50 Rare Historical Photos That You Probably Haven’t Seen Before
Learning about history is a continuously interesting, never-ending adventure. What makes it even more exciting is exploring the past through authentic photographs. These rare images, coupled with fascinating stories behind them, allow us to take an intimate glimpse into the lives of people long gone. They provide a tangible link that connects us to these unfamiliar faces and teaches us about their dreams, fears, and brave decisions that changed the course of history.
Our team here at Bored Panda absolutely adores discovering golden nuggets about the old days, and we're thrilled to bring you plenty of images that correspond with them. Today’s post will serve as a captivating archive of some rarely seen photos filled with unstaged and genuine scenarios from the old days.
So let's take a look at some historical moments — both big and small — that may just help us see the world in a different light. Continue scrolling, upvote your favorite entries and tell us in the comments which ones you loved the most and why. Then if you're interested in broadening your mental horizons even further, check out our earlier piece about historical photos that might change your perspective right over here.
In 1969, When Black Americans Were Still Prevented From Swimming Alongside Whites, Mr.rogers Decided To Invite Officer Clemmons To Join Him And Cool His Feet In A Pool
On February 8th, 1943, Nazis Hung 17-Year-Old Lepa Radić For Being A Yugoslavian Partisan During World War II. When They Asked Her The Names Of Her Companions, She Replied: “You Will Know Them When They Come To Avenge Me."
One Of The Earliest Photos Showing A Native American With A Wolf - Unlike The Myths Created About Wolves By Settlers, Indians Maintained A Close And Respectful Relationship With Wolves
The best thing about stumbling across historical pictures like these is how much they spark our interest. Many of us immediately feel the urge to do a few Google searches, quickly click on hyperlinks, and dive headfirst into the world of knowledge, all to learn more about these past eras, long-gone events, and people who created something out of them.
It’s amazing how one simple photo can lead to hours of research about something you might not even have known existed before. By exploring historical events through photographs, you have a chance to interpret and enhance your perception of the world in a visual way. You’re suddenly presented with new information about how individuals lived back then and how their actions molded our society.
Harlem Grocer Standing In Front Of His Store, 1937
Three Lads Play To The Camera, Jamaica
Jewish Prisoners After Being Liberated From A Death Train, 1945
"Photography can definitely be a powerful tool in understanding history," Jo Romero, a writer, sketcher, and founder of the blog called Love British History previously told Bored Panda. "It gives us that link between us and people in the past — we can look into the person's eyes in a photograph and it creates that human connection between us."
The Boy And His Car, 1930s.little Man's Got Style
Japanese Couple Taking A Mirror Selfie, 1920s
Mother And Daughter Taking A Walk In New York City, 1970
"From a photograph too, we can see body languages and poses within a group of people or the way a scene is laid out and this is much more than we could ascertain from reading a book," Jo added. "Photographs help make history seem more real. They're like a viewfinder into the past!"
And we can’t help but agree. Of course, oral traditions, artifact collection, and volumes of manuscripts and documents are essential sources of information for historical periods. But there’s something about photography that enhances our understanding of history. With each and every closing of the camera shutter, a moment is recorded and frozen in the past, and uncovering these gems makes them seem even more real.
Bobbi Gibb, First Woman To Run The Boston Marathon In 1966, She Ran Without A Number Because Women Were Not Allowed Into The Race
" Please, God, Please, Don't Let Me Be Normal". Sigourney Weaver's High School Yearbook Picture.1967
22-Year-Old Wasp Pilot Shirley Slade In Her Flying Helmet, Goggles, And Gloves, 1943
"We have so much we can learn from the visual evidence that we have, whether that's a portrait of a person or a snapshot captured of a group or scene," the blogger pointed out that history is an extremely varied topic. Jo added that visual media helps make the past seem more accessible and that we can see photos like we see historical artifacts. "They add interest and give us context."
According to Jo, it’s one thing to read about your great-great-grandfather on a page but then to see a photograph of him and look into his eyes, it's completely different. She believes that "photos of people or scenes evoke a much stronger emotional reaction, and it's great that they can be used alongside written sources for context. Not everyone wants to learn just by reading, and using different visual sources can help keep our interest and curiosity up and make the topic a lot more engaging."
Photograph Showing Inventor Charles S.l Baker And His Assistant Demonstrating Heating/Radiator System. 1906
A Jewish Hanukkah Menorah Defies The Nazi Swastika, 1931
On Hanukkah 1932, just one month before Hitler came to power, Rachel Posner, wife of Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner, took this photo of the family Hanukkah menorah from the window ledge of the family home looking out on to the building across the road decorated with Nazi flags.
On the back of the photograph, Rachel Posner wrote in German (translated here): Chanukah 5692 (1932)
"Death to Judah"
So the flag says
"Judah will live forever"
So the light answers. -.
Bride Leaving Her Recently Bombed Home To Get Married, London, Nov 4, 1940
As Anna Pegler-Gordon, an associate professor at the University of Michigan, explained in a piece called Seeing Images in History, we rarely spend time exploring pictures that illustrate history. Most of the time, we focus on the written content "because of the way that images are presented in many historical texts and also because of the way that historians are trained to view images — as illustrations of written history rather than sources of history themselves."
But this seems to be changing as Pegler-Gordon mentioned evidence of a "visual turn" in learning and teaching the subject in the last few years. It looks like more academics and historians now give more attention to visual images. By using photographs to teach, the professor noticed that students often see media as more accessible than written records. "Students themselves mention that images make the past seem more accessible, giving concrete shape to a world that sometimes seems intangible," she added.
The Real Meaning Of "Keep Calm And Carry On." Milkman During The London Blitz 1940
Hippie Dad Walking With His Daughter. Amsterdam, 1968
Luzon Woman, 1875
"The learners who arrive in our classrooms today are not only immersed in technology, but also in visual ways of learning. They appreciate the immediacy of the image, which often conveys information more quickly than a primary document written in unfamiliar, or even a foreign, language." Another benefit is that this immediacy leads to a shared experience of viewing a picture together that can contribute to a lively group discussion.
Moreover, students are often advanced readers of graphic media, and with proper guidance and support from their teachers, they can truly enjoy the process of looking at and analyzing historical visual representations.
Inuk Man Teaching A Boy How To Shoot. Circa 1920
Kiss Band With Their Parents, 1976
Showgirls Playing Chess Before A Show , 1958
"However, visual images are also inaccessible for the same reasons that they are accessible. The apparent legibility of the image hides its historical construction, the ways in which the image was made, distributed, and read at the time it was produced and since." Pegler-Gordon added that to become better at reading images, we must become informed about the history and the theory of images.
"Easter Eggs For Hitler" Two African American Gi's Pose At Easter Time With Personalised Infantry Shells. Ww2, 1940s
David Isom, 19, Broke The Color Line In A Segregated Pool In Florida On June 8, 1958, Which Resulted In Officials Closing The Facility
Susan Kare, Famous Apple Artist Who Designed Many Of The Fonts, Icons, And Images For Apple, Next, Microsoft, And Ibm. (1980s)
Once we arm ourselves with knowledge, photos can be a great tool to expand our mental horizons even further. "We establish a connection with not only the subject but also the photographer, so we see exactly what they saw through their lens that day as if we're seeing it now and are part of the scene in a way," blogger Jo Romero added. She concluded by saying that discovering the past through historical photographs simply makes it seem "much more relatable to us and we want to discover more."
Couples In A Bar, 1959 Pittsburgh
The Two Kashmir Giants Posing With The American Photographer James Ricalton, 1903
Father And Son Bonding Time 1980s
Shooting The Original Mgm Logo, 1928
That’s A Genuinely Happy Looking Family, USA, 1959
Marina Ginestà, A 17-Year-Old Social Activist, Journalist, And Translator, On The Rooftop Of The Hotel Colón In Barcelona In 1936
Learning To Ride A Bicycle, 1961
An Ojibwe Native American Spearfishing, Minnesota, 1908
No Dog Biscuits Today, London, 1939
Dad: Let's Take A Picture That Will Make Mom Angry. 1970
Oasis In Giza, 1917
A Chippewa Indian Named John Smith Who Lived In The Woods Near Cass Lake, Minnesota Claimed To Be 137 Years Old Before He Died In 1922. Photo Taken In 1915
Not Everyone Likes Bikini, Miami Beach, 1980s
Paris - 1950
Central Park, New York City, 1973
New York Children Sleeping On The Fire Escape To Keep Cool At Night. Early 1900 ‘S
Zuya Hiyaya (Goes To War) And His Daughter, Sicangu, 1905
A Dude Gets Arrested For Growing Marijuana In The Mid 70s
Couple Viewing The Apollo 8 Spacecraft Launch, 1968
New York City, September 11th, 2001
Bushy Ladies Of The 70s
A Teenager At An Elvis Presley Concert At The Philadelphia Arena In Philadelphia (Pa), April 6, 1957
French Riviera, 1974
New York City’s Subway System, 1980
Cleaning Women Washing A Crucifix, 1938
Teenagers At A Party In 1947, Tulsa , Oklahoma.photo By Nina Leen
Note: this post originally had 65 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.