And Son John Hadn't Known If He Was Dead Or Alive. He Got Home On His Birthday
For one of our earlier historical pieces, James Jefferies, who is a Ph.D. candidate and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Essex and University of Wolverhampton, said that he always finds images are good to use in seminars as visual stimulants alongside questions for various topics.
"[One of the images I recently used during a seminar about the First World War] showed what appeared to be a British soldier (a.k.a a 'Tommy') sitting in a trench surrounded by bodies with a look of forlorn disillusionment," Jefferies then told Bored Panda." I played students a clip of the opening titles in which this image is used and asked my students for their thoughts."
"They said how strong it was and that it emphasized the notions of the futility of the First World War. I then showed them that the image was actually an altered composite image that was taken from an original image of Irish troops in July 1916. In the original picture, the soldier is surrounded by smiling comrades and his facial expression now, in its true context, suggests one of curiosity over having his photograph taken rather than forlorn and disillusionment," Jefferies explained. "Now, not only does this raise questions about why the image was altered and how this fits into the public perception of the First World War in the 1960s but it also makes you question yourself when presented with images. You start to think about the context."
Former Slave, Author And Activist Frederick Douglass With His Musician Grandson Joseph Douglass In 1894
Ukrainian Restaurant In The U.S. Celebrates The Death Of Joseph Stalin, 1953
Authorities have long understood the power of visuals as well. "I think in politics, whether that be governments, parties, and such, most use images to convey a message and also to influence an emotional response with people," Jefferies said.
"An example that comes to mind is a poster by the UK Conservative Party from the 1979 election campaign in the UK showing queues of people outside an employment office sign with words above saying 'Labour Isn't Working.' This poster and image struck a huge chord on the back of the period known as the 'winter of discontent' which had seen large numbers of strikes and rising unemployment. The image itself is fabricated but chimed into a feeling of disillusionment over the Labour government's handling of the crisis led by James Callaghan."
Australian Soldiers After Their Release From Japanese Captivity In Singapore, 1945
Remember That Photo Of The Construction Workers Having Lunch On A Unfinished New York Skyscraper? Well Here's The Photographer Charles Ebbets. 9/20/1932
Jefferies thinks the poster also played a part in Margaret Thatcher coming to power in 1979 and pointed out it has since been adapted and parodied by satirists and other political parties.
"The poster seems to have embedded itself into the collective public memory and it's really fascinating to think about how one simple image can have long-lasting effects and also be used as a representation of that period of history," Jefferies explained.
In 2012, during the United States Presidential Election, the Republican Party even used a variation of the poster, with the slogan 'Obama isn't working' instead of 'Labour isn't working.'
2,200-Year-Old Hellenistic Theatre In Laodicea, Southwestern Turkey, After Recent Excavation
Mailman Poses With His Heavy Load Of Christmas Mail And Parcels. Chicago, USA. 1929. Colorized
"With anything history-related, and I think this a good practice to have with most things, do check the source!" Jefferies said.
"All good and reputable accounts will refer to the catalog number of the archives, museum or such, about where something is taken from. We're in an age of photo editing software which is improving all the time but if a catalog number is provided, you can check the original content."
Children Cross The River Using Pulleys On Their Way To School, 1959, Italy
A Mother With Her Children, 1,800 Years Ago. Alexandria, Roman Egypt
Behind The Scenes Photos From The Making Of The First Godzilla Movie, 1954
The historian said sources such as the Imperial War Museum, National Archives, Time, etc. are well-known and reputable places.
"It's always good to get an idea of what is trustworthy, so ask around. Soon, you'll pick up how to look at images and what to look for. I'd definitely say checking its citing saying where it's come from with a catalog number is a good start. Of course, photographs have been manipulated since photography was invented, but experts can usually spot these fakes and this will be accounted for in catalogs. It's all part of the fun of research!"
May 1922: 78-Year-Old Robert T. Lincoln (Son Of Abraham Lincoln) Is Helped Up The Steps At The Dedication Of The Lincoln Memorial In Washington D.C
Mother Teaching Children Numbers And Alphabet In Home Of Sharecropper. Transylvania, Louisiana. Jan. 1939
Jefferies added that sometimes people can be put off by history, thinking it's just memorizing dates and spending an eternity in cold archives. But that's not necessarily the case. "In reality, it's about using a multitude of sources, such as images, to understand that the past is not so far away and that these people felt the same things we did," he explained.