40 Historical Photos That Give Insight Into The Past

Published 4 months ago

Have you ever found yourself drawn more to old photographs than to written history? It turns out there’s a scientific reason behind it. Our brains process images a whopping 60,000 times faster than text, making visual stimuli much more engaging and easier to absorb. That’s why flipping through a volume of World History might feel less captivating without accompanying photographs. Fortunately, online communities like Historical Pictures offer a solution. 

This Facebook group serves as a treasure trove of fascinating images from the past, allowing us to explore and learn about our history and planet in a visually compelling way. With the group’s motto of “Going back to the past. Exploring Earth’s true history,” let’s embark on a journey through time together. 

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#1 A group of kids had arranged to care and feed the dog after the owner had died, England 1936.

Image source: Արո Զադոյան

#2 Jesse Owens breaking the World record 200 – meter race at the 1936 Olympic Games of Berlin

Image source: Mourad Hm

#3 The 3,000 men who helped build the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City pose for a photo near the end of the constructional work, Aug 19, 1964.

Image source: Shisa Printables

#4 One of the first-known photographs of Niagara Falls captured by British chemist Hugh Lee Pattinson in 1840, sits within a glass case at the National Gallery of Art.

Image source: Dave Bennison

#5 Mt St Helens erupeted 40 years ago today. The photo was taken by Richard Lasher who did survive. Nobody knows what happened to the Pinto or the Yamaha.

Image source: Steve Michaels

#6 Chicago. August 4, 1948.

Image source: L. Donsky-Levine

This photo originally published in the Vidette-Messenger of Valparaiso, IN, tells a tragically heart-breaking, yet all too familiar story about Chalifoux family and the trials and tribulations surrounding poverty. Well … that’s what the original caption wanted the reader to think. Facing eviction from their apartment, the jobless couple decided to sell their four children ranging in age from two to six. The mother posted a sign in the front yard and waited for buyers while Lana, Rae Ann, Milton, and Sue Ellen just sat on the steps oblivious that their fate was about to spiral out of control. According to several articles I read regarding this photo, It seems no one really knew whether the sign was up there for days, or years or just long enough for the camera to take its shot. Several family members even stated that the mother was paid to stage the whole thing. Regardless, within days newspapers across the country picked up the photo and job offers and financial help poured in. But that didn’t change the inevitable. Rae Ann was sold and sexually abused. Milton went to live on a farm with John and Ruth Zoeteman who beat him daily, tied him up and worked as a slave. Lana’s life remained a mystery to the other siblings. She died in 1998 of cancer. Unlike the others, Sue Ellen was adopted legitimately and seemed to fare better than the others. Years later and well into their sixties and seventies, sisters Rae Ann and Sue Ellen found each other and were telling their version about what actually happened to them. “I was sold for $2.00 so my mother could have bingo money,” claimed Rae Ann, “and because the man she was dating wanted nothing to do us,” Sue Ellen’s response about her birth mother, “she needs to be in hell burning.”

#7 One of the most evocative photos.

Image source: Max Šesto

#8 Milano 1972

Image source: Numidia

#9 A streetcar conductor in Seattle not allowing passengers aboard without a mask during the Spanish Flu pandemic, 1918.

Image source: Mourad Hm

#10 19 year-old Shigeki Tanaka was a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and he then went onto win the 1951 Boston Marathon. The crowd was silent.

Image source: Adam Halawa

#11 The return of a German soldier from Soviet captivity. He was taken to the war when his son was 1 year old. Germany. 1956

Image source: Grigory Sarkisov

#12 The original Moulin Rouge the year before it burned down in Paris , 1914 . Photograph Albert Kahn

Image source: Adam Halawa

#13 Swinging London, late 60s.

Image source: Stefan Bülck

#14 Teenagers of the 50th years of the last century. Feel the difference.

Image source: Grigory Sarkisov

#15 Beach Volleyball , Venice Beach CA June 1934

Image source: Adam Halawa

#16 Signing off, 1934

Image source: Sim Ang Mon

#17 Austrian Boy Receives New Shoes During WWII.

Image source: Adam Halawa

#18 In 1941, Slovenian Albina Mali-Hočevar joined the People’s Liberation Movement at the age of 16. She was wounded twice as a resistance fighter at the age of 17. For the remainder of the war, she worked as a nurse.

Image source: Amila Prasanna

#19 Native Americans photographed by , Roland W. Reed between 1907 and 1913

Image source: Mourad Hm

#20 A farmer paints stripes on her cow to increase its visibility at night and prevent car accidents should it wander onto the road during blackout conditions.

Image source: Alp Emeç

#21 This is probably the most famous photograph of Józef Kudelka. Until 1968, the photographer did not photograph news events. Everything changed on the night of August 21. In the midst of the turmoil of the Soviet invasion, he took a series of photographs that were miraculously smuggled out of Czechoslovakia. In this image, his hand shows the time when Soviet tanks began to invade Prague.

Image source: Ella Tomaszewski

#22 Unpacking the Statue of Liberty. New York City. 1885. The colossal assemblage of 350 Neoclassical pieces, gifted by the people of France, took workers four months to put together.

Image source: L. Donsky-Levine

#23 A woman tests a stroller intended to be resistant to gas attacks in Hextable , England in 1938 , not long before the outbreak of World War II

Image source: Adam Halawa

#24 Morning walk on the Brooklyn bridge , New-York , 1905

Image source: Mourad Hm

#25 Young girl Kiowa tribe , Oklahoma , 1894

Image source: Mourad Hm

#26 U.S. cavalry soldiers pose in front of a sequoia in Yosemite known as “Grizzly Giant,” in 1900. This tree still stands today.

Image source: Sujit Samajpati

#27 Social distancing from 1953. A child with measles sits and eats alone during a Coronation party in Chelsea, England.

Image source: Shisa Printables

#28 A fleet of Concordes at London Heathrow Airport, 1986

Image source: Robert Lordan

#29 Two widows gathered for Martin Luther King’s funeral, April 1968

Image source: Grigory Sarkisov

#30 View of the St-Lawrence River from Québec City in the 1800’s

Image source: Photos Historiques du Québec

#31 The Picture shows a photographer taking a Picture of New-York City streets , 1925.

Image source: Mourad Hm

#32 The U.S. military inspects a collection of works of art collected by Hermann Goering, 1945

Image source: Grigory Sarkisov

#33 Child labor strike in Philadelphia, 1902

Image source: Khaled Mohamed Fouad

#34 An exotic dancer demonstrates that her underwear was too large to have exposed herself, after undercover police officers arrested her in Florida! 1983

Image source: Adam Halawa

#35 New York City. 1957. A Llama in Times Square.

Image source: Biniam Hirut

#36 Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, left, explores the completed tower with a friend, 1889.

Image source: Nika Danelia

#37 Aircraft tester George Aird barely escapes death by launching sideways from his plane (1962). Aird fell through a nursery on his way down, breaking both legs.

Image source: Alfred T. Talamantes

#38 Ostrich reads the newspaper of the caretaker. Nationaal Archief 1951.

Image source: Adam Halawa

#39 England – France 2-0 World Cup 1920 Dick Kerr Ladies Football Team , Preston , 28 May 1920.

Image source: Adam Halawa

The team captains of England and France exchange a goodwill kiss before the game in Preston .
Photo ~ Het Leven / Fotograaf onbeken

#40 Life in the Texas Dust Bowl, 1935. A dust storm gets ready to engulf everything in its path.

Image source: Shisa Printables

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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