20 Rare Historic Photos That You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

History can sometimes get a bit dry and a bit dull- as a history student myself, I would know. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in the long list of names and dates, and you wonder why anyone would want to study it at all. However, the truth is history can be full of crazy things that you wouldn’t even believe, things that bring it truly to life. And in the world of historical sources, there are no sources that bring history to life than photographs.

Photographs can capture moments in time that would have otherwise been lost, and they not only show the event but the emotions of the people there too. That’s why we’ve brought together a list of 20 stunning photos that shine new light on historical events and show that maybe they aren’t as dull and distant as they seem. Some are funny, some are heartbreaking, and others will make you wonder why you’ve never seen them before. It is true what they say- a picture can tell a thousand words.

#1 Carving Eye On Mount Rushmore, 1930’s

Anyone know who this belongs to? I have no eye-dear!

#2 First Bananas In Norway

Bananas first arrived in Norway in 1905. Wonder how many people tried to eat them whole?

#3 Marilyn Monroe Filming Her Ironic Scene FromThe Seven Year Itch

This shot was taken in 1954, and this particular scene was filmed in New York in front of a large crowd to create hype about the movie. It seems there were always publicity stunts, even in the past.

#4 Titanic Survivors Boarding The Carpathia, 1912

This is the image of people being rescued by the first ship to respond. The Titanic has since become the most famous ship disaster, claiming the lives of 1503 people.

#5 A Mother Shows A Picture Of Her Son To A Returning Prisoner Of War, 1947

We can only hope she found him.

#6 Wounded Combat Dog Being Treated

This dog was wounded in the Orote Peninsula in 1944 in the midst of fighting. What a good boy!

#7 The Last Public Execution In France By Guillotine

This only happened in 1939, less than 80 years ago.

#8 A Young Winston Churchill

This was taken in 1895 when Winston was serving in the cavalry in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. He would go on to serve in countries all over the world before he became the famous politician we all know today.

#9 A German Child Meets her Father As He Comes Home After WW2

This young girl hadn’t seen her father since she was a year old. The twist in the tale? This was taken in 1956- 11 years after the war ended.

#10 Dorothy Counts, The First Black Girl To Attend An All-White School In The United States – Being Teased And Taunted By Her White Male Peers At Charlotte’s Harry Harding High School

This picture was taken in 1957, and I don’t know how she’s resisting the urge to tell those boys to shut up.

#11 One Man Refuses To Do The Nazi Salute, 1936

A pure act of silent resistance.

#12 Harold Whittles Hearing Sound For The First Time, 1974

Just look at his face!

#13 First Morning After Sweden Changed From Driving On The Left Side To Driving On The Right, 1967

This would eventually work… just not then.

#14 German Soldiers Watching footage From Concentration Camps, 1945

The horrified expressions on their faces say it all.

#15 Job Hunting in the 1930’s

This was during the era of the Great Depression. Sometimes this was all people could do to try and get work.

#16 Acrobats Balancing On The Empire State Building, 1934

Anyone else scared just looking at this?

#17 Evelyn Mchale After She Leapt To Her Death From The Empire State Building, 1947

An image as tragic as it is strangely beautiful.

#18 Lesbian Couple At Le Monocle, Paris 1932

For anyone who thinks being gay is just a ‘modern thing.’

#19 Residents of West Berlin Show Their Children To Their Grandparents On The East Side, 1961

This shows just how the wall divided families, not just a nation.

#20 The Remains Of The Astronaut Vladimir Komarov, 1967

The astronaut sadly died when his parachute didn’t open, and he fell from space. Not a nice way to go…


#15 An Exotic Dancer Demonstrates That Her Underwear Was Too Large To Have Exposed Herself, After Undercover Police Officers Arrested Her In Florida

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