Iconic Photos Captured Way More Than Expected
By | December 16, 2022
These moments from history deserve a closer look...and nothing brings out the true life of these moments in time than color. So we hand picked a collection of once black and whites, now in vibrant color.
Warning, these rarely seen photos are not suitable for all audiences.
While these gorgeous colorized photos of the past are definitely a must-see, not all of the stories are fit for consumption, so proceed with caution. Black and white definitely didn't do these photos justice... this colorized collection of photographs captures way more than expected.
For mature audiences only.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a crush on Brigitte Bardot. A cinema idol for multiple generations of people, her inherent French mystique brought her from Paris and cast her into stardom at a young age.
As one of the most famous women on the planet throughout the 1950s and ‘60s the one thing that she didn’t have was anonymity, something that she so deeply wanted. She explained to The Guardian:
I don’t know what it means to sit quietly in a bistro, on a terrace, or in the theatre without being approached by someone.
America faced one of its lowest lows on October 29, 1929 when Wall Street investors traded nearly 16 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange, losing billions of dollars and breaking thousands of investors in one day.
Black Tuesday was the final day of a six day anarchic whirlwind at the Stock Exchange with investment bankers attempting to stabilize the market by buying massive blocks of stock. On Tuesday, stock prices completely collapsed.
This nadir of the Stock Exchange didn’t just wipe out the coffers of investors, it caused the industrialized world to spiral out of control, pushing the United States into the Great Depression.
Here's an odd trio for ya... The tallest, shortest and fattest man of Europe all playing a game of cards, 1913
There’s something fun about this photo of these three luminaries at the top of their field. Aside from being the tallest, smallest, and biggest people on the planet what do you think that these men had to talk about… aside from their bets of course.
Photos like this, which show people who are at the fringes of the human race, have always been fascinating for viewers. Whether it be a morbid need to see how someone else lives or just the enjoyment of seeing something so strange saved to celluloid.
These men clearly made the best of the curveballs life has thrown them. They deserve a good round of poker.
Unpacking Mona Lisa at the end of World War II in 1945
The Mona Lisa is one of the most - if not THE MOST - well known and beloved painting in the world and it’s been stolen multiple times but during World War 2 the painting was sitting pretty in the Louvre, meaning that it had to be kept safe from the Nazis.
Jacques Jaujard, director of France's National Museums, concocted a plot to keep the art in the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa, from falling into the hands of Nazis.
On August 25, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union announced their Nonaggression Pact and Jaujard closed the three days “for repairs.” During this time the Louvre staff removed paintings from their frames (if that was a possibility), moved statues, and placed these items in wooden crates.
The crates were then marked with red dots to mark the significance of the art (the Mona Lisa received three dots) and on August 28, 1939, hundreds of trucks carrying 1,000 creates of artifacts and 268 crates of paintings to the Loire Valley where the art was kept far from bombing targets.
Arsenal goalkeeper Jack Kelsey peers into the fog, searching for the elusive ball. The fog was so thick the game was eventually stopped
This photo from 1954 of Arsenal goalkeeper Jack Kelsey looking into the fog for an elusive ball is often mistaken for a viral story from 1937. In that story a game was played during such a foggy day that a goal keeper stayed on the pitch for 15 minutes until after the game was called.
The story that this photo is often misattributed to comes from a game played on Christmas Day in 1937 when Chelsea played Stamford Ridge. Due to a dense fog the game had to be called after 61 minutes. Unfortunately no one told Stamford Bridge’s goalkeeper. He later explained:
I paced up and down my goal-line, happy in the knowledge that Chelsea were being pinned in their own half. ‘The boys must be giving the Pensioners the hammer,’ I thought smugly, as I stamped my feet for warmth… After a long time a figure loomed out of the curtain of fog in front of me. It was a policeman, and he gaped at me incredulously. ‘What on earth are you doing here?’ he gasped. ‘The game was stopped a quarter of an hour ago. The field’s completely empty’. And when I groped my way to the dressing-room, the rest of the Charlton team, already out of the bath and in their civvies, were convulsed with laughter.
In 1939 Vivian Leigh was hired to star in Gone with the Wind and even though she was from England she took the part of a Southern Belle that would define the rest of her career.
After arriving in Los Angeles to film the much beloved movie her behavior was seen as manic and it supposedly made her difficult to work with, and she believed that the film would be a total failure.
At the time she was in a clandestine relationship with Laurence Olivier. The two were so certain that Gone With The Wind would be a failure that they were figuring out the next step in her career. Olivier writes:
You have got to justify yourself in the next two or 3 films (or even 2 or 3 years) by proving that the presumable failure of Gone W.T.W. was not your fault and you can only do that by being really good in the following parts. To make a success of your career in pictures [is] ESSENTIAL for your self respect, and our ultimate happiness therefore. … If you don't, I am afraid you may become just — well boring.
Elizabeth Taylor on the set of "Giant" in 1956
It’s hard to separate Elizabeth Taylor from her personal life - the marriages, the divorces, and the lifestyle - but she was able to achieve all of that because of her lengthy film career.
Taylor even began acting in 1941 but one of her most beloved roles came in 1951 with Giant, a film that sees her acting with James Dean and Rock Hudson. As beloved as the film is she told Rolling Stone that she doesn’t watch her own work but she has fond memories of making the film. Taylor explained:
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Giant. I don’t look at old movies of myself. I don’t even look at new ones of myself. But I loved Jimmy and I loved Rock. And I was the last person Jimmy was with before he drove to his death…But that was a private, personal moment.
Night fishing in Hawaii, 1948
This photo is absolutely breathtaking. Imagine wading out into the tide driven waters of the ocean with a live fire hanging over your head as the only thing to use while fishing with a spear.
Hawaiians have been using spears to fish in shallow water for generations, usually strong woods like kauila, o`a, koai`e, and uhiuhi. These spears had to be six or seven feet long, and of course they had to have a sharp point at the end.
They lit their night excursions and enticed fish to their spears with the light of kukui-nut torches made of coconut leaves attached to homemade poles. If they needed a brighter light they burned the nuts in a large piece of bamboo.
Charlie Chaplin attends the premiere of his newest film City Lights in Los Angeles, accompanied by Albert Einstein. February 2, 1931.
Albert Einstein wasn’t the kind of egg head who just liked to pal around with other scientists and talk math all day. He was imaginative, funny, and he thought of himself as an artist so it makes sense that he enjoyed Chaplin’s work.
The two were introduced by Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal Studios, and after a dinner at Chaplin’s the two became close friends. Chaplin and Einstein attended the premiere of City Lights together in 1931 along with Einstein’s wife Elsa.
Supposedly Einstein said that he was envious of Chaplin’s fame because without a word the world understands him, to which Chaplin replied, “But your fame is even greater… the world admires you when nobody understands you.”
Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia
During World War I Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence had an extremely unique position in the Middle East. He worked as a British demolition artist working with Arab rebel allies to attack bridges and isolated depots belonging to the Ottoman Empire.
Aside from being the subject of Lawrence Of Arabia, Lawrence was the most prolific demolition expert of the era. He says that he blew up 79 bridges along the railway, destroying bridges so they had to be torn down before they could be reconstructed.
Lawrence did so much damage to the Ottoman railways that many of them are still standing today, the Turkish military just left some of the rubble rather than tear it down. Much of the destroyed railways still stand today.
Henry Behrens, the smallest man in the world dances with his pet cat in the doorway of his Worthing home, 1956.
Measuring at a minuscule 30 inches in height, Henry Behrens was the smallest man in the world during his life. He weighed only about 32 pounds and he toured the world with Burton Lester’s troupe of little people.
In the late 1940s and ‘50s Behrens was a bit of a fascination with people who were “abnormal” or out of the usual. This kind of obsession didn’t bother Behrens, he loved being in the spotlight and all the pleasures that it brought him. Why else would he be dancing with a cat? You don’t put yourself in danger of getting scratched if you don’t want to be famous.
Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office aboard Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas following the assassination of JFK
For just over an hour and a half following the assassination of John F. Kennedy the United States was without a president. On November 22, 1963, the world was shocked when Kennedy was shot in broad daylight while driving through Dallas.
Still in the grips of chaos and confusion, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One as it sat on the tarmac at Dallas’ Love Field.
This photo shows the anxiety of the moment, as Johnson is flanked by a blood stained First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and his wife Lady Bird Johnson. Johnson’s new cabinet and FBI agents watch on, uncertain of how the future is going to play out.
Koboto Santaro, a Japanese military commander, wearing traditional armor, in 1863
Taken by Felice Beato, the original version of this photo was hand colored by the photographer. He preferred to take full-length portraits taken in the studio in order to focus on the traditional costumes and traditions of the culture that fascinated him.
His photos of Japan and Japanese traditions featured vignetting around the edges in order to give them a more painterly quality. The traditional armored costume shown here was worn by the samurai, a soldier of a noble class who carried out the wishes of Japan’s rulers from the 12th century until the 1800s.
It's not exactly clear what the samurai is holding in his hand, but even if its a tickle weapon this guy has enough sharp implements on him that will make you want to keep your distance.
Sally Field on the set of "Gidget" (1965)
As a young woman Sally Field’s career was launched into the stratosphere with her role as Gidget in 1965, the surfer babe with a knack for getting into trouble. Field was only 18 when she won the role, impressing the casting director with her spunk and down to Earth honesty. She explained:
After the first night of my workshop, a casting guy asked me if I had an agent. I didn't, but I still went in for an interview. The waiting room was filled with girls who looked like movie stars. They all had professional head shots; the only pictures I had were wallet photos of me with my friends. At my screen test, I walked in and said, ‘Which one is the camera?’ The crew members were like, ‘Oh, boy.’ But the casting director said, ‘You're it.’ God was looking out for me. He thought he'd throw me in the ocean and see if I could swim.
Oregon, August 1939. Unemployed lumber worker goes with his wife to the bean harvest. Social Security number tattooed on his arm identifies him as Thomas Cave.
Hailing from Klamath Falls, Oregon, Thomas Cave and his wife Annie were one of many people who found themselves down on their luck during the Great Depression. According to photographer Dorothea Lange, the Caves had worked for 52 weeks straight earning $550 total (about $10,000 today) and after renting a small apartment for $12 a month they both found themselves without a job.
Cave’s Social Security tattoo was a thing of necessity for the 27 year old migrant worker. The Social Security Act was established only four months before this photo was taken and it provided economic relief for those who joined in, however to do so a person had to be assigned a social security number.
In order to keep from forgetting his Social Security Number Cave had it tattooed on his bicep. Cave wasn’t alone in doing this, in 1937 many people found it to be helpful to have their numbers permanently etched onto their bodies.
Sophia Loren has been one of the most eye catching actress since her debut in the 1951 film Quo Vadis when she was only 17 years old. Since then she’s appeared in a myriad of roles playing sexy seductresses to comedic foils. In all that time it’s never felt like she’s made a misstep.
When asked if there’s anything she would have done differently with her life, Loren offered this sage advice:
In a long, long career like I had—and by the way, I have—it’s very difficult to be able to criticize some of the moments that you do by yourself that you never tell to other people. It’s a very normal thing to do because you cannot every time have a big victory – no, there have been moments, maybe weak moments, where you did something that you are not really very happy about.
Homecoming Soldier, Vienna, Austria by Ernst Haas
Throughout his 40 years as a photographer Ernst Haas staggered the line between photojournalist and artist. When taking photos of soldiers returning from World War 2 it’s impossible not to provide some kind of look into history regardless of the artfulness of the work.
His photo essay “Homecoming” show the confusion and desperation of post war Europe, especially when on the hunt for lost relatives among the survivors of concentration camps. The photo essay was a hit and Haas received a number of job offers from the success - all of which he turned down. He explained:
What I want is to stay free, so that I can carry out my ideas... I don’t think there are many editors who could give me the assignments I give myself.
"Adoration of a President-to-Be" - Newly engaged John F. Kennedy & Jacqueline Bouvier - Cape Cod, July 4th 1953
Following their engagement, John F. Kennedy and Jacquelyn Bouvier went on a trip to to the Kennedy family home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod with a reporter in tow to capture their newly engaged bliss.
An entire issue of Life Magazine was dedicated to their engagement photos. It was published on July 20 with the headline “Senator Kennedy Goes a-Courting.” It’s clear that Jackie loves John in these photos, but she later explained that her love wasn’t meant to be taken as putting him on a pedestal:
Now, I think that I should have known that he was magic all along. I did know it — but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with and see our children grow up together. So now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.
A group of bootblacks gathers around an old Civil War veteran in Pennsylvania, 1935.
As strange as it may sound, Civil War veterans were still alive and kicking well into the 20th century. Famously, the last surviving Civil War veteran passed away in 1956, although it’s likely that there were a few more kicking around at the same time.
During the Civil War there young men were conscripted into battle if they could hold a gun and follow orders, which means that some veterans likely had entire adult lives to lead after they served in the bloodiest war fought on American soil. Imagine the kinds of stories that guys like this must have had.
Winston Churchill as a Cornet in the 4th Queen's Hussar's Cavalry, 1895. He was 21 at the time.
The life of Winston Churchill was sculpted by his dedication to Great Britain and its army. As a member of the 4th Queen's Hussar's Cavalry the young Churchill recognized that he was serving during “the august, unchallenged and tranquil glories of the Victorian Era,” a time when England was totally unchallenged as a military force.
During his time as a member of Hussar’s Cavalry Churchill’s time was divided between a seven month summer training season of training and five months of extended leave.
During a period of leave in 1895 Churchill took off for Cuba in order to have a personal adventure before shipping off to India with the rest of his regiment.
We tend to think of Albert Einstein as this vaulted genius who handed down theories and equations from on high, but he was nothing like that. Einstein didn’t see himself as God’s gift to intellect, but as an artist whose medium was science. In 1929 he told the Saturday Evening Post:
I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am… [but] I would have been surprised if I had been wrong… I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
By combining knowledge, imagination, and inspiration Einstein was able to open himself up to discoveries that many scientists and heavy thinkers would likely ignore.
During the 1970s one of the easiest ways to get around the country was hitchhiking… even if it was a little dangerous. Young people were drawn to the call of the two lane black top and the freedom that came with hopping in a random car and seeing where they ended up.
Some form or another of hitchhiking has existed since travel via cart has been a thing, but during the Great Depression the idea of sticking out your thumb and heading on down the road.
In the ‘70s it made sense to put your life in the hands of a stranger, but as the road grew more dangerous young people stopped hitchhiking and let this mode of travel slip into memory.
Geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor and Meteorologist Charles Wright photographed on the 5 January 1911 at the entrance of a grotto in the side of an iceberg with the Terra Nova ship in the background
Explorations of the Arctic were all the rage at the turn of the century. Explorers were competing with one another to be the first person to reach the South Pole and in 1911 British explorer Robert Falcon Scott set out on the Terra Nova Expedition to make his mark on history.
The party experienced intense blizzards, animals that dropped due to the bone chilling cold, and claims that the men were on nothing more than a “pole hunt.”
On January 16, 1912, after nearly a year of hardship Scott’s team set out across the Great Ice Barrier and journeyed through white nothingness until they reached a flag, they’d been beaten to the poll by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen by a month.
Charlie Chaplin in 1916, at the age of 27
We tend of think of Charlie Chaplin as his most famous character the Tramp, but he was nothing like the bowler hat wearing, down on his luck man that he portrayed onscreen.
He started his life as a boy in poverty, the son of a failing actress, but he quickly took to the stage and made his way to America from London. It didn’t take long before he was a sensation. While performing in the New York vaudeville world the concept of the Tramp came to him via memories of his father. He explained:
It was just released whole from somewhere deep within my father, it was really my father’s alter ego, the little boy who never grew up: ragged, cold, hungry, but still thumbing his nose at the world.
Men of the Seaforth Highlanders resting with a dog in a trench, near La Gorgue, France in August 1915
During World War I every country in Europe did its part to fight against the fascist leanings of the Central Powers — essentially Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. The carnage and brutality of the war was unprecedented and it thrust soldiers from many countries into a massive skirmish for which they weren’t fully prepared.
Scotland and its Seaforth Highlanders was one of the small countries who stepped up to take on the Central Powers. They formed in 1881 following the merging of the 72nd Highlanders and the 78th Highlanders, becoming the county regiment for several northern Scottish counties.
In the initial stages of World War I the Highlanders were serving in India but they were quickly moved to France in 1914 to take part in the Battle of Givenchy before moving to Iraq and Palestine.
Salvador Dali standing on the deck of the S.S. Normandie as it docks in New York City, 1936
Salvador Dalí is a timeless artist that never really feels in places at any decade, but in the early 20th century he was turning heads with his surreal paintings and post modern visual experiments. His early trips to New York City helped the artist form a broader idea of his art form and inspired him throughout the rest of his life.
On his first trip to the city with his wife Gala, Dalí travelled on board the Champlain from France and that his cabin was on one of the lower decks near the machine rooms.
Patroness Caresse Crosby notes that Dalí flourished where some members of the ship might have been agitated. He noted, “I am next to the engine, so that I’ll get there quicker.”
Eunice Hancock, a 21-year-old woman, operates a compressed-air grinder in a Midwest aircraft plant during World War II. August 1942.
During World War 2 men were pulled away from the amor force in order to enlist in the fight against Japan and Germany. To fill the void left in the labor market women took on jobs in manufacturing, utilities, and transportation.
Nearly 2 million women from all over the country took up jobs on assembly lines and in plants where they produced pieces of armaments and machinery for the war effort.
During the war the amount of women in the workplace increased from 27 percent to 37 percent, meaning nearly one out of every four married women were working outside of the home by 1945. These women were just as important to winning World War 2 as the men overseas and we salute them.
Pablo Picasso wearing a hat and holding a revolver & holster given to him by Gary Cooper - Cannes, 1958
We tend to think of Picasso as existing on another plane of existence. A place where the bodies shift and the colors are unnatural yet comforting, he is never apart from his ability to create. However that’s not the case at all. Picasso loved to entertain guests and had friends from all walks of life.
From the art world he plucked Gertrude Stein, the sculptor Julio González, and poet André Salmon - all of whom called Paris home at one time or another. Picasso was also close with actor Gary Cooper and his daughter.
In the 1950s the men were close enough that Picasso entertained Cooper and his family at his ceramics workshop in Vallauris.
Sophie Scholl. An anti-Nazi political activist, she was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the LMU with her brother, Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine.
As a member of the White Rose Resistance Sophie Scholl was one of the few Germans who worked against the Naxis out in the open. Or as out in the open as she could. Her group was an underground non-violent resistance movement who passed out flyers and passively resisted the Nazi movement.
She was arrested at the University of Munich on February 18, 1943 while she and members of her group were distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. She dumped a suitcase full of fliers over a staircase at the university so they’d all float down, but she was spotted by a worker who was sympathetic to the Nazi cause.
Scholl was sent to People Court on February 21, 1943 and sentenced to execution. Her final words were:
Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go... What does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
A Leading Stoker nicknamed "Popeye", with 21 years of service, on board the battleship HMS Rodney, one of two Nelson-class battleships built for the Royal Navy in the mid 1920s. Photo taken in Sep. 1940
This guy clearly looks like Popeye the Sailor Man, a favorite cartoon character of people of all ages, but was the character based on him or is it just a strange coincidence that he looks just like the cartoon?
While E.C. Segar was inspired by a man in his hometown to create Popeye, the man pictured isn’t the inspiration, rather an anonymous photo of a sailor on the HMS Rodney in 1940. Weirdly enough the sailor’s nickname was “Popeye’’ according to the Imperial War Museum.
If that information doesn’t prove that this man has nothing to do with Popeye, the fact that the HMS Rodney was a British battleship in service of the Royal Navy sailing nowhere near the Segar’s home in Illinois will.
"West meets East" - Two german brothers , separated by The Berlin Wall, meet again during the “border pass agreement” of 1963
After the Berlin Wall went up in 1961 no one was allowed to cross regardless of if they were a child, a worker, or even someone who was lost on one side of the wall by accident. If you were in the east when it went up that’s where you stayed.
In 1963 a border pass agreement was reached which allowed the people of West Berlin to visit the eastern side of the city.
This small humanitarian effort wasn’t a perfect solution but it created some relief for the people who were still in shock after the wall went up. After all, many of the people of Germany hadn’t seen their family for at least two years. It took another 25 years before the wall came down permanently.
100 years ago Mata Hari was shot after blowing a kiss at the French firing squad who executed her for accusations of being a spy
There’s no spy with a story as murky as Mata Hari, the dancer turned spy during World War I who combined sexuality and espionage to catch a grasp of the public’s minds in both fiction and reality.
Even before she was a star Mata Hari was amazing at impersonating a different figure. Her early dances saw her masquerading as Lady MacLeod, the daughter of an English lord even though she used an Eastern dancing style.
Mara Hari’s career as a spy was short lived even if it did become thing of legend. She pawned herself off to various military leaders, which earned her a place in front of a firing squad on Oct. 15, 1917. She refused a blindfold and blew a kiss to the men taking her life.
A photographer uses his own backdrop to mask Poland's World War II ruins while shooting a portrait in Warsaw, November 1946.
By the end of World War 2 much of Europe was in rubbles regardless of which side of the fighting they were on. Poland saw some of the most devastating destruction of the war, leaving the country a waste land where once beautiful structures stood.
Survivors tried to get back to regular life, but how do you go back to the before times when your city has fallen apart. Photographers did their best to make life feel normal, if not beautiful by creating back drops that made it look as if the war had never happened - or if it did that the subject didn’t know anything of it, that they hadn’t been affected.
It may seem like these people were ignoring the horrors of war, but this is the only way they could get through it.
American soldiers watch as the Tricolor flies from the Eiffel Tower again, August 25, 1944, Paris, France
After four years of Nazi occupation Paris was finally liberated on August 25, 1944. The writing was on the wall for German forces so they didn’t put up much of a fight when the French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division rolled into town to take back the city of lights.
According to legend Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison in Paris, to destroy the Eiffel Tower and burn the city to the ground rather than allow it to be liberated. Rather than destroy so much beauty Choltitz simply surrendered to the forces.
Two days later there was a liberation march through the Champs d’Elysees, Paris was once again free.
American troops of the 1st Infantry Division leaving the port of Weymouth, England en route to Omaha Beach in Normandy in June 1944
Going into the Battle of Normandy, a horrendous fight that lasted from June 1944 to August 1944 over the control of Western Europe must have been a stomach churning experience for these soldiers.
As some 156,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers made their way towards 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region did they know that they would be fighting non stop for almost a month?
The fighting began on June 6, but it was meant to start a day earlier. A bad weather delay held off the attack for 24 hours, as the troops shipped out Eisenhower told them:
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.
Crow Native Americans watching the rodeo at Crow fair in Montana, 1941
Beginning in 1904, the Crow Fair is essentially a massive family reunion hosted by the Crow Nation as a way to bring together all Native American tribes of the Great Plains, culling tens of thousands of attendees from this great nation.
Held every third week of August near Billings, Montana, the festivities are similar to that of a county fair albeit pushed through a lens of Native American ritual and celebration.
The rodeo happens daily at the Crow Fair, featuring everything from youth events to professional horse and bull riders. It's truly an event that should be experienced if you have the chance.
Drought refugee from Polk, Missouri, with his son awaiting the opening of orange picking season at Porterville, California in 1931
The dust bowl made Americans migrants in their own country, running from the devastation of their homes and farms to pacific coast in search of a seasonal job. These hard working Americans were seen as nothing more than intruders who wanted to suck the government coffers dry.
Enticed to California by flyers offering jobs as crop hands, these migrant workers were derided by California residents who were also looking for work during the Great Depression.
Many of the immigrants who came in search of work were mired in poverty, and the lucky ones were given jobs picking seasonal fruit and vegetables for barely any money.
Dutch Resistance fighters armed with captured German weapons talk in the streets of Breda, Netherlands following its liberation in 1944
When Germany took over much Europe at the onset of World War 2 it was like a shock akin to being thrown into a cold bath. No one expected the Nazis to move as quickly as they did and with such brutality.
As the war went on resistance fighters from across the continent formed their own secret groups and struck back at the Germans, slowly winning their countries back.
The Dutch resistance group helped the allies with counterintelligence, domestic sabotage, and communications within the occupied country and in 1944 the southern part of the country was liberated, it took another eight months to regain control of the Northern part of the Netherlands.
Future 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, photographed with wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, and friends/family on their wedding day in Newport, Rhode Island on the 12 September 1953
It’s no surprise that JFK and Jacqueline Bouvier had a storybook wedding, after all they were America’s couple. Stealing away to Rhode Island for their nuptials on September 12, 1953, they were the focus of media scrutiny the likes had never seen before.
Their union was as close as the United States has ever gotten to a royal wedding, with hundreds of kookie-loos outside of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church waiting to see the newlyweds.
Following a blessing from Pope Pius XII, the couple were married by Richard Cushing, the Archbishop of Boston and a close personal friend of the Kennedy family.
Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, photographed in 1882. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, the early 1890s saw him become one of the most popular playwrights in London.
Well known cheek and literary genius Oscar Wilde spent much of his time on Earth either writing brilliant works of salacious art or dishing out sass like he was getting paid for it.
In 1882 he came to the United States and spent a year traveling across its wide expanses and visiting cities like San Francisco. During that time he gave 150 lectures and ended up speaking to 200,000 people. At one point he even spent the night in a silver mine in Colorado, an evening that he loved. He explained:
I dined with the men down there. They were great, strong, well-formed men, of graceful attitude and free motion. Poems everyone one of them. A complete democracy underground. I find people less rough and coarse in such places. There is no chance for roughness. The revolver is their book of etiquette.
King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania arriving at Dover, England for a state visit on May 12, 1924
Born in Edinburgh in 1875, Marie of Romania was wed to Crown Prince Ferdinand in 1892. She gave up her life in the fields of England to become a beloved monarch in Eastern Europe. Researchers say that it’s because of her that Ferdinand allied himself with the English against Germany.
After more than 20 years in the wilds of Romania, the King and Queen went on a diplomatic tour of Western Europe in 1924. They visited France, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom where they were openly welcomed by King George V who announced welcomed the couple saying:
Apart from the common aims, which we pursue, there are other and dear ties between us. Her Majesty the Queen, my dear cousin, is British born.
Martin Luther King Jr. at the pulpit
Martin Luther King Jr. spearheaded the Civil Rights movement throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, delivering fiery speeches that called for the end of segregation, not through violence but through loving your neighbor in spite of their faults (no matter how racist they might be) and turning the other cheek.
Six months after the March on Washington novelist Robert Penn Warren spoke to King about how he wanted to use non-violence to create an integrated society. King explained:
I think [violence and hatred] will end up creating many more social problems than they solve, and I'm thinking of a very strong love. I'm not, I'm thinking, I'm thinking of love in action and not something where you say, 'Love your enemies,' and just leave it at that, but you love your enemies to the point that you're willing to sit-in at a lunch counter in order to help them find themselves. You're willing to go to jail.
Presidential Candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy, talking to his brother and campaign manager, Robert F. Kennedy, in a hotel room in Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention in July 1960
Quite possibly the most important Democrat National Convention that ever occurred happened in July 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy scratched and clawed his way to a nomination for Democratic candidate with his brother at his side as campaign manager.
Kennedy was facing off against multiple old guard Democrats but his fiery, take no prisoners attitude caught the elder statesmen off guard and he earned his spot at the top of the card. Taken by John Loengard, this photo shows a moment between the two brothers where John was telling Robert about his pick for VP. Loengard explains:
I was doing a story on Bobby Kennedy. The morning after Jack was nominated, we went up to his room. The brothers talked very quietly, and Jack told Bobby he wasn’t going to choose [labor union leader] Walter Reuther for Vice President. . . . I waited outside for Bobby to come out. When he did, he was furious. We were walking back down the stairs, and Bobby was hitting his hand like this, saying ‘Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t.’ You know, he really hated [Lyndon] Johnson.
Princess Elizabeth did her part for the war effort when she served as an ambulance driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II. 1945
During World War 2 everyone throughout the allied nations wanted to do their part for the war effort, even Princess Elizabeth. She wanted to be apart of the effort so badly that she spent months pestering her father to allow her to do something for her country.
Finally, when she was 18 years old, she was allowed to join the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service where she trained as a mechanic and a truck driver while also acting as an ambulance driver.
Queen Elizabeth may seem stuffy, but during World War 2 she was gung ho as anyone to make sure that freedom rang throughout Europe.
Rosa Parks & Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama circa 1955
Rosa Parks was working long hours as a seamstress in a department store in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, when she boarded a bus on December 1, 1955.
As the bus became crowded with white passengers she was told to move to the back but she stayed put and was arrested for the crime of sitting calmly in a seat while black. Park’s arrest led to a 13 month boycott of Montgomery’s city busses - one of the first and largest acts of black activism in the country at the time.
The boycott not only put a spotlight on the Civil Rights movement but it made the 26 year old Martin Luther King Jr. into the national concern as a leader for a new era of American politics.
This photograph of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, considered "one of the most prolific figures in engineering history" was taken 160 years ago.
This extremely self assured looking guy is Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an engineer who devised the Great Western Railway, a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts that runs across England and the West Midlands.
Brunel didn’t just devise a arachnid-like railway, he designed bridges and tunnels as well as series of ships that were primed for transatlantic service. In 1843 The Great Britain, a ship by his design, was launched as the first iron-hulled, screw propeller-driven, steam-powered passenger liner.
On top of all of that Brunel also redesigned and constructed most of the major docks of Great Britain. He didn’t stop working until he passed away on September 15, 1859.
Titanic Orphans, brothers Michel and Edmond Navratil, 1912. They were the only children to be rescued from the Titanic without a parent or guardian.
When the RMS Titanic went down into the Atlantic Ocean on the night of April 14, 1912, many children on board lost their parents to the waves. However, the only children who lost their mother and father was twin boys Michel and Edmond Navratil.
These boys survived the sinking of the Titanic by making their way onto the Collapsable D, the ninth and final life-saving vessel. After the boys were placed onto the lifeboat by their father he was told to remain on board the doomed ship.
Until the French children could be taken back to their home country to be taken care of by a family member they were watched over by a Titanic survivor who spoke French. In a strange twist of fate authorities discovered that the children’s mother was alive in Nice, France.
Their mother had no idea that her boys were being taken to France by their father. She had full custody of the boys and thought that they’d been kidnapped, she had no idea how right she was.
The Russian author Tolstoy, regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time posing in 1908
Taken two years before his death, this photo shows Leo Tolstoy basking in the love of his family. His writing at the time dealt with his coming end and the way he believed that love was the most important thing to him in his final days. He wrote:
Love is life. Everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.
He passed away at the age of 82 from pneumonia. Thousands of Russian peasants lined the streets at his funeral procession in spite of the police’s attempts to keep them away.
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia photographed at the location of the 1st Army General Alexander Ivanovich Litvinov in the Dvinsk district. Taken on January 30, 1916
Taken only one year before he and his family underwent forced abdication, Nicholas II of Russia was away from the front during World War I. His absence from the center of the empire and his reliance on Rasputin caused political unrest among his country people.
Allegedly Nicholas was warned against the negative influence of Rasputin on the family but he never removed the mad monk. The anger over Rasputin boiled over into the priest’s assassination at the hands of a group of Russian nobles.
By 1917, Russia was nearing collapse and following the end of the "February Revolution,” Nicholas II chose to abdicate the throne on March 2. A year later he and the rest of his family were executed.
U.S. athlete Jesse Owens salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump, after defeating Nazi Germany’s Lutz Long, during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
Jesse Owens bolted to stardom during the 1936 Olympics that took place in Nazi Germany. At the time the Amateur Athletic Union was unsure if American athletes should compete in Berlin. It was agreed that America would attend by a narrow margin but Owens says that he didn’t care about politics, he just wanted to show that he was the best of the best.
Owens was encouraged to boycott the games by Civil Rights groups, but he decided to compete none the less. Upon arrival in Berlin Owens had a cold reception. Racial epithets were spat at him and he dealt with all manner of mistreatment.
When the games got underway Owens crammed those racist epithets down the throats of Hitler and Nazis when he won four gold medals, more than any American track and field athlete at any one Olympic Games.
Winston Churchill & Charlie Chaplin, on the set of “City Lights," 1929
A lover of the cinema, Winston Churchill, was a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin. Even though they were politically at odds Churchill and Chaplin were admirers of one another and Chaplin was Churchill’s guest at Chartwell two times in his life.
When Churchill visited the United States in 1929 he and Chaplin hung out a few times, first at a party organized by William Randolph Hearst and later at the Bitmore Hotel for dinner.
Following the premiere of City Lights in 1931, Chaplin went to England and was met by beloved crowds and he ended up dining with Churchill at his home, entertaining his children with tricks, and bantering about revolutionaries like Ghandi.
Hayworth came into prominence during that strange time in Hollywood when starlets were stripped of everything that made them unique so they could be placed into any film that their contract requested.
Even though Hayworth had her name changed (she was born Margarita Carmen Cansino) and had her hair thinned by electrolysis she brought a seriousness and joy to her roles. Director George Cukor told The New York Times:
She had natural elegance. I saw that immediately, before they fixed her hair, something I may have contributed to did ask for Rita on her first loan‐out, ‘Susan and God,’ where she really had little to do. Yes, I knew, right away, she wasn't just another pretty girl. Rita made some of her material better than it was.
A young Iranian woman hits the beach, 1960s
Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979 women weren’t allowed to wear their traditional veils and the police were ordered to remove any headscarves that they saw. At the time women were excited about wearing Westernized clothing, including jeans, miniskirts, and short-sleeved tops.
Young women dressed up, they went to the beach and they had picnics. According to Professor Haleh Afshar from Tehran University:
Picnics are an important part of Iranian culture and are very popular amongst the middle classes. This has not changed since the revolution. The difference is, nowadays, men and women sitting together are much more self-aware and show more restraint in their interactions.
In Grace Kelly's earliest gigs she was told that her chin was "too wide"
In five short years Grace Kelly went from an unknown actress to one of the most sought after stars in the world - and then she became a literal princess. She grew up the daughter of a three time Olympic gold medallist who owned a construction company worth millions and a mother who was champion swimmer and cover model. Kelly was nurtured to be successful on the big screen.
After high school she refused to take her parent’s money and paid her way with modeling gigs. She nabbed a Cosmo cover and took whatever print ads came her way.
Even though she was stunningly beautiful and whip smart success still eluded her. After she was cast in Mogambo things turned around. When audiences saw her shoot her sweetheart on screen they were enamored. She received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and the Golden Globe.