50 Of The Most Curiosity-Inducing Historical Photographs (New Pics)
In our times, most of humanity’s effort is set on exploring the future and the advancements that come with it, whether it’s technology or science. But delving into the past can be just as if not more entertaining.
Luckily, there’s a whole corner of Reddit dedicated to joining history aficionados together and sharing some of the most intriguing, rare and unique moments that happened a long time ago. Being home to a whopping 3.3M members, this subreddit is one of the biggest powerhouses on the platform!
Think of the moment Marlon Brando rejected his Oscar and gave the stage to Sacheen Littlefeather to protest Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. Or the sunny afternoon when Che Guevara and Fidel Castro went fishing in 1960. Or a day in 1992 when Michelle and Barack Obama were giggling while getting married.
Thanks to photography, special moments like these were forever carved in our memories and so today, we invite you on a walk down memory lane. Scroll down and upvote your favorite ones!
When They Realized Women Were Using Their Sacks To Make Clothes For Their Children, Flour Mills Of The 1930s Started Using Flowered Fabric For Their Sacks (1939)
Albert Einstein Defying The Prevailing Racial Climate At The Time By Visiting Lincoln University, Pennsylvania
The first degree-granting black college in the US - to teach a class. He was an outspoken civil rights advocate for black Americans. Photographed in 1946
Johnny Depp Saved The Old Horse Goldeneye From Sleepy Hollow Who Played Crane’s Companion, Gunpowder
The one-eyed horse was originally set to be euthanized after production was completed. But Depp stepped in and adopted Goldeneye after finishing the movie - 1999
“Photographs bring history to life in an immediate and visceral way,” Lisa Yaszek, a Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech where she researches and teaches science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures, told Bored Panda.
Yaszek explained how it’s different from exploring history through written sources. “When we read books, we get lots of detailed information about historical events: who was involved, where the event happened, what factors led to and resulted from it, and so on.”
"Happiest Man In China"
Taken in 1901 by British anthropologists after deciding to document the Chinese. The Chinese didn't know photos were a "serious matter" and decided to be goofy, hence the pose and smile
Tokyo Residents Mourning Hachiko
He would regularly meet his owner, professor Ueno, at Shibuya station after he returned from work. Sadly, Ueno died on May 21, 1925, & never returned. However, Hachiko would return to the station every day for 9 years, waiting for him to come back, 1935
In 1973, Marlon Brando Rejected His Oscar For The Godfather To Allow Sacheen Littlefeather To Protest Hollywood’s Portrayal Of Native Americans
Moreover, “Sometimes such information can be vividly detailed and prompt us to imagine what historical events might have looked like in ways that make us feel more connected to them, but sometimes we are so overwhelmed with dry or technical details that we actually feel more removed from the event than ever before,” the professor explained.
On the other hand, photos rarely have this problem. “Even when shot by the most amateur of photographers, images of people living in and through various moments in history provide a sense of immediate emotional connection—we think, ‘wow, so that’s what it would feel like to experience that moment of history!’” Yaszek explained.
Six-Year-Old Austrian Boy “Werfel” Receiveing A New Pair Of Shoes At The Am Himmel Orphanage
Donated by the junior red cross in America (colorized). Published in The Life magazine in 1946
Mass Demonstrations Against Soviet Union In Baku, The Capital Of Azerbaijan, 1989
Nakano Takeko (Onna-Musha Of The Aizu Domain) In Imperial Japan
She and other women fought in the Battle of Aizu in October 1868 during the Boshin War, when on October 16th, she was killed in battle by a rifle shot. Shown in full samurai armour, c. 1860 - 1868
The professor pointed out that “as the comments from posters on the ‘Exploring the Past through Historical Photos’ Reddit indicates, images of people from the past connect us to history in another, related way as well.”
In this sense, we’re not just mere viewers. Yaszek explained that “once we feel an emotional bond with the people in historical photos and perhaps even begin to imaginatively empathize with them—we forge new intellectual connections to history itself, asking ourselves: ‘Why are the people in this photograph in this situation in the first place? What happened leading up to this photo—and what happened afterward?’”
For viewers like us, this can be an empowering moment. “We begin to actively research and share what they know about events and people represented in specific photos,” Yaszek told us.
African-American Boys On Easter Morning, Southside, Chicago, Illinois, April 1941 [colorized]
A Group Of Samurai Went On A Tourist Tour In Egypt And Took A Photo In Front Of Sphinx, 1864
Moreover, looking at historical photographs is an opportunity to both learn history from experts and to become an expert yourself, Yaszek argues. It’s because they give us an opportunity to “work with others to re-create the real story behind the image.”
“Sometimes, especially powerful photos can even prompt action in the real world, as we even begin to wonder, ‘how much does my own historical era have in common with this moment from the past?’ and ‘what can I do to make sure we do—or do not!—ever experience something like this again?’ And so by looking at historical photos, we can become agents of history!” the professor told us.
A Young Barack Obama Spending Time On The Beach With His Grandfather 1963
Anne Frank And Her Sister Margot At The Beach, Zandvoort - August 1940
This Boy’s Photo Was Taken In Los Angeles, California, Circa 1920s. A Stately Pose. From My Glass Negative Collection
112 Year-Old Teimruz Vanacha (Left), Veteran Of WWI And The Russian Civil War, With His Son Ivan, A Veteran Of WWII, In 1980
The Ethiopian Negus Menelik II Who Defeated The Italians In The Battle Of Adawa And Thus Saving His Nation From Colonisation. 1913
Cannabis Rights Activist Ben Masel Smoking A Joint While Voting In The 1976 Presidential Election. Taking Advantage Of An Apparent Law That Prohibits Arrest While Voting
Rarely Did Photographers Make It To Frontier Families But When They Did Families Wanted To Show How Well They Were Doing Out West By Stripping The House & Pose For The Camera
This family would like you to see their big melons are & a cow that appears to be able to climb your house! The 1870s
A Mob Pours Sugar, Ketchup And Mustard Over The Heads Of John Salter, Joan Trumpauer And Anne Moody
During a sit-in demonstration at a Woolworth's ‘whites only’ lunch counter in Jackson, Miss - May 28, 1963
On This Day 59 Years Ago, Soviet Space Mission Vostok 6 Was Launched With Valentina Tereshkova Onboard, Who Became The 1st Woman In Space
This is her during the fifth earth orbit on June 16, 1963
A Smiling Girl In A Kimono On New Year's Day. Japan, 1914
Greenpeace Tries To Stop Radioactive Waste From Being Dumped In The Ocean, 1982
Russian Conscript With His Family Before Being Deployed To The Front, Karachev, Bryansk, Russia, 1943
Võ Thi Thang Smiling After Being Sentenced To 20 Years Hard Labour In A Prison Camp By The South Vietnamese Govt - 1968
In The 1890s, The Congo State (Controlled By Belgian Settlers) Allowed The Companies To Maneuver Almost Entirely Freely
Which resulted in various atrocities, including the amputation of hands as punishment for those who refused to collect rubber
My Grandfather. 1933. In A Cornfield He Planted That Was Destroyed By Locusts
Chinese-American War Worker In Los Angeles
Wore a handwritten sign in his back to avoid being mistaken for Japanese 1942
Commuters In New York On The Evening Of November 22, 1963
Jaques Biederer, The First Photographer In History Specializing In Erotic Photos. This Photo Was Taken In Paris In 1928
An Enthusiast For Men's Dress Reform Walking Down The Strand In London. The Mdrp (Men’s Dress Reform Party) Was Formed In The Interwar Years In Britain, 1930
Santa Claus With The Children During Croatian War Of Independence. Vukovar, 1992 (Colorized)
[colorized] Three Scout Girls Collect Peach Pits, Which Will Later Be Processed To Make Gas Mask Filters During World War I. Washington, 1917-1918
UPS Worker Delivers Packages In New York City During The Attacks Of 9/11 2001
Memorial Day 1945: French Teen Helene Chapelle And Her Mother Kneel At The Grave Of James Simonian Who Was Killed During The Normandy Invasion
She is reading a letter from Simonian’s mother who asked that it be read at her son’s grave. La Cambe Cemetery, France
Queen Elizabeth; The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret And A Bored Prince Charles Watching The Coronation Ceremony Of Queen Elizabeth II. Westminster Abbey, 1953
Dr. Erich Salomon Faked A Broken Arm So He Could Hide A Camera In His Cast To Photograph The Us Supreme Court - 1932
Captain Lewis Nixon Of The 101st Airborne Wakes Up After A Night Of Celebrating Courtesy Of Goerings Private Liquor, Wine And Champagne Collection, Austria May 4th 1945
Anton Dostler, Nazi General Moments Before Being Executed For War Crimes. Aversa, Italy. 1 December, 1945
P.t. Barnum & Bailey's Combined Circus Performers, New York 1924
Photo Of A British Man Wearing A Chain Around The Neck Of Aborigines, Who Are Natives Of Australia. 1900's
Mohawk Warrior Attacks Canadian Soldiers During Oka Crisis July-Sep 1990
Which began when the Canadian government approved the seizure of Mohawk land for a private golf course - a 14 yr old Mohawk teen was bayoneted in the chest and almost died