Perspective-Altering Historical Photographs that You Probably Forgot About

By Sophia Maddox | March 10, 2024

A soldier's farewell to his wife at Penn. Station, New York City, before returning to war. 1943.

Things aren't always as they seem. This collection of photographs will show you a view of history – its people, places, and events – that offers a different perspective than what we see in our history books. You will see famous people before they were stars, the final moments of some people's lives, fads and trends of the past, and some intriguing slices of life in days gone by. History is full of fascinating little tidbits that make for wonderful stories. All we need to do to find them is to change our perspective.

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The thought that every soldier keeps out their minds when leaving for war is the possibility that they’ll never come back. World War II was one of the most deadly wars of the 20th century, and the fact that there was no way to quickly communicate with friends and loved ones means that family members left at home weren’t able to hear from the boys overseas for months at a time. Katharine Phillips, a war correspondent for the Mobile Register, told PBS:

The most worries we had about the war was just death. We just never knew when we’d lose someone that we loved. Our best friend. The boy that was the brother of your best friend. We lived in constant fear of the telegrams. Each day we would read the lists in the newspaper to see if we could identify the names that were there. 

Colorized photo of an 11-year-old coal miner in 1908. 

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With the coal industry booming in the late 19th century, corporations were looking for as much cheap labor as possible. At the time there were no laws against hiring children, so if they could hold a pickaxe or shovel then they were put to work digging in the mines. By 1910 there were near 2 million children working in the coal mines, but as the NCLC sent photographers around to capture young tipple boys like this the photos began circulating and people were outraged.

It took a few years before labor laws were enacted, but but 1916 the Child Labor Act was put in place and minimum age requirements were enacted and maximum shift lengths were put in place for young workers.