Photographs reveal more than simply a moment in time; they evoke a feeling in all who see them, feelings of happiness, love, sadness, pity, the list goes on and on. When we see photos from history, we are transported to that time. Here is a collection of rare historical pictures to do their job and spellbind us.
#1 His Final Hours
This image is of Lewis Payne, co-conspirator to the assassination of President Lincoln, just before to his execution in 1865. In history class we are often told of John Wilkes Booth, however the men wanted to kill President Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson (which didn’t happen), General Ulysses S, Grant (which also didn’t happen), and William H. Seward (which was attempted by Payne, but was thankfully unsuccessful) to cripple the Government.
#2 Seeing the Sites
On a trip to Washington D.C. in the early 1980s, drug king Pablo Escobar took this rather touristy photo with his son in front of the White House.
#3 All Hands In
Most have seen Lady Liberty as she is now. The statue is enormous; much larger then life and, dare I say, slightly intimidating in her stature. Here we see her construction in 1884, Paris, France. Perhaps she was just trying to give them a hand?
#4 Two Worlds Collide
Author and disabilities activist Helen Keller met with many figures during her life, including Dwight Eisenhower, Mark Twain, and Alexander Graham Bell, to name a few. Here, in 1919, she meets famous actor Charlie Chaplin.
#5 A Different Perspective
In protest of the Chinese military’s suppression of the protests of Tiananmen Square in 1989, an unidentified rebel stood in front of the line of tanks, not allowing them to pass. The incident was captured on both film and in still photograph. This picture is taken from a different angle, and shows the back of the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square.
#6 “The Most Beautiful Suicide”
This photograph of 23-year-old Evelyn Francis Mchale in 1947, taken by photography student Robert Wiles just four minutes after she jumped to her death from the observation deck of the empire state building, became iconic when Andy Warhol used it to influence his print Suicide (Fallen Body).
#7 Rivals Turned Rescuers
When the Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 and sank, 1,517 people lost their lives. The Carpathia, previously an adversary of the Titanic, is shown here, rescuing survivors of the horrific accident.
Before the rise of the Taliban in the mid-90s, Afghan women were free to enter public spaces without supervision, wearing non-traditional garb. Women were encouraged to attend university and many possessed professional careers, which is quite a contrast from today’s Afghanistan, where women are outlawed from receiving employment or even an education over the age of eight.
#9 The Smiling Maiden’s Return
With the threat of WWII’s imminent outbreak, France evacuated much of its prominent art pieces. After the war, we see the Mona Lisa being returned to her home in Paris’ Louvre.
#10 No Laughing Matter
Though this Russian spy is being executed in Finland during the Winter War in 1939, he laughs during the entire process. This reaction is quite unusual to the situation, to say the least!
#11 Picture in a Picture
Feel like taking a little lunar trip? While strolling around on the moon’s surface, you may encounter this: a family portrait of astronaut Charles Duke, his wife, and two sons, encased within a plastic baggie.
#12 Touring Cape Canaveral
Several years prior to the moon landing, President John F. Kennedy, along with Lyndon Johnson and other staffers visited Cape Canaveral at the Missile Test Annex in 1962.
#13 Not the Most Royal Behavior
Young Duchess Anastasia is seen here smoking a cigarette, thanks to her dad, Tsar Nicholas II. This is an image that wouldn’t go over very well in today’s world!
#14 A Mockery of a Malevolent Man
As WWII finished and the end of Adolf Hitler’s control was forthwith, allied forces stood atop the Reich Chancellory, his once official residence, office, and bunker, openly ridiculing Hitler.
#15 Determined to Get a Spot
When Saigon was evacuated in 1975, residents and visitors resolved to board the choppers that brought them to safety. Here, an American evacuee, determined to get a place on the last helicopter out of the US Embassy, punches a South Vietnamese man to ensure his place.
#16 Like Looking in a Mirror
The Beatles are seen here, parading down the street for the cover of Abbey Road. This rare photograph shows one of the outtakes of the album’s photoshoot.
#17 Eerie Mannequins
In the 1950s, Americans tested the effects of atomic bombs by placing life-sized mannequins inside and outside houses, posed in lifelike scenarios. The “survivors” are shown here.
#18 The Queen Serves Her Country
In this photo, Queen Elizabeth poses in front of a truck that she drove as a part of her service. At the tender age of 18, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II, much to her father’s chagrin.
#19 A Family Trip
In a truly unique photo taken in the 1970s, young Osama Bin Laden (second from the right, in a green shirt and blue pants) takes a vacation with his family to Sweden.
#20 Quite a Gathering
The original Woodstock, in 1969, brought an enormous crowd to attend this music festival.
#21 Here, Kitty-Kitty
Everyone has seen the iconic lion, who roars for the logo of MGM. Looking at the picture from another angle, though, looks somewhat surreal.