Reading a textbook or listening to a lecture is one way to learn about history. But there’s something about looking at a photograph taken decades ago that will give you a better perspective of what life was like back in the golden days. In some instances, these historical photos will make you wish you could turn back time. But other times, they will make you wish you could rewrite history and avoid these events all together. But whichever way these photos make you feel, one thing you won’t need is a time machine to appreciate the past.
Size of the Donut Hole
This guy was photographed holding a chart that documented the size of the donut hole over the years. In 1927, the hole was visibly larger. In fact, it looked more like an onion ring than a donut. But by 1936 and 1948, the hole had shrunk significantly. The hole shrinkage is reportedly the result of donut machines punching smaller holes. But eventually, they became the standard size that donut shops model these tasty treats after.
Governor Bill Clinton’s Cat
Socks the cat, also known as the “First Pet” when Governor Bill Clinton won the United States Presidential Election in 1992, can be seen surrounded by paparazzi in Arkansas. Unlike some cats, Socks was a major celebrity. Not only was he featured on the kid’s version of the White House website, but he had his own video game. So naturally, he couldn’t take a stroll out in Clinton’s hometown without being mobbed by the paparazzi.
Jean Bugatti Standing with the Bugatti Type 41 Royale Esders Roadster
This colorized photo of Jean Bugatti was taken in 1932. He was standing next to the Bugatti Type 41 Royal Esders Roadster. The vehicle was one of his father’s Ettore Bugatti’s ingenuities. The elder Bugatti thought he was going to make a ton of money selling this model car to high-end clients like European royals. But the Great Depression hit hard and even royals couldn’t afford to invest in such a model. So, only 7 Type 41 vehicles were built instead of the intended 25.
Long before Barbara Walters made a name for herself as a major 20th-century journalist, she was just an English student at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, but she had the potential. This photo from 1949 shows her hard at work. She eventually earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1951 and moved to New York to work for an ad agency. Then she landed a job at an NBC affiliate and produced programs for the network before hopping to CBS in 1955. From there, the rest was history.
This 4,850-Year-Old California Bristlecone Pine Tree
This 4,850-year-old bristlecone pine tree in California was just a seedling when it was planted in 2,833 BC, and it’s still around. But how did it manage to survive this long? Robert Mohlenbrock, a professor of botany has an idea. "Any organism that lived longer than the norm had to have optimal conditions going for it … that would mean moderate temperatures, shelter from extreme weather, and plenty of moisture and nutrients."
A Beggar Running by King George V’s Carriage
Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V ruled England from 1910 until 1936. During that time, the King witnessed the struggles his people had to endure as a result of World War I. In this photo, a beggar was photographed with his hat out begging for money as he ran side by side with King George V’s carriage. But judging from this photograph alone, it doesn’t seem like the King or anyone else onboard even acknowledged the man who was down on his luck.
Jewish Boy Surrendering to the Nazis
This photo taken in 1943 shows a young Jewish boy with his hands. up The fear in his eyes was evident as he surrendered to the Nazi forces in a neighborhood in Warsaw. Although the resistance movement had put up a good fight, they were unable to defeat the Nazi's impressive arsenal. As a result, over 50,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps where they faced unspeakable horrors or were executed right away.
14-Year-Old Future Queen Elizabeth
Long before she became the Queen of England, Elizabeth was a princess, and in this photo, she appears to be nothing more than a 14-year-old teenage girl who is very grumpy. But even at that age, she showed she was a true leader. In fact, Liz did a radio broadcast in 1940 to discuss kids who were affected by blitzkrieg, an intense military campaign intended to bring out an end to the war. "We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well."
Jonathan the Turtle Before and After
The photo on the left was taken in 1902, and it showed Jonathan the Aldabra turtle when he was just a tiny thing, but he was actually born in 1832. Now the photo on the right was taken in 2017. That’s 115 years later. This made Jonathan 188 years old at the time the second photo was taken. That’s a pretty huge accomplishment given that the average lifespan of an Aldabra turtle this size is about 150 years. Unfortunately, he hasn’t produced any offspring, so he may be the last member of his family line unless he has brothers and sisters.
Kids Voicing the “Peanuts” Characters
This photo taken in the 1960s shows the kids at a sound studio voicing the “Peanuts” characters. The show’s creator, Charles Schultz, felt that hiring kids to do the voices was the best way to go. But voice actor Todd Barbee told the Huffington Post that there was one time when an adult was needed for one epic scene. "One time they wanted me to voice that ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGG’... Try as I might, I just couldn’t generate... so after something like 25 takes, we moved on... I think they eventually got an adult or a kid with an older voice to do that one take."
Troops Storming the Normandy Beaches
On June 6, 1944, 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops raced across the Normandy beaches to launch one of the biggest assaults in history. Their mission was to free northern France from the Nazis. So, they stormed the area and took out any enemy in sight. Many lives were lost on both sides, but the combined forces completed their mission. A year later, World War II finally came to an end.
The World’s Tallest Man
Robert Wadlow of Alton, Illinois, is said to be the tallest person in human history, and it’s easy to see why from this photo. Just look at how long his legs are. They probably had to put two beds together so he could sleep on it. He also dwarfed the average sized human sitting next to him. Wadlow was nicknamed the Giant of Illinois because he was 8-foot, 11-inches tall. Unfortunately, his lifespan wasn’t as long. He was born in 1918 but passed away in 1940.
19th Century Tree Workers
These professional tree workers were photographed standing on the very top of each branch and posing for the camera. While this might seem dangerous, and it was, it was perfectly normal to see men climbing to the top of the trees and pruning them in the 1800s. This reportedly promoted the tree’s growth. But it’s no wonder that they needed so many workers given the size of that tree in front of the house.
90-Year-Old Czech Woman Paints Artwork on Houses
Anežka Kašpárková spent the later part of her life painting murals outside of homes, and by later part, we mean when she was 90. After retiring from her job in agriculture, Kašpárková started gracing the Czech village of Louka with her amazing murals, but don’t call her an artist. "I’m just doing what I like. I try to help decorate the world a bit. I am not an artist. I just do what I like," she claimed.
17-Year-Old Survives Plane Crash, 1971
In 1971, a freak lightning bolt struck the airplane Juliane Koepcke was on. This caused the aircraft to crash, but fortunately, 17-year-old Koepcke got sucked out of the plane. Fortunately, she was still strapped to the seat when she landed in a jungle in the Amazon. It took 11 days for forest workers to find her and it turns out that she had survived all that time by munching on a bag full of candies.
A Man Looking for Work During The Great Depression, 1930s
People these days will never appreciate how lucky they are to have job sites like Monster.com. In 1929, the stock market crash. This led to The Great Depression of the 1930s, which compromised the workforce and made it very difficult for common folks to make a living. In this photo, this man is essentially advertising himself by wearing a sign on his back detailing the languages he spoke, the trades he had, and how many children he had to feed.
The Hindenburg Disaster, 1937
On May 6, 1937, a photographer captured the 804-foot long LZ 129 Hindenburg airship as it burst into flame shortly before it was about to take off from the New Jersey Naval Air Station. Sadly, 36 people were killed during the incident which became known as one of the worst catastrophes in the world. Before the fire, it was considered the pride and joy of Nazi Germany.
Albert Einstein and David Rothman, 1939
Albert Einstein was a theoretical scientist and a genius who was decades ahead of his time. In this photo from 1939, he was sitting on a beach rock next to David Rothman, a local department store owner. Although the men led different career paths, they became friends after Einstein walked into Rothman’s store asking for a pair of “sundahls,” which the store owner misunderstood as sundials because of the scientist’s accent. It turns out that Einstein was looking for sandals. The two eventually cleared things up, laughed about it and became friends. They also reported formed a band, too.
Macy’s Night Watchdog, 1954
This 1954 photo shows that Macy’s hired ferocious looking dogs to roam around their store to keep an eye on things and ensure that no thieves tried to steal their merchandise. They were considered just as valuable as human security guards and even more so because dogs have a sense of hearing and smell that people lack. This gives them the ability to detect an intruder or intruders. It’s why Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds were the breed of choice to look after their store.
The First Siemens Vacuum Cleaner
Taken in 1906 is this photo of a housekeeper using the very first Siemens vacuum cleaner in Germany. Just look at how big the first model was back in the day. Of course, it was originally called dedusting pumps before it became known as a vacuum cleaner. This model had a one horsepower engine and weighed approximately 660 pounds. Today’s machines are not only small enough to fit inside a closet but they are a lot lighter than they used to be.
New York Nurses with Triplets, 1946
This photo taken in 1946 shows a man fainting into the arms of another man. Why? Because three New York nurses have just presented him with triplets. This was a shock to both the mother and the father since ultrasounds didn’t exist back in the day. The nurses seem absolutely delighted by the father’s reaction. Hopefully he recovered from the shock and realized that three times or in this case, triplets are the charm.
A Boy Reading in a London Bookshop After Heavy Bombing
This British boy was photographed in 1940, and he clearly loved to read at this London bookshop. Perhaps he was simply distracting himself from the fact that the area had experienced heavy bombing the night before. This was actually pretty common during World War II. In fact, 23,000 British folks were killed by Nazi forces in 1940. The bookstore in this photograph had clearly suffered heavy damage from one of the many blasts.
The Red Telephone Box Cemetery
Although red telephone boxes are still available in tourist spots in the United Kingdom, most of these outdated boxes have gone the way of the dinosaur with the invention of cellphones. So, where did all the telephone boxes go? They were sent to storage spaces in small English villages. Dump sites like the one in Carlton Miniott village have been appropriately dubbed phone box cemetery. But there is life after death for some of these phone boxes as artists tend to pick them up for their own personal use.
A Steelworker on Top of the Empire State Building, 1930
Working on top of the Empire State Building in 1930 was not for the faint of heart, especially for those who could literally faint if they were terrified of heights. This man was photographed sitting on two wooden planks high above the streets of Manhattan. And photographer Lewis Hine had to stand on a specially formulated basket that swung 1,000 feet above Fifth Avenue to snap this photo of the epic skyscraper’s construction.
Rabbit Tail of the Shoshone Tribe, 1895
Rabbit Tail was a member of the Shoshone tribe, a group of Native Americans who found themselves displaced by Americans in the 19th century. Despite this, the tribe and the United States joined forces in 1878 for the Battle of the Rosebud. Rabbit Tail and other members of his tribe became US Army Scout specializing in military group intel as well as following their enemy’s horse tracks.
John Candy, Tom Hanks, Eugene Levy and Daryl Hannah, 1984
The 1984 film “Splash” starred Daryl Hannah as a mermaid who falls in love with Tom Hanks’ character. John Candy played Hanks’ brother while Eugene Levy played the researcher looking to capture and study Hannah’s fishy character. Hannah claimed: "My circulation would be gone in my extremities, so it took a while before I could walk again. It made me very sympathetic to fish! I remember when I was filming the scene in the lab tank I was very upset about a big fish that was being kept in a smaller tank."
The 2nd Grade Lion Cub, 1951
Every child deserves an education, even lion cubs apparently. Kyla the cub was hosted by Stuart Hansen and his wife at home. Soon, people started making excuses to visit the Hansens just to take a look at Kyla. According to the Garden City Telegram, the cub eventually made appearances at local schools. In this photo, taken in 1951, little Kyla was laying over her desk at this second grade classroom in Garden City, Kansas.
A Line Outside Al Capone’s Soup Kitchen in Chicago
Al Capone was known as a notorious mob boss, but he knew how to take care of his community. This photo from 1931 shows people lining up outside of his free soup kitchen in Chicago. Capone had established this food bank and shelter during the Great Depression to help the poor and those who were unemployed and in need of three basic meals during the harsh winter months. But while some argued that this was all a stunt to cover his true nature, his soup kitchen did help people out.
Cop Stopping Traffic for a Momma Cat
This photo from 1925 shows a New York City cop stopping traffic for a momma cat who was attempting to cross the street with her kitten while bystanders look on. The cop in the photo had a big smile on his face because he was used to stopping traffic to help human pedestrians cross the street, but this was the first time he was helping a member of the feline community. Ironically, photographer Harry Warnecke missed the moment this actually happened, so the cop and the cat recreated the entire scene just for him.
A Young and Handsome Walt Disney in the 1920s
Long before he became the founder of the happiest place on Earth, a young Walt Disney was photographed in the 1920s on one of his early projects—Laugh-O-Grams. The project involved plays that put a modern spin on fairy tales at the Newman Theater in Kansas City. Then in 1923, Disney joined his brother Roy in Hollywood in the hopes of selling a reel film version of “Alice in Wonderland.” A few years later, he created Mickey Mouse and the rest is history.
The Vespa 150 TAP
The Italian Vespa 150 TAP was intended to be nothing more than a scooter, but during wartime, it underwent an interesting retrofit courtesy of French troops. An M20 75 mm recoilless rifle was placed in a hole made in the vehicle’s leg shield. But while this might have seemed like a great war vehicle to ride on, the rifle made the Vespa heavier and difficult to balance while out on the road.
Steve McQueen Driving His 1956 Jaguar
Famous Hollywood actor Steve McQueen was photographed in 1960s driving his 1956 Jaguar F-Type Convertible. This model Jaguar was considered a pretty big deal back in the day because it was a rare commodity. McQueen also had a reputation of putting the pedal to the metal, which resulted in a lot of traffic tickets. But his love for this Jaguar might have been the influence of his role as police lieutenant Frank Bullitt in the 1968 film “Bullitt,” which featured him driving a sportscar.
The Baroque Library in Prague
The Baroque Library based in Klementinum in Prague, Czechia is a part of a series of buildings that host the City Library, as well as technical and university libraries. It’s considered one of the most impressive tourist attractions in Prague and houses over 20,000 books. The library was opened in 1722 and was originally a part of the Jesuit University. This is why guests are welcomed by impressive architecture and ceilings full of frescoes.
Actress Jessica Tandy in 1943
Jessica Tandy is best known for her work in films like “Cocoon,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.” These roles were performed at a later stage of her life. So, some fans might not recognize her in this photo from 1943. Tandy dipped her toes in the acting pool at a London stage when she was only 18. Once she had mastered her craft on stage, she moved on to performing in radio and movies.
A Birds Eye View of the Faroe Islands
In between the countries of Iceland and Norway are the scenic Faroe Islands. The inhabitants on this self-governing archipelago are Nordic and speak a language derived from Old Norse known as Faroes, but they also speak Danish, too. Those fortunate enough to visit the Faroe Islands not only come to enjoy the rock formations and the view of the ocean, but also the seafood and the beer that they brew here.
Woman Riding a Chairlift in Jackson, Wyoming
This woman was photographed riding a chairlift at the Snow King Mountain Resort in Jackson, Wyoming. This was the first chairlift of its kind installed in Wyoming. At the time, it was considered a huge convenience over riding a traditional ore bucket. And while safety harnesses and seat belts didn’t seem to be a high priority back then, this woman’s expression suggests that she wasn’t too worried about falling to her doom.
Marilyn Monroe Chilling at Home
Marilyn Monroe was a famous model, singer and actress in the 1950s and early 1960s, who also had ties to major celebrities like John F. Kennedy. In fact, her claim to fame was taking on comedic roles in films and she was also a blonde bombshell. So, it’s no surprise that she looked like a gorgeous supermodel even in this 1951 photo that shows her reading a magazine while chilling at home in her bed.
Men Protesting a Beer Ban
From 1920 to 1933, the government declared that it was illegal to produce, import, transport or even sell beer and other types of liquor. But men weren’t willing to take this prohibition of alcohol lying down. So, they took to the streets with huge signs that read “We Want Beer” and started protesting. But people were so desperate for some alcohol that they resorted to buying some at the black market at a higher cost than what was priced on the shelves before the prohibition went into effect.
A Stone Carving Outside of Notre Dame
Taken in 1910 is a photo of one of the stone gargoyles sitting on top of Notre Dame de Paris. The famous cathedral was built in 1163 and these gargoyles were designed to act as a drainage system to prevent rain water from collecting on the rooftop. And Michael Camille, an art historian, shared their thoughts on the gargoyles and why they had to be replaced. "On medieval churches gargoyles rotted so quickly, if they did their job properly and carried off the water, that only a century or so after they were made they had to be replaced."
Biker Chicks in 1949
This photo was taken my Loomis Dean for LIFE magazine in 1949 and it was mind blowing for that time period because it showed three gorgeous lady bikers leading a motorcycle convoy, while the men rode behind them. Then again, women had already been making huge leaps forwards in breaking stereotypes when they entered the workforce during World War II. This photo was simply icing on the cake in the endeavor of proving that women could do anything.
An Algerian Woman from the Ouled Naïl Tribe
This tribal woman from Algeria was photographed in 1905, and some say that her people may have descended from ancient Arabian tribes. But it’s not known where the Ouled Naïl Tribe originally came from as their history is passed on orally among their kind. What is known about them is that they are traders who often trade and buy supplies by traveling to the Algerian capital of Djelfa Province.
Former French actress and singer Brigitte Bardot was photographed in 1953 at the beach when she was 19, but this wasn’t the first time she had posed for the camera. The model who often went by the nickname B.B., was on the cover of Elle magazine in 1952, which helped catapult her career even further. She was cast in films like “Crazy for Love,” “And God Created Woman,” and “Act of Love.” But she also gained recognition for being an animal rights activist. Today, Brigitte Bardot loves nothing more than spending every waking moment in the company of her beloved animals.
George Harrison and Stevie Nicks
It’s no surprise that Stevie Nicks was pictured with musician George Harrison in this 1978 photograph. She was actually his muse and even helped him to write the song “Here Comes The Moon,” a year later. But in the book “George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door,” Nicks shared why she looked at this photo a lot. “There's lots of nights where you kind of go, I wish I didn't have to go on stage tonight, I'm tired, I don't feel like doing it, and I look at George Harrison and me and I go, well, you just have to, because it's important, it's important to make people happy...”
Theodor Geisel and His Dog Rex
Theodor Geisel is more popular by his pen name, Dr. Seuss. But this 1914 photo shows what Geisel was like when he was 10. And it turns out that he was just an adorable little boy with a dog named Rex. On occasion, he would lend a hand at the family brewery in Springfield, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the government mandated prohibition of alcohol of that time period forced the brewery to shut down.
Alfred Hitchcock and His Grandkids
Alfred Hitchcock was a director master of horrors who brought us amazing films like “Rear Window” in 1954, “Psycho” in 1960, and “The Birds” in 1963. But in this photo taken in 1960, we get to see a different side of Hitchcock as he and his grandkids enjoyed a fun sleigh ride in the snow. And it’s said that no matter how busy he got, he always made sure the kids all had some quality time with their grandpa.
A Fiji Native From 1895
18th century Europeans started coming across the island of Fiji in the South Pacific, and over the years, they would trade items like sandalwood and sea cucumbers. This man from Fiji was photographed in 1895, and it’s not surprising that he’s shirtless since living there is like being on vacation 24/7. The island’s inhabitants are known for canoe building and have an abundance of sugarcane, too.
Engineers Looking at a PDP Computer
Big clunky shoes and striped pants were just one of the many things that people today find fascinating about the ‘70s. Early technology is another thing that continues to captivate folks. In this photo from 1971, a group of engineers at a Digital Equipment Corporations (DEC) customer site gathered around a Programmed Data Processor (PDP) computer in California. The size of this massive wall computer versus today’s smaller technology reminds people just how far computers have advanced in only a few decades.
Shoe Shiners Gathered Around a Civil War Veteran
This photo taken in 1935 shows a group of young shoe shiners sitting on their stools around an elderly long bearded Civil War veteran. Shoe shiners were pretty much everywhere in the early 20th century. But while shoe shining was how these young men made a living, they didn’t seem to mind taking a break so they could hear everything about this man’s personal account of the American Civil War that lasted from April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865.
Harriet Tubman said: "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." Tubman escaped slavery in Maryland in 1849, but that didn’t stop her from putting her life on the line to help other slaves attain their freedom. She also worked for the Union Army as a nurse and a cook, too. But this photo was taken years later as she approached the end of her life in 1911.
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapsed
In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington fell victim to high winds and collapsed four months after a work crew completed it. Leonard Coatsworth, a crash survivor, shared what the experience with the Tacoma News Tribune on what the collapse was like: "Around me I could hear concrete cracking. I started back to the car to get the dog, but was thrown before I could reach it. The car itself began to slide from side to side on the roadway. I decided the bridge was breaking up and my only hope was to get back to shore..."
The Montparnasse Derailment in Paris
In 1895, the Granville-Paris Express was running behind schedule, so the conductor accelerated the train as it headed into the station. Then the air brake failed so the train crashed into the station’s wall. Sadly, one person died and six others were injured. But that’s a pretty low casualty rate considering there were 131 passengers. But the driver was fined 50 francs, which was the currency used in France at the time.
The Maryland House That Inspired Hollywood Horror
Ever heard of the 1999 horror classic “The Blair Witch Project” before? Well, those of you who have seen it will notice something awfully familiar about this house. This photo was taken in Burkittsville, Maryland. The tall, dead trees, fogginess, and overall abandoned look of this home is what inspired filmmakers to produce the creepy terror flick. Oddly enough, the area where the house is located in is said to be haunted by the restless spirits of Civil War soldiers.
18-Year-Old Madonna at the University of Michigan
You might know her as the Queen of Pop, but in this 1976 photo, she was Madonna Louise Ciccone was a brunette college student attending the University of Michigan to study dance. But after two years at the university, she decided to relocate to New York City where she continued to pursue her interest in dancing at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Four years later she made a name for herself in the music industry and her reign of power continues to reign supreme to this day.
The French Alps
Those mountains in the background might look like something that came out of the pages of J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings,” but they’re actually the breathtaking French Alps. From this photo, the mountains are towering over that farmhouse and road on the ground below. Whoever lives there undoubtedly spends a lot of time hiking, skiing and possibly yodeling in those mountains.
The Duke of York on a Slide
This photo taken in 1925 shows the Duke of York, aka King George VI, riding down a slide at the Wembley Exhibition, and he didn’t exactly look very happy. But maybe he was just bummed over the fact that he had given a long-winded speech which he stammered repeatedly through. This was, unfortunately, a recurring problem for the duke. Fortunately, his speech giving skills improved thanks to some much-needed assistance from a speech therapist named Lionel Logue.
Northern Ireland’s Dark Hedges
This photo was taken on a road by Northern Ireland’s Ballymoney town, which is home to the Dark Hedges. These beech trees have long twisted branches that create an archway over the road that attracts many travelers and amateur photographers. But if driving through the Dark Hedges frightens you, take comfort in knowing that there will be a handful of other people who will be just as intrigued and scared as you.
The Trees in Maine in the Fall
This photo taken in Maine shows the beautiful trees and bushes whose leaves have turned a reddish orange-y color during the fall season. This picture-perfect area looks like an oil painting and will undoubtedly put any red-blooded American in the mood for Thanksgiving. Maine is, of course, known for a couple of things like having the largest harvest of lobsters in the United States. They also have several lighthouses and haunted inns.
Mount St. Helens Eruption
On May 18, 1980, locals in Skamania County, Washington were stunned to discover that Mount St. Helens had come active. In fact, it was a rude awakening when the volcano erupted violently and the shockwave was so powerful that it blew tress in the area down. Then again, the area had been hit by a couple of earthquakes about two months before St. Helens erupted. The earthquake’s magnitude was 5.1 on the Richter scale and triggered a massive rockslide that cost over $1 billion in damages. The volcano had also been spewing steam.
Bob Hope, John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra
Bob Hope, John Wayne, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra were photographed in 1975 at an event designed to roast California Governor Ronald Reagan, who later went on to become the President of the United States. Unfortunately, the locals kept comparing Reagan to President Richard Nixon who had become infamous because of the Watergate scandal. But luckily, Reagan didn’t take it to heart and laughed at all the jokes his chums made about him.
Professional Wrestler Mildred Burke
No one would be surprised if a woman were to declare that she wanted to be a professional wrestler, but in the 1930s, it was a very big deal. Mildred Burke knew she wanted to become a professional wrestler when she was 18, and she reportedly got wrestling promoter Billy Wolfe to train her by body slamming his wrestlers. Eventually, she fell in love with Wolfe and married him. But her biggest accomplishment was wrestling over 200 men over the course of her career and winning. She only lost once.
Final Prisoners Leave Alcatraz
This photo taken in 1963 shows a row of inmates all filed in a single line as they prepare to leave Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The prison was said to be inescapable and was built that way for prisoners who were difficult and dangerous and impossible to handle at other, less secured prisons. Unfortunately, it cost more money to maintain than the government was willing to fork out, so after a 1962 escape attempt, authorities decided to shut the prison down for good and relocate the prisoners to other prisons.
A 1953 Hoover Ad
This Hoover ad from 1953 showed a woman on the floor admiring her Hoover vacuum cleaner. The ad also stated that “Christmas morning and forever after, she’ll be happier with a Hoover.” This pushed the misguided belief that women actually enjoyed housework while their husbands were at work. But in fairness to the advertisement team that came up with this idea, everything about the ad from the illustration to the wording undoubtedly convinced a couple of husbands to buy a Hoover for their wives.
Babies Sleeping Outside a Moscow Hospital
Putting babies outside on a harsh snowy winter might seem cruel and unusual, but this was quite common at maternity hospital in Russia. It came from an old tradition of wrapping young babies in hats and stockings and forcing them to face the reality of –10 degrees Fahrenheit weather conditions. Don’t worry though, because the babies were being monitored by the staff at this maternity hospital in 1958.
Russian Soldier Give Nursing Polar Bear Canned Milk
A Russian soldier who was patrolling the Chukchi Peninsula in 1980 was photographed helping a nursing polar bear by offering it condensed milk from a can. Clearly, this broke the stereotype that members of the Russian military were as chilly as the arctic weather because this soldier’s heart was full of warmth even in –40 degrees Fahrenheit. It should also be noted that Russian soldiers often did this for polar bears who licked the condensed milk and then fed their cubs.
Einstein and His Fuzzy Slippers
When people picture Albert Einstein in their heads, they imagine him holding a chalk in his hand as he wrote a bunch of equations on a chalkboard or in a lab with a bunch of flasks full of chemicals. So, given that he was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, it’s surprising to see this photo from the 1950s that show him casually sitting on a porch wearing comfortable fuzzy slippers.
Jimi Hendrix in the US Army
This photo of a then 19-year-old Jimi Hendrix was taken in 1961. Although he became one of the most influential electric guitarists in music history, he was in the US Army in his late teens to become a paratrooper. At the time, he had chosen to become a paratrooper to avoid getting sent to prison for stealing a car. But in a letter to his dad, Hendrix wrote: "There’s nothing but physical training and harassment here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school, that’s when you get hell. They work you to DEATH, fussing, and fighting."
1947 Labatt Brewing Co. Streamliner
Labatt’s Brewing Co., a Canadian business, wasn’t able to advertise their beer in magazines or signs because of the end of Prohibition in Ontario in 1927, which banned beer ads. So, they came up with this streamliner designed by an art and engineering guru named Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, who designed this streamliner to go around and spread the word about their famous beer brand.
Aircraft Crashing on a Farm
This young man, presumably a farmer, was on his tractor when he heard an odd noise. As he turned around, he noticed a pilot ejecting from an aircraft that was only moments away from nose diving into the ground. The photo was snapped seconds before disaster struck and the plane crashed. Luckily, the farmer wasn’t hurt and the pilot only suffered a few scrapes and bruises, but it could have been worse if he had crashed in a metropolitan area.
Browsing the Shelves at a Cincinnati Library
Cincinnati’s old main public library attracted scholars and book enthusiasts from 1875 to 1955. The man in this photo was standing on a cast-iron book alcove looking for a book. But the building also had other impressive features besides books such as checker marble floors and spiral staircases. Sadly, this library was demolished and exists only in those fortunate enough to witness its former glory through photographs like this one.
Female Lockheed Employee Working on a P-38 Lightning
No one would bat an eyelash if they saw a woman working on a plane, but in 1944, a female Lockheed employee working on a P-38 Lightning in California was practically unheard of. And yet, Lockheed was one of a handful of companies that hired women during World War II to supplement the workforce in the aeronautics industry. This eventually led to factories being open to employee incentives like daycare centers.
An Overhead Cradle on a Plane
Taken sometime in the 1950s was this photo of a baby laying comfortably in an overhead cradle aboard an airplane. And he didn’t appear to be causing any trouble unless of course you consider mesmerizing the stewardess with your cuteness trouble. Unfortunately, for a lot of parents these days, those cradles are no longer offered because overhead luggage and turbulence would put the child in serious danger.
Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese’s Mother
Martin Scorsese loved his mother so much that he put her in one of his greatest film achievements...“Goodfellas.” This was a huge plus for the cast because Momma Scorsese cooked meals for everyone on set. And it’s obvious from De Niro’s face that he truly enjoyed her Italian home cooking. During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Scorsese said: "My mother made a dish called chicken with lemon and garlic and if you go to Francis Coppola's restaurant he has it on the menu... It's pretty good, pretty close... It was delicious."
Painters on Top of the Woolworth Building
Taken in 1926 is this photograph of a team of painters high above the Woolworths building in New York City. The one perched on the very tip of the building next door is truly fearless. This just goes to show the people of today that folks back then did whatever they had to do to earn a living, even if it meant putting their lives on the line to do it. This paint crew sure wasn’t afraid of heights and put a whole lot of faith in their harness.
The Tree Growing Through a Piano
This photo of a tree growing through an old piano at California State University in Monterey, California, isn’t what it appears to be. The tree had always been there, but the old abandoned piano was cut in half and placed around the trunk. But who would go to so much trouble to create this illusion? That would be artist Jeff Mifflin. He wanted folks to imagine the sound the wind made through the trees whenever they saw this.
Cow Shoes in 1924
These cow shoes were an interesting fashion item in the 1920s, particularly 1924 when this photo was taken. It was worn by moonshiners during the prohibition days—the time when alcohol was forbidden by the government. Cow shoes had pieces of wood attached to the bottoms that left footprints similar to cow hoof prints. This allowed moonshiners to hide their tracks from cops while they broke the law and produced liquor for the public while bootleggers took an even bigger risk and distributed the formerly illegal substance.
The Hoover Dam’s Construction
Taken in 1934 is this photo of the Hoover Dam under construction. The project took five years to complete and cost $49 million at the time. But the idea of building a dam in the Black Canyon was talked about since the early 1900s. It just took a while for Congress to finally give the go-ahead for the project. This was a huge save for many Americans who were unemployed during the Great Depression as the project gave 5,251 people a job to do.
Just Divorced in 1934
Most people traditionally place a sign in the back of their car that reads “Just Married” after they get hitched to the person they love. But this guy proved that being happily divorced was a reason to celebrate too. So, in a time when ending a marriage was seen as a private matter, this guy was a rebel and posted not one but two cardboard signs that read “Just Divorced.” And clearly, he was very happy about the change in his relationship status.
A Shoe Shiner on Boulevard Du Temple
Take a look at the road down below, and you’ll see a shoe shiner from 1839 doing what he did best to earn a living by shining a customer’s shoes on Boulevard du Temple in Paris, France. French artist Louis Daguerre was responsible for what’s known as the first mirror-image photo—an early type of photography. This was a huge accomplishment since most people were shown in paintings only up until this moment. So naturally, Daguerre was classified as one of photography’s first fathers.
This is a more recent photo. It was taken in 2000 and showed two hippopotamus swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. It turns out that while hippos are generally found in swamps and rivers, they’re generally happy with any type of water as this photo proves. The person responsible for this image is Michael Nichols, an American journalist whose photo got Gabon President Omar Bongo to build a series of national parks for wild animals like hippos.
Nuit de Noël
In 1963, local photographer Malick Sidibe started using his camera to document the changes seen in Mali three years after the end of French colonial domination. One of those photos was of this lovely couple at dancing at ta West African club. At the time, Sidibe stated: “We were entering a new era, and people wanted to dance. Music freed us. Suddenly, young men could get close to young women, hold them in their hands. Before, it was not allowed. And everyone wanted to be photographed dancing up close.”
A Prisoner Tests a Safety Net
This might look like one of Santa’s elves testing out a sleigh without reindeer, but this 1958 photo was not as fun as it sounds. The man was actually a prisoner perched on this sled to see if the safety net was actually safe. If the outcome was good, then more of the nets would be produced. If not, the prisoner would go splat. While this might sound grim, capital punishment was fairly common throughout the United States and prison authorities had no issues using death row inmates for these dangerous tests since they were headed for the electric chair anyway.
Chinese Man Standing in Front of Military Tanks
This photo of a Chinese man stepping in front of a bunch of military tanks in Tiananmen Square was taken from the Beijing Hotel’s sixth-floor in 1989. The area the man was standing on was the sight of a horrible massacre that occurred a day earlier when Chinese troops attacked democracy demonstrators. To this day, no one knows the identity of the mysterious man who boldly stepped in front of the tanks, but he became a symbol of the resistance movement.
Earth from the Moon
On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 became the first manned mission to complete an orbit around the moon. The bold explorers aboard included Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. But just as their spacecraft curved from the far side of the moon, the astronauts saw the Earth from one of the windows. They were so mesmerized by the blue ball floating in space that they decided to snap this historic photo.
Working at a Cotton Mill
In 1908, investigative photographer Lewis Hine snapped this photo of a girl working at a cotton mill. At the time, no one realized that Hine was working for the National Child Labor Committee or that he wanted to shine a light on child labor. In fact, Hine had tricked his way into factories in states like South Carolina and Massachusetts to expose the truth about what really went on in these businesses in the hopes of making the world a better place.
The Babe Takes a Bow
Babe Ruth was one of the greatest players in baseball history. Unfortunately, he developed terminal cancer, but that didn’t stop him from making an appearance at the Yankee Stadium during the silver anniversary celebration on June 13, 1948. He wore his uniform and bowed out one last time. Ruth died two months after American photographer Nat Fein took this photo, but Fein won a Pulitzer Prize. This was the first time a sports photographer had ever earned a Pulitzer.
Mona Lisa of the Pacific Islands
In 1875, Dutch photographer Francisco Van Camp took a photograph of a woman at his studio in Manila. She became known as the “Mona Lisa of the Pacific Islands,” but her identity has remained a mystery. The only data that was available for this photo was a description claiming she was a “Mestiza de Sangley.” The term was coined during the Philippines’ Spanish colonial period and was used to refer to someone of Chinese descent.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Lion Mascot
In 1928, a photographer took this behind-the-scenes image of a film crew recording what became known as the lion mascot for Metro Goldwyn Mayer. So, the lion audiences see onscreen is actually a real lion. The beast in the photo was named Jackie from Sudan. The crew had to build a sound stage around the wild animal’s cage in order to record its roar. The footage was then used at the start of all MGM films from that point on.
99 Cents Store
This photo from 1999 shows row after row of an assortment of products at this 99 Cents Only store in Los Angeles, California. But don’t let this photo fool you. It’s not actually one photograph. The cameraman who snapped this actually took several photos and then used digital trickery to make it seem like one large photograph. But only a forensic photographer would be able to notice that this wasn’t snapped in just one shot.
American Athletes Raising Their Fists
American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in the air in this 1968 photos during the Olympics in Mexico. Smith was a gold medalist while Carlos was a bronze medalist, whose gestures were made during the national anthem to shatter the belief that there was equality in a time when there was hardly any. Carlos later stated: “We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat."
This photograph from 1960 is known as “Guerrillero Heroico” which translates to “Heroic Guerilla Fighter. The man in the beret is none other than Che Guevara, a prominent communist figure in the Cuban Revolution. After Guevara had lost his life in Bolivia, the Cuban regime used his face and this image in particular in print, soft drinks and protest art. And soon, this martyr became a symbol for resistance movement.
Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston
On May 25, 1965, Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer snapped a photo of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali taking his opponent Sonny Liston out in a boxing ring in Lewiston, Maine. “I was obviously in the right seat, but what matters is I didn’t miss,” Leifer was quoted saying. Ali was 23 at the time and had just beaten 34-year-old Liston a minute and 44 seconds into the first round.
Elvis Presley Getting a Haircut
This photo from March, 25, 1958 was historically epic because it was the day that Elvis Presley, aka the King of Rock N’ Roll, got his army buzz cut. Unfortunately, Elvis is no longer with us, but fans of the King can still get tickets to visit the Chaffee Barbershop Museum in Arkansas. The barbershop was pretty much preserved for posterity but the original barber chairs like the one Elvis sat on in this photo were sold for charity.
Miners Aboard an Aerial Tram
In this photograph from 1885, miners are seen using an aerial tram to descend into the Limberly Diamond Mine in South Africa. This particular mine was invaluable to the diamond mining industry in the Northern Cape province and had been opened to miners since 1869. Unfortunately, the mine was shut down by 1914. Up until that time, miners relied on the railways they had created to get into the dig site a little quicker.
Kmart in the ‘70s
Long before Target and Walmart came into the picture, there was a one-stop store called Kmart where customers could buy clothing, makeup, sporting goods and even food at a decent price. But they really attracted even more business into their stores when they promoted their blue light specials. This gave shoppers an hour to look for specific items that were on sale. And as seen in this photo, this promotion brought all the boys and girls to the proverbial yard.
Actress Susan Peters in 1943
This photo of actress Susan Peters was taken in 1943, and if it looks colorized it’s because it was. The actress made her acting debut in the ‘40s in hits like “The Big Shot” and “Dr. Gillespie’s New Assistant.” She even earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in 1942’s “Random Harvest. Sadly, she developed a chronic kidney infection and passed away in 1952, but her accomplishments were immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Night By the Pyramids
This photo was taken in 1897 by Ernest R. Ashton and captured the pyramids in the background on a cold breezy night in the Middle East. But this wasn’t an easy thing to do since there were no digital cameras with flash photography in those days. And yet somehow, Ashton was able to enhance the lights and shadows in this photograph like a pro. The end result was this five-inch by seven-inch picture that’s simply beautiful.
Women’s Track Team at the University of Texas
The women’s track team at the University of Texas were hard at work practicing for their next event. This photo taken in 1964 shows how women put in a lot of effort in this sport almost as if they were getting ready for the Olympics. And not only were they great athletes but they also looked amazing sporting beehive hairdos that were undoubtedly difficult to maintain while sprinting across the field.
The Outsiders Cast in 1983
Francis Coppola’s 1983 film “The Outsiders,” introduced audiences to the fresh and gorgeous faces of up-and-coming Hollywood stars like Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze and Tom Cruise. The film took place in the 1950s and followed a low-class group of young friends with attitude who were often rebellious but were also just trying to survive.
Lisa and Louise Burns in ‘The Shining’ Set
Oh sure! Child actresses Lisa and Louis Burns are all smiles in this photo taken on the set of “The Shining” in 1980, but they were doubly terrifying in the classic horror flick as the Grady twins. In an interview with the Daily Mail, the twin actresses had this to say about their filming experience: "Every day felt like we’d been invited to a very exclusive party and we were the youngest, luckiest people to be there. Stanley wanted us on set every single day, so between scenes, we would play with Danny [Lloyd] and Jack [Nicholson]."
Grace Kelly’s Wedding Day
In 1956, Grace Kelly went from being a well-known Hollywood actress to becoming the Princess of Monaco when she married the country’s Prince Rainier and she looked gorgeous. Her dress took six weeks to make, but 30 seamstresses later, she looked like royalty as she walked down the aisle. The epic event included her Hollywood pals like Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson among others. But According to Grace Kelly’s son, Prince Albert II, his parents felt that the royal wedding had been a little too over the top.