No Photoshop Here: Incredible Historical Photos They Won’t Show In School
For over 150 years, photography has helped us capture snapshots in time. While many common historical images are easily found online and in history books, there has been a recent surge in newly uncovered and previously unreleased historical photos. These photographs can range from downright amazing, to completely creepy, to bleak reminders of some the darkest parts of human history. In these rare historical photographs, there’s an entire world being revealed in every shot. And fair warning: some of these photos can be a little eerie. Click Next Page to launch this amazing gallery.
Constructing The Statue Of Liberty In Paris, France (1880s)
In this photograph dating back to the 1880s, Lady Liberty isn’t quite ready to make her New York City debut yet. Instead, she’s still being constructed in Paris, under the guidance of French engineer Gustave Eiffel (who was also responsible for — you guessed it — the Eiffel Tower). She was finally unveiled on October 28, 1886.
Salvador Dali In A Goat-Drawn Carriage (1953)
Salvador Dali is one of history’s most eccentric characters — even by artist standards. His imagination extended beyond the canvas, where his surreal paintings of melting clocks turned painting on its head, to more public stunts like the goat carriage shown here. According to some rumors, he would also use goat feces as a “perfume.”
Inventor Of The Diving Suit (1911)
Pictured here is Chester E. Macduffee and his newly-patented creation, the diving suit. It was made of aluminum alloy and weighed over 550 pounds, which is exactly the kind of thing you want to be strapped into when you’re thrown into the ocean. The invention did help advance deep-sea diving when, in 1914, the suit reached new depths of 212 feet in the Long Island Sound.
Human Game Of Chess, Russia (1924)
Does an afternoon of standing on a square sound like fun to you and 31 of your closest friends? Then life-size human chess may be the game for you. The stakes in this old photograph may not be as high as they were in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — but then again, this is Soviet Russia.
The Titanic (1912)
This is one of the last known images of the famous Titanic ship before it sank into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean in 1912. It’s estimated that over 1,500 died on the boat, sending shockwaves around the world. More than 100 years later, however, our hearts will go on.
Charlie Chaplin And Helen Keller (1919)
What happens when one of the world’s most famous advocates for the deaf and blind meets one of the most famous film actors of their time? Here’s Helen Keller visiting the set of Sunnyside, where she read Charlie Chaplin’s lips by touching her fingers to his mouth. Even she thought he was funny!
Cleaning The Canals Of Venice (1956)
You know about Venice’s famous canals. But have you ever stopped to think about how those canals are maintained? Like any other kind of infrastructure, they require regular upkeep and cleaning. In this photograph, you can see workers clearing years of sludge buildup from a section of a canal that’s been cordoned off and drained. Grazie!
Marilyn Monroe Filming The Seven Year Itch (1955)
The picture of Marilyn Monroe standing above a subway grate and trying to keep her dress down has become one of the most iconic images of 20th century pop culture. In this photo, you see the process behind the photo shoot, which was actually part of a promotion for her film, The Seven Year Itch, directed by Billy Wilder.
Steven Spielberg Filming Jaws (1975)
In more iconic movie moments, here’s director Steven Spielberg on the set of Jaws in 1975, when he was just 27 years old. This great white shark is one of three full-scale mechanical models used for the making of the film, which the crew referred to as “Bruce.”
Female Russian Soldier During World War II (Circa 1940)
Most of the 800,000 women who served in the Soviet Armed Forces during WWII were medical staff, but some — like this young woman who seems all too happy to be taking aim at some Nazis — served as gunners, pilots, and snipers. The next time someone tells you to shoot like a girl, show them this.
The First Woman To Run The Boston Marathon (1967)
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon, much to the chagrin of some of its organizers, pictured here. She finished in four hours and 20 minutes, but it wasn’t until 1972 that women were finally allowed to register for and compete in the race alongside men.
Eligible Bachelors Of Montana (1901)
Hello ladies, are you looking for a good time in turn-of-the-century Montana? There’s not much information attached to this picture, except that these guys are probably wishing that Tinder had already been invented. Women were important assets on any ranch or farm, and essential in providing more helping hands (i.e., children) to get on with the dirty work.
The Road To Giza (1870s)
Perhaps what’s most shocking about this photograph is how few people there are. The Great Pyramids didn’t really become a major tourist attraction until the 1970s; now they receive millions of visitors every year. Before there was Instagram, there were plain old fashioned cameras; these pictures are early examples of travel photography at its best.
Phonograph Recording (1916)
We take so much of modern technology for granted, especially when it comes to music. Pictured here is Frances Densmore, an ethnomusicologist who devoted her career to preserving the musical culture of Native Americans on phonographic recordings. With her is Mountain Chief, a leader of the Blackfoot tribe, in 1916.
Disneyland Employee Cafeteria (1961)
Fancy having a lunch date with Snow White and Goofy? Walt Disney’s flagship theme park opened in 1955 after a full year of construction and has been often dubbed “the happiest place on earth” ever since. Let’s just hope that Snow White remembered to skip the apples in the buffet line.
Gettysburg 50th Anniversary (1913)
In this powerful picture, veteran soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War reconciled and joined hands on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. More than 50,000 former soldiers attended the event, where, as President Woodrow Wilson said in his address, “We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer.”
The Inventor Of Basketball (1890s)
James Naismith, a Canadian-American physician and sport coach, came up with the idea of “Basket Ball” while teaching physical education at the YMCA International Training School (later renamed Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. The original game had just 13 rules and used peach baskets as hoops. Here’s a picture of Naismith practicing his game with his wife.
The MGM Lion (1928)
You may not realize it at first, but you already know this picture very well. Here’s a shot of the filming of the MGM lion, the one who roars at the beginning of every classic film. In fact, several different lions were used throughout the years. This one is named Jackie, and he also appears in some old Tarzan films.
When Bullets Meet
Two bullets collided midair during gunfire in the Battle of Gallipoli, which lasted from 1915 to 1916 during World War I. Allied countries—Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand—ultimately retreated from the battle. The Turkish Army still considers their victory at Gallipoli among defining moments in their country’s modern history.
Suspending Eighteen Claws In Zero Gravity
In an act that would infuriate PETA today, Captain Druey P. Parks took an F-94C jet to an altitude of 25,000 feet to study animal reactions to weightlessness. After releasing the cat into zero gravity, Parks described the furball’s reaction as “bewilderment.” The pilot was lucky to escape without injury, really.
Testing An H Bomb
Twenty-three nuclear devices were detonated by the United States at Bikini Atoll from 1946 to 1958. The island is one of 23 making up the group of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. Test weapons were detonated on the sea, in the air, and underwater, rendering the island and surrounding areas uninhabitable due to radioactivity.
Pablo Escobar, Tourist At The White House
Pablo Escobar’s personal net worth at the height of his career as a drug lord was estimated to reach $3 billion. His personal motto was “plato o ploma,” meaning “silver or lead.” If people weren’t persuaded by bribery and cash, they’d be taken care of with a bullet.
Painting La Tour Eiffel
Painters are seen here coating the Eiffel Tower in 1932. The tower has been repainted 18 times since its construction, an average of once every seven years. 60 tons of paint are required to complete the job, as well as 1,500 brushes, 1,500 sets of work clothes, and over a year’s worth of time for 25 painters to get the job done.
A Gas Proof Stroller
Large British cities had plenty of bomb shelters and gas masks for citizens, but a lesser-known tool used by parents was the gas resistant stroller. This photo was shot in 1938, the year that Germany occupied the Sudetenland. These carriages look more like coffins, which might be why they were never too popular.
Baby Cages In Skyscrapers
This photo was shot in 1934 showing a wire cage that a council in London proposed for its buildings. Infants were supposed to have access to sunlight and fresh air, and this was supposed to be a solution. Seems a bit crazy, no? It should come as no surprise that the invention didn’t have staying power.
Audrey Hepburn’s Pet Deer
Audrey met Pippin while shooting Green Mansions. Audrey brought the creature home to foster a bond and the pair spent plenty of time with each other. Pippin, called “Ip” for short, was fed with a baby bottle. She was reportedly very affectionate and even snuggled up to Audrey for bedtime.
A Telephone Tower In Stockholm
The Old Stockholm telephone tower was built in 1887 and connected more than 5,000 telephone wires in the Swedish capital. This monstrosity was constructed just before telephone companies began burying their wires. By 1913, telephone wires were all underground and the tower no longer served its original purpose. It was damaged by fire in 1952 and demolished the year after.
The First Animal In Space
Pictured here is Laika, the first animal to ever be sent into outer space. She was a stray in Moscow before she became a cosmonaut and went to space in November 1957. She didn’t return to Earth and died within a few hours of departure. A monument in Moscow memorializes her to this day.
Ham The Space Chimp
Ham the Chimp was also known as Ham the Astrochimp, named for New Mexico’s Holloman Aerospace Medical Center. He was the first Hominidae to voyage into outer space and launched from Cape Canaveral on January 31, 1961. Ham survived the journey and returned to Earth unharmed except for bruising on his nose.
In the early 20th century, authorities kept a closely judgmental eye on women’s swimwear. There were plenty of rules on the books concerning the length of bathing suits, and women were arrested when they wore swimwear that was deemed immodest. This photo was shot in 1922 and shows an officer enforcing the dress code along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.
Must Be Air Force
Here’s a military tradition for you: Whenever an aircraft erroneously landed on the wrong carrier, the Navy would tag the plane with a bit of graffiti. Different branches of the military have always seemed to carry rivalries of their own, lending to the “Must Be Air Force” tag here.
Coca-Cola, New To France
“Yank friendliness comes to the Eiffel Tower,” read Coca-Cola’s marketing materials promoting the soft drink that was being sold in France for the first time officially. It had been available in the country before but never distributed by licensed vendors until the 1950s, several years after World War II ended.
Bananas, New To Norway
This 1905 photo shows one of the first batches of bananas being delivered to Norway. The load of crates and boxes weighed 3,000 kilograms. The long, yellow fruit that we pick up at the grocery store today was once new to some, thanks to the advent of global trade.
The Titanic Disaster
Edward John Parfett is pictured here selling newspapers announcing the Titanic‘s tragic fate. He was 15 years old and standing outside the London offices of White Star Line, the ship’s owner. The photo was taken on April 16, 1912, the day after the ocean liner hit an iceberg and took 1,500 lives as it sank into the sea.
Before He Was The King
Elvis Presley joined the United States Army in Memphis, Tennessee, in March 1958. He spent three days at the Fort Chaffee station in Arkansas before leaving active duty in New Jersey in 1960. He completed an 18-month stint in Germany and was discharged from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964.
A Tower Of Barrels
The Prohibition era of the United States remains among our most confusing efforts to get it together. From 1920 to 1933, authorities confiscated liquor in packages big and small. Towers of barrels like this one were assembled and set on fire for disposal. The repeal of Prohibition brought a collective sigh of relief from many Americans.