Back before photos, the world could only see other parts of the world through drawings or paintings. The majority of people lived their entire lives without ever having had their appearance, or their day-to-day world, recorded.
Since the first photograph was taken in the late 1820s, history has been captured far more accurately than ever before. Now we can actually see history as it happened and connect with the past in ways that were impossible for most of human existence.
Not only are these historical photos notable for being incredibly rare and fascinating, they will also change the way you look at famous moments of the past. Take a look!
1. American soldiers on their way home from World War II, 1945. One could only imagine the excitement that was held on board that ship, with thousands of men eager to return to their loved ones.
2. An early version of a telephone tower, Stockholm, 1890. As you can see, the wires leading from the tower were numerous. Imagine looking up in your city to see so many phone wires?
3. A Parisian model in 1920 reads the paper. Paris has been the center of fashion for ages, and her outfit is a reflection of that. Can you imagine walking down the street in those shoes?
4. A model poses in the back of a car in 1971. Her outfit and bob are very trendy for the time period, with clunky heels and short shorts in vogue for the decade.
5. 400,000 people attended the historic Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. People from all over the country flocked to the dairy farm for days filled with music, partying, and free love.
6. Some intense filming on a historic sports car. The only thing scarier than driving a car that fast would be lying backwards on its hood with a camera in your hands!
7. 18,000 officers and men formed the Human Statue of Liberty in Des Moines, Iowa in 1918. The photo was taken as part of a campaign to sell war bonds during the first world war.
8. A science teacher demonstrates the physics of surfing in California, 1970. With groups like the Beach Boys entering pop culture in the 1960s, surfing and California culture became all the rage with youths in America.
9. Figure skaters wave to the crowd in 1976. Dorothy Hamill (and her iconic haircut!) captured the hearts of Americans when she won the gold at the Olympics that winter.
10. Not all of war is marked by battles or violence. This photo shows Russian sailors posing for a picture with a napping kitten in 1941.
11. Girls pose for a photo in their old-fashioned bathing suits, 1928.
12. Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot go for a stroll, 1968.
13. The Venice Canals being drained and cleaned, 1956.
14. This is what was known as a “Baby Race” in 1946
15. Women from Burma arrive in America, 1935.
16. A young child plays with an abandoned tank, 1991.
17. This little girl is getting a ride from her pet alligator.
18. Soviet children play a game of basketball, 1957.
19. Nikola Tesla sits with a girl on the beach, 1900.
20. A crying baby sits looking at the wreckage of a Chinese airstrike on Japan, 1937.
21. A soldier feeds a hungry kitten, 1917.
22. A dog holds onto his tiny owner, 1920.
23. Swimmers dive into the River Thames, 1934.
24. Bruce Lee receiving his training, 1955.
Flowers outside Buckingham Palace, 1997.
26. The Golden Gate Bridge in the middle of its construction, 1935.
27. Dutch toddlers, 1910.
28. A statue in the early years of the Soviet Union, 1925.
29. How many people can fit in a telephone booth? This many (1959).
30. German children build a wall, 1961.
31. The A-bomb going off in Nagasaki, 1945.
32. Little French boys, 1962.
33. A snow-covered child comes inside, 1960.
34. This is one heck of a library (1874)
35. A little girl selects a balloon, Berlin, 1935.
36. This tool was supposed to treat heart problems somehow (1852).
37. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon filming Some Like It Hot in 1958.
38. A Russian soldier says goodbye to his daughter, 1938.
39. Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins talk on a plane, 1962.
40. A pair of Washington D.C. women give their ducks a bath, 1927.
41. Soldiers in Poland take a nap with their new puppy, 1945.
42. Bob Dylan and John Lennon chat, 1965.
43. John Lennon recording at Abbey Road, 1965.
44. Hitler stands in a crowd following the announcement of World War I, 1914.
45. In 1985, this magazine attempted to guess what Michael Jackson would look like in the year 2000.
46. A man riding his bike down the Eiffel Tour, 1923.
47. Soviet snowmobiles, 1983.
48. Santas prepare themselves for the holiday season, 1961.
49. Harry Houdini posing for a photo, 1899.
50. Mermaid extras wave for a photo during the filming of Peter Pan, 1924.
51. A Native American woman is photographed in 1926.
52. The “world’s smallest store,” London, 1900.
53. Two badass babies.
54. Roman Polanski and Johnny Depp on the set of The Ninth Gate, 1998.
55. Survivors of the Titanic, 1912.
56. A gas mask for a child.
57. Albert Einstein poses with Native Americans, 1922.
58. The bunker where Hitler killed himself.
59. A battleship runs aground during WWII.
60. Photos just before and after Ghandi’s assassination, 1948.
61. Ernest Hemingway sits in a bathtub, 1922.
62. Lenin and Stalin pose for a photo, 1922.
63. Bill Clinton, age four, 1950.
64. Vladimir Putin in his younger years, 1970.
65. Lumberjacks stop for a picture next to several felled California Redwood trees.
66. Here are a couple of gentlemen testing out a bulletproof vest. The one on the left is lucky that his buddy’s aim is on point. Guns were much less accurate many years ago, and one slip of the wrist could have had a disastrous result.
67. Everyone knows the lion that roars at the beginning of every movie that MGM produces, but very few people have ever seen the behind-the-scenes footage of how workers captured it. These photographers needed to be very careful during the process.
68. This is a classic picture of the Hindenburg disaster. A enormous German zeppelin was carrying 97 passengers on board when suddenly the flammable gas that filled the blimp burst into flames and sent the airship crashing down to land.
69. In 1895, a train in Paris overran its buffer stop due to the conductor trying to make up for lost time. He was traveling too fast, and the train crashed through the side of the building and spilled onto the street below.
70. This rare photo shows a group of Vietnamese men swimming out to sea to capture an airman that had crashed his plane. The airman is John McCain, the current United States Senator and former Republican nominee for the 2008 presidential elections.
The past really is fascinating. These pictures are the closest thing to time travel we’ll ever experience!
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