Rare Photos Will Make You Question Everything You Think You Know About History
Marilyn Monroe almost never allowed photos to be taken without her having makeup on 💔
The older we get the more we realize that the version of history that we think we know is all wrong. Look closer at this rare photographs from history and you'll see a different side to some of history's most well known stories, and you'll even discover facts about history that you won't find in a textbook.
This gallery of stunning photos that you've never seen captures some of the most important moments from history that you never knew about, and it turns a few well known stories completely on their heads.
⚡ Not all of the following stories have a happy ending, and some of them will shock you to the core. But they're all important pieces of history that beg you to look closer and show you a different side to history than you already know. ⚡
Monroe didn't like to be photographed without makeup, so very few "normal" photos of her exist. She wasn't just suffering from body dysmorphia and depression, she felt ugly on the inside and couldn't stand the thought of anyone seeing the real her.
We all know that she was naturally gorgeous, there's no arguing that. But as her career gained steam her insecurities bubbled up beyond the booze and the pills that she used to drown out her demons until she couldn't repress the pain anymore
Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home on August 5, 1962. Her maid discovered her face down and nude in her bed, a telephone in one hand and prescription medication strewn around the carpet. There are numerous conspiracy theories behind the actress' death, but it's most likely that she overdosed in the nadir of depression.
Poon Lim was a Chinese sailor who survived 133 days alone on a raft at sea by fishing, drinking bird blood and killing a shark with a jug of water 🦈
Poon Lim, a young Chinese sailor, was working as a steward on a British ship during World War II that was en route from Cape Town to Surinam. 750 miles east of the Amazon the ship was intercepted by the Germans and was sank by a pair of torpedoes. Lim was the only survivor on board...two hours after the attack he hopped on an eight-foot square wooden raft and climbed onto it.
Luckily, the raft was already stocked with fresh water, biscuits, a flashlight, flares, and even some chocolate. He expected to be on board for a month, he spent 133 days onboard even after he came in contact with a freighter, U.S. Navy Patrol and another German U-boat. Even though he was ignored by a multiple groups of people he decided that he would survive regardless of the situation.
Lim used his biscuits to catch fish, he swam to work out, and he used the canvas from his life vest to save rain water for drinking. When there was no rain water to drink he trapped seagulls and drank their blood. After catching a shark with fish remains the animal made its way on board where Lim had to bash its head in with a water jug.
After 133 days at sea he was discovered by three Brazilian fishermen discovered the raft. He spent four weeks in the hospital, and to this day no one has beaten his record of spending time at sea on a raft. Before Lim's death he said, “I hope no one will have to break it.”
A rare photo of Pablo Escobar, the family man, during a family trip to Disney World in 1981. This photo captures the most prolific drug dealer of all time in deep thought. Can you imagine what he was thinking about in this exact moment? 😈
In the early 1980s Pablo Escobar was the richest man in Colombia, with money flowing in from the cocaine trade, of which he was in control of 80% of so he was doing pretty well. Even though he was Mr. Cocaine he was still flying under the radar at the time. He was so beloved in Columbia that he was able to use his political stroke to gain diplomatic immunity and a visa in order to get him into the United States.
So what did Escobar use with his power? In May of 1981 Escobar took his family to Walt Disney World Florida where he stayed in a palatial space owned by Julio Iglesias and one of the Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees (allegedly). Escobar's son later said of the wonderful trip:
Our family life hadn’t yet become encumbered by complications. That was the only period of pure pleasure and lavishness that my father enjoyed.
Michellin Men from the 1900s 🤖
Well this is some good old fashioned nightmare fuel, don't you think? These spooky, bulbous suits make us wonder exactly what Michelin was trying to do with these costumes. Were they selling tires or just trying to freak people out?
In the 1900s, the Michelin Man was a relatively new logo. It was dreamt up in 1898 by Marius Rossillon, who worked under the pseudonym O'Galop, after deciding to replace their initial logo of a giant holding a beer mug with a man made of tires holding a cup filled with nails and broken glass.
The man made of tires holding his drink made of obstacles also said, "Cheers, the Michelin tyre drinks up obstacles!" As weird as this might sound, the Michelin Man became an incredibly well known logo, which is wild when you see what the character looks like in real life.
This is Marion Stokes, a Philadelphia librarian who began taping whatever was on television from 1975 until her death in 2012. The result? 71,000 VHS and Betamax tapes, the most comprehensive collection of television from the 20th century 📼
There's something extremely satisfying about taping things off television, from unwrapping the plastic around the VHS (or Betamax if that's your whole thing), to setting the timer to record, and writing the title of the program on the little piece of sticky tape that comes with the cassette. Marion Stokes took that feeling to the nth degree by making 71,000 VHS and Betamax tapes, the most comprehensive collection of television from the 20th century.
Stokes didn't just blow a bunch of money on cassettes and storage, she invested early in Apple and made enough money that she was able to store her collection in the nine apartments that owned. Stokes wasn't just trying to amass a bunch of old television, but she wanted to make sure that media was available to people who wanted it but couldn't afford it. Director Matt Wolf said:
[Stokes] was interested in access to information, documenting media, making sure people had the information they needed to make good decisions.
Her work is currently being digitized by the Internet Archive.
Frida Kahlo takes a family photo, wearing a 3-piece suit and holding a cane, 1924 👔
It's hard to look away from Frida Kahlo. She cuts a stunning figure whether she's dressed in feminine clothing or something masculine. Today, someone dressing ambiguously, or switching up gender roles with their clothing isn't out of the ordinary, but in 1924 this kind of costuming was flirting with danger.
But Kahlo wasn't someone who was afraid, even when she was faced with losing a leg due to gangrene in 1953 she didn't show fear. While writing to the love of her life Diego Rivera she noted that she didn't care about losing her leg because she considered herself a survivor. Prior to the amputation she wrote to Rivera:
They want to hurt my pride by cutting a leg off. When they told me it would be necessary to amputate, the news didn’t affect me the way everybody expected. No, I was already a maimed woman when I lost you, again, for the umpteenth time maybe, and still I survived. I am not afraid of pain and you know it. It is almost inherent to my being, although I confess that I suffered, and a great deal, when you cheated on me, every time you did it, not just with my sister but with so many other women. How did they let themselves be fooled by you?
...The reason why I’m writing is not to accuse you of anything more than we’ve already accused each other of in this and however many more bloody lives. It’s because I’m having a leg cut off (damned thing, it got what it wanted in the end). I told you I’ve counted myself as incomplete for a long time, but why the fuck does everybody else need to know about it too? Now my fragmentation will be obvious for everyone to see, for you to see… That’s why I’m telling you before you hear it on the grapevine... That is all, I can now go to be chopped up in peace. Good bye from somebody who is crazy and vehemently in love with you, Your Frida.
Mugshot of John Wojtowicz who unsuccessfully tried to rob a bank in 1972 to pay for his wife Eden's gender affirmation surgery 🤔
In 1972, John Wojtowicz hatched a plan to rob a bank in order to pay for his partner's gender affirmation surgery, of course he'd never robbed a bank before and the crew that he put together was made up of bunglers no matter how noble their cause.
The group went to watch The Godfather in the theater for inspiration before committing the crime. The small time crew entered a Chase Bank in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn and slipped the teller a note bearing a paraphrased quote from the film: “this is an offer you can’t refuse.”
From there things went down hill. The bank's vault was half empty, and even though Wojtowicz and his buddies grabbed $38,000 in cash and $175,000 in traveler’s checks, a bank employee set off the alarm alerting the police. A 14 hour standoff began between the robbers and FBI agents, police, journalists, and snipers posted on the rooftops, around 2,000 spectators on the street.
The entire stand off was a circus. Wojtowicz won over the crowd outside, he ordered pizza for the bank workers, and at the end of the day he was arrested by the FBI after they convinced him that they were ushering him to Kennedy International Airport for an international flight. Wojtowicz was sentenced to 20 years in prison but only served five.
His failed robbery became the basis for the Al Pacino film Dog Day Afternoon, which was released while he was in prison. After threatening to start "the biggest prison riot you ever saw," Wojtowicz was allowed to watch the movie with only one guard at his side.
Saddam Hussein flirting with his cousin and future wife, 1980s 💕
Knowing what we know now about Suddam Hussein it's crazy to think that he was the kind of guy who would goof around with his wife. Even so, this shot of Sajida Talfah is genuinely upsetting. But the strange thing about Hussein's relationship with Talfah is that she completely disappeared following the beginning of the Gulf War.
The couple married around 1963 and had five children together. Not much is known about Talfah, but according to people living in Iraq she was just as feared as her husband. Even so, Hussein supposedly took another wife in a secret marriage in the late '80s and then everyone related to Talfah started disappearing. Her brother was killed in a “freak” helicopter crash, and at the onset of the Gulf War she fled for Britain in 2003 - although it's unclear where she actually wound up.
This is Shavarsh Karapetyan, a retired Armenian swimmer who saved the lives of 20 people 💪
Shavarsh Karapetyan was a no nonsense swimmer and all around amazing person. After finishing a 16 mile swim in 1976 he witnessed a trolleybus crash where the vehicle lost control and plunged into the sewage soaked and freezing waters of a reservoir. He dove in without thinking of himself and began pulling passengers out of the deep.
At the end of the day he pulled 46 people out of the bus, 20 of whom survived the accident. Karapetyan had to be hospitalized for 45 days due to the combination of cold water and lacerations across his skin. He nearly passed away from pneumonia and sepsis, and even though he recovered, his days as a professional swimmer were over. Karapetyan explained his heroism and the devastating fact that he could only save so many people:
I knew that I could only save so many lives, I was afraid to make a mistake. It was so dark down there that I could barely see anything. One of my dives, I accidentally grabbed a seat instead of a passenger. I could have saved a life instead. That seat still haunts me in my nightmares.
A Lego letter to parents from 1974.
This is the last thing that you'd expect to see coming from a company in the 1970s. Imagine, you open a box full of Lego and as the tiny plastic bricks drop out of the box they're followed by a letter telling you to relax and let your kids be creative without being produced.
During this era, parents were worried about whether their children were keeping to societal norms, not just because they wanted boys to be boys and girls to be girls, but because they were worried about how they would be perceived if they did anything out of the ordinary.
It's unreal to see that a company was totally fine with ticking off parents with this message that they should just relax if their kids wanted to do something "weird," and honestly it makes us like LEGO even more than we already did.
Louisa Jenkins casually smokes a cigarette as the police try to question her at a protest in 1957
It's clear that Louisa Jenkins gives zero cares about facing down the police while protesting in 1957. Jenkins was a writer who specifically focused on black history for children of kindergarten age, specifically she wanted to make sure children of all ages knew what really happened in history, and that it's not just the white version of events.
Aside from being a writer, Jenkins was an avid activist who had no fear when she marching across the country on the name of peace. She explained:
I am a writer, and also a dedicated activist and peacenik. In New York City in my twenties I was chapter chairman of my union, marching in May Day Parades and having rotten eggs thrown at my head. In Los Angeles I was arrested in a sit-in against the racist Birch Society and sentenced to five years probation. In Bogalusa, Louisiana, I worked with the Congress of Racial Equality; back in New York I was instrumental in keeping Muhammad Ali, then world’s heavyweight champion, from fighting in South Africa and breaking a cultural boycott. In Washington D.C. I was arrested in 2002 in a protest against the disastrous policies of the World Bank and the IMF. Back in New York I was active in several forums breaking the silence about the rampant rape in the Congo and the multinational corporations and countries involved. Last year I helped set up a forum at Riverside Church on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.
Charles Joughin was the chief baker on the Titanic and one of its most unlikely survivors
As soon as the Titanic began to sink the crew aboard the ship figured that they weren't long for the world, and while that's true for many of them you might be surprised to learn that some of the people who worked on the ship actually survived that horrible night.
Chief baker aboard the Titanic, Charles Joughin, was prepared to go down with the ship, but by drinking a heavy amount of spirits in between putting women and children aboard lifeboats he actually saved himself. More often than not, someone who's drunk is more likely to freeze to death than someone who's sober because of vasodilation, the dilation of blood vessels, but in this very specific case the North Atlantic Sea was approximately 26.4 Fahrenheit, which was cold enough to constrict his blood vessels, offsetting the alcohol in his blood vessels.
All in all, Joughin spent two hours in the below freezing water after the ship went down before he was saved by a lifeboat.
This is Czech gymnast Věra Čáslavská.
For some of us the competitive spirit is stronger than anything else. Věra Čáslavská was on track to be a fierce competitor for Czechoslovakia at the 1969 Olympics in Mexico when when the Soviet Union invaded her country. An outspoken anti-communist, Čáslavská was forced to flee her home and train in the countryside while waiting to find out if she was even going to be in the Olympics that year.
Instead of sit around, Čáslavská trained in the forests of Moravia, using trees as her balance beams, and lifting sacks of potatoes instead of weights. When she was given the go ahead to perform in the Olympics she was ready to take the gold. In 1990 she told the LA Times:
While the Soviet gymnasts were already in Mexico City, adjusting to the altitude and the climate, I was hanging from trees, practicing my floor exercise in the meadow in front of the cottage and building calluses on my hands by shoveling coal. Then I went to Mexico and won the gold medal.
Flying Car model, 1948
Next time someone opines about how we should have flying cars by now, make sure they know that they've been around since the 1940s... it's just that they're not that great. The Model 118 ConVairCar was a prototype flying car of which two were built, and theoretically it would have been sold to consumers if it weren't such a money waster.
The first prototype of the car crashed after a low fuel issue, but the second version of the car flew just fine. The Model 118 had a two-seat car body, with detachable monoplane wings and tail, and Convair thought this car-plane would be so hot that they planned on producing 160,000 of them with an anticipation that they would be rented by airports.
After the initial crash it was clear how much of a waste these car-planes were, and the Model 118 lives only in dreams and photographs.
The first modern flushable toilet was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington who installed one for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth 1
One of the signs of modern living is the invention of a flushable toilet. For that, we have Sir John Harrington to thank. He created the first version, complete with a water tank and a flush valve, basically what we've all got in our homes today.
At the time of Harrington's invention, most toilets in the medieval era were essentially holes in the ground or chamber pots, but Harrington's invention was the real deal. The Harrington toilet was attached to a vertical shaft that ran down to a hold in the ground where it was shoveled away by serfs.
As great as this invention was, every once in a while the chutes were used as a way for breaking into a castle, some times when they were being used. It was a crappy job but someone had to do it.
The tallest, shortest, and fattest men in Europe playing a game of cards in 1913 (Colorized)
This is definitely an odd group of friends. The original version of this photo ran with no color and the caption:
Cannon, the giant Dutch colossus weighing 738 pounds, doing a game with the biggest Russian Casacque and the 70 year old Dwarf Chip.
So just who are these guys? The extremely tall guy in the photo is Cornelius Bruns, and there's not much about him online aside from the fact that he's very tall. The world's fattest man is Cannon Colossus, a guy who garnered a bit of fame for his size. He was known as "The Dutch Giant" and he weighed more than 700 pounds. He made most of his money through slideshows and circuses, but he also received a cut of post cards featuring his likeness.
Chip, the world's shortest man, is another mystery. The original caption for the photo states that he's 70 years old, but aside from that he's a stranger. Pay close attention to this photo and you'll notice that Cannon is sitting on two chairs tied together. This is definitely a kind of photo that you'd never see today.
The first Minnie and Mickey at a Disney Event, 1939
There's something about the large theme park characters that gives us the creeps. Even today, when the costumes look just like the characters on screen, they're seriously weird looking. However, these characters from 1939 are serious nightmare fuel.
Since the first Disney park didn't open until the 1950s it's not entirely clear where this photo was taken. Mickey first appeared in 1928, so by the time of this photo Mickey was definitely in the cultural zeitgeist, however it's still odd that people would be walking around in costumes like this.
Judging from this photo, it's clear that the boy isn't having a great time. But it's still cool/super weird to see that these suits were a thing.
This is a group photo of the Night Witches, a Russian, all female bomber squad during World War 2.
This group of female bombers was made up of young women in their early 20s, and over the course of four years these gals dropped 23 tons of bombs on German on the German army. Named the "Night Witches" because they flew at night over enemy territory, and would cut their engines so they could float silently as they dropped their bombs.
Standing in the photo and looking down the lens of the camera is Nadezhda Popova. Initially she was rejected from the military because "no one in the armed services wanted to give women the freedom to die," but in 1941 the Russian military agreed to let these women fight.
Popoya ended up flying 852 missions where she careened through enemy fire to help destroy the Nazis. She ended up working as a flight instructor in Moscow, but she never forgot her time in the Russian military. She told the New York Times:
I sometimes stare into the blackness and close my eyes. I can still imagine myself as a young girl, up there in my little bomber. And I ask myself, ‘Nadia, how did you do it?’
A lone African-American boy stands in a crowd that turned out to hear an imperial emperor of one of the several Ku Klux Klan groups now active in the South, 1950
Taken at the first public Klan rally at Jackson, Mississippi in 15 years. Police forbade them from burning the cross that you can see in the background, but the racist group went through with it anyway. It's reported that the crowd was light on that night in Jackson where Dr. Lycurgus Spinks, imperial emperor of one of the many Ku Klux Klan groups active in the South, spoke to 56 members of the group.
Membership in the Klan was at its apex during the Great Depression in the 1930s, and by 1944 the group was essentially disbanded. However, as the Civil Rights movement began the group came back together to instill fear into people who wanted nothing more than peace. This shot shows just one of the many tension filled meetings that took place across the south.
The group is still together and spouting their racist rhetoric, but membership has declined to a few thousand.
A Soviet Soldier with the head of a Hitler statue (1945)
When World War II came to an end, the Allied troops did everything they could to completely destroy Axis, especially Germany. Taken in Berlin, this photo shows Soviet songwriter Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky carrying Hitler's head through the the Ebertstrasse, a street which was then known as the Hermann-Goering-Strasse.
As the U.S. and British administrators established de-Nazification panels that stripped libraries of Nazi books and periodicals, and fascist newspapers, Dolmatovsky was transitioning from his time in the military to being a poet and lyricist. Most of his songs like "Ballad of the Siberian Land" and "Yearning for the Motherland" were through and through ballads for Russia.
During this time it was illegal to display any vestiges of Nazi propaganda, which makes you wonder what happened to this head.
A portrait of 10 chiefs, 1891
The men shown here: Standing Bull, Bear who looks back running, Has the big white horse, White tail, Liver bear, Little thunder, Bull dog, High hawk, Lame, Eagle pipe came together to help put an end to the Indian War, and while it was written that they worked specifically with General Nelson A. Miles, they really worked most closely with First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood.
Gatewood was one of the few soldiers who fought in the Indian Wars who actually spent time living and working with the Apache to get to know them as people. He spoke their language, he earned their respect, and he managed to work out the peaceful surrender of the Apache leader, Geronimo. The leader believed that he would spend the next to years on a reservation in Florida, but the U.S. interred him as a prisoner of war for the rest of his life.
Geronimo was shown off at events, fairs, and Wild West exhibitions, and in spite of his POW status he was allowed to make money from selling his own photos. If these chiefs knew how the next few decades would shake out it's likely that they would have handled it differently.
A soldier's face before and after the war: 1941 vs. 1945
The horrors of war can change a person. In only a few short years Evgeny Stepanovich Kobytev went from being a young man with dreams of painting landscapes with a degree from the Kyiv State Institute in Ukraine to a POW searching for a way to escape from a German prison camp.
In 1941, Kobytev was wounded in battle and taken as a prisoner of war to the "Khorol pit," one of the most brutal German camps of the war, a place that claimed the lives of 90,000 civilians. Kobytev suffered through two years in the camp before escaping to rejoin the army and spending the rest of the war fighting to liberate cities in the Ukraine that where occupied by Germany.
The 1959 Volkswagen came with an optional coffee machine
Long before Volkswagen was out here selling Beetles, Jetta's, and Golfs they were trying to market cars through adding on coffee machines. You know how when you're speeding down the autobahn you're always in the mood for a hot cup of coffee.
The 1959 VW bug looks to be one of the few versions of the car that came with this addition, but it's not their only foray into the food world. Volkswagen also sells sausages, which the company refers to as the most produced of any of their parts. The company even gave sausages a part number: 199 398 500 A.
Between 2009 and 2018 Volkswagen produced 6.81 million sausages, which made it the most produced part in the industry.
One of the earliest photos of a surfer at Waikiki Beach, carrying an alaia board in 1898
Surf culture is something that's mysterious and exotic, even if it's happening in our back yards. While the sport came to prominence in America in the 1960s, it's something that's been going on since people were able to put boards in the water.
Mark Twain - yes he of Huckleberry Finn fame - was one of the earliest writers who covered surfing. In a travelogue titled "Roughing It," Twain writes about the beauty of Hawaii and the grandeur of watching someone surf through a living, breathing ocean. He writes:
In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell! It did not seem that a lightning express-train could shoot along at a more hair-lifting speed.
I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself. The board struck the shore in three-quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me. None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.
Samuel H Reshevsky, an 8 year old prodigy, played chess with several masters. He defeated them all. France, 1920
At four years old Samuel Reshevsky started playing chess, two years later he was already playing simultaneous games against adults, and by the age of eight he was taking on master chess players. When World War I broke out across Europe he immigrated to America and began playing simultaneous exhibitions in with officers at West Point.
In his first West Point exhibition he won 19 games and drew one before going on tour to play over 1,500 games. He only lost eight games throughout this manic series of exhibitions.
Even though his young life was weirdly successful, he never became a professional chess player. Instead he gave up the game to go to school for accounting at the University of Chicago.
Hattie McDaniel accepting her Oscar in a segregated "No Blacks" hotel in Los Angeles for her role in Gone with the Wind. She is the first Black American to win an Oscar.
Following the break out success of Gone With The Wind, Hattie McDaniel was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award at the 12th annual Academy Awards - one of 13 nominations for the film.
Held at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in The Ambassador Hotel, McDaniel wasn't allowed to sit at a table with the rest of the cast and producers, but instead she was placed at a table in the back because of the hotel's strict no-blacks policy. The only reason she was allowed to be in the building is thanks to producer David O. Selznick who called in a special favor. McDaniel won the award that night and in her speech she stated:
I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope that I shall always be a credit to my race and the motion picture industry.
Archaeologists in Ukraine excavate a hut made from Mammoth bones (1966)
Huts tend to be made of animals pelts, right? Well according to this shot from the Upper Paleolithic Mammoth Bone Settlement in Ukraine, this 15,000 year old settlement was made of 149 bones and it made up four huts in total.
Located about 10 miles from the Dnieper river in central Ukraine, Mezhirich overlooks the Ros and Rosava Rivers, and it's one of the most well preserved sites of its type ever discovered.
When they were discovered, the mammoth bones structure were separated from one another by about 40 feet and arranged in a V-shaped patterns, they're proof of our earliest forms of neighborhoods. It's cool to know that we've always grouped together in small collections.
American soldiers headed to Oran, Algeria during Operation Torch, 1942.
This haunting photo shows a real, rare look into World War II, one that's nothing like what we think of the war actually looking like. Whenever we see a film about this war the soldiers always look so much older, but in reality these were children going into what was likely their doom.
The young soldier that's straight in the center of the shot looks like a boy. He can't be older than 18, it's just heartbreaking. At the time the enlistment age was 18, but young men could enlist when they were 16 or 17 if their parents signed off on it.
It's so hard to wrap our heads around these young men, basically children, going off to war and fighting through shrapnel and gun fire. We thank them, but we're worried for them just the same.
Anne Frank sunbathing (1939)
When we think about Anne Frank our minds often drift to her time hiding from the Nazis and the diary which she wrote. And it makes sense why we think of her in this era. She was a beacon of light in an extremely dark time, even though she lost her life to the Nazis in the Bergen-Belsen camp in 1945.
We often forget that she was just a young girl who loved to do what a lot of young women do. She liked to go to the beach, she liked to read, and she was clearly fond of laughter. More than giving a new side to Frank, this photo adds an upsetting wrinkle to her life.
What could she have done had she been allowed to live her life without being persecuted for her religion?
Lonnie Johnson He is a NASA rocket scientist, nuclear engineer and an inventor with over 100 patents
Now THIS is what a rocket scientist looks like. Lonnie Johnson worked for NASA, he's a nuclear engineer, and he's an inventor who created the Super Soaker. Of course this super cool guy invented the most glorious toy of the 1990s.
Johnson says that he invented the Super Soaker on accident while working on an idea for an improved heat pump. After the invention sprung a leak and shot a spray of water across the room he figured it would make a great squirt gun. While speaking in AMA on Reddit, Johnson encouraged young people interested in being inventors to keep working and not give up no matter how much failure they faced. He wrote:
My advice for kids who are inspiring inventors is to persevere. Don't give up your visions and the things that you want to make sometimes only you can see them. Only you can realize what potential impact it could have. When I built my first robot it was with an erector set and I think I may have been about 6 years old at the time.
Butcher Shop in England (1938) 🍖
Today when you go into a butcher shop it's clean, you take a ticket from the ticket thing, and you can point at what you want as it sits in a nice spot behind glass, that wasn't the case in 1938.
In the early 20th century you could still point at what you wanted, clearly, but things were a little less antiseptic. Chickens, pheasants, and whatever else that was ready that day was available was hung up to dry. So why were butcher shops decorated with carcasses? Likely because that was the only way to store everything.
On top of that, most butcher shops didn't keep old stock because there was no way to preserve their meat so this stuff wasn't hanging on the side of a building for days on end, it was usually there for hours at the longest. Still, imagine seeing this in the middle of your town today.
Delivering ice during World War I from an ice wagon, 1918
Ice was big business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at the time no one had freezers that could cube it, crush it, or even form it out of frozen water. People who wanted ice had to order a brick and wait for it to be delivered.
The most prominent ice manufacturer of the 19th century was Frederic Tudor, who harvested ice from frozen ponds in New England and shipped it around the world. The ice industry eventually evolved into a 90,000 person strong business, but during World War I all of the men who worked this vaulted job were off at war. Women took over in their stead and delivered ice across the country.
Of course, following World War I the ice industry completely melted once refrigeration and cooling systems became a thing, and by the 1930s there was no need for ice deliveries.
Jim Thorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation from Oklahoma and an Olympic gold medalist
What do you think of when you think of an Olympic athlete? Super human abilities? Hard work? How about mismatched shoes? Look closer at Thorpe's shoes and you'll see just how committed he was to performing in the Olympics.
Thorpe is wearing two different shoes because he had to improvise following the theft of his shoes before he competed in the track and field competition in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. No one knows who stole his shoes, but Thorpe managed to borrow one shoe from a teammate and dig another out of the trash. Why his teammate only lent him one shoe is another mystery. The Smithsonian describes his victory:
Thorpe began the Olympics by crushing the field in the now-defunct pentathlon, which consisted of five events in a single day. He placed first in four of them, dusting his competition in the 1,500-meter run by almost five seconds.
In spite of his overall trouncing of the competition, Thorpe wouldn't appear on a Wheaties box until 2001 following a massive letter writing campaign.
Conversation pits of the 1970s
Chatting, catching up, just saying hey, all of those things happened in the 1970s, but if you wanted to have a real conversation then you needed to do it correctly - in a conversation pit. Even if you didn't grow up with one of these bad boys in your home, you lusted after them, they're just so cool.
As all trends must do, the conversation pit phased out of existence for a few reasons, they're hard to clean and they're super dangerous. They caused so much harm that Time Magazine published an article called "Fall of the Pit," in 1964 that read in part:
At cocktail parties, late-staying guests tended to fall in. Those in the pit found themselves bombarded with bits of hors d'oeuvres from up above, looked out on a field of trouser cuffs, ankles and shoes. Ladies shied away from the edges, fearing up-skirt exposure. Bars or fencing of sorts had to be constructed to keep dogs and children from daily concussions.
Loggers stand on heaps of cut trees in rural New York which were felled by hand, 1907
Long before chainsaws and massive mechanized tools became the norm for the logging industry, lumberjacks used rudimentary tools as well as a strict division of labor in order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. The men in this photo had to use their own physical prowess as well as extremely sharp saws in order to bring down trees.
In order to bring down a mass of trees, lumberjacks separated into different groups. "Fallers" cut down trees with axes and saws before removing their limbs before "buckers" cut the trees into logs. In some instances the logs would be added to log flumes or a rail road transportation system.
This occurred when these physical jobs were incredibly physical, and when lumberjacks really were some of the toughest guys on the planet.
An Inuit man in Greenland warms up his wife’s feet, 1890s
The Inuits of Greenland have been encountered Anglo Saxon people since way back in 984 (that's triple digits) when Eric the Red and his Vikings made their way to the country. The two groups must have basically gotten along because the Inuits were still around when British explorer Martin Frobisher made contact with the Inuits 600 years later.
We often think of the Inuits as a group of people who are so used to the cold that they don't even think about it. This shows that, in fact, the Inuit people are just like the rest of us and don't really love the cold. It also shows that no matter where someone is from that the love of a good partner is something that goes beyond language.
The Six Grandfathers before it was carved up to create Mount Rushmore.
Today, when we think of Mount Rushmore we imagine the faces of our forefathers forever etched in the side of the Black Hills. It's amazing to see that it was once just a beautiful mountain on the sacred land of the native people.
After gold was discovered in the land of the Lakota Sioux tribe west of the Missouri River, the U.S. government broke their treaty with the Native American people and took the Black Hills for their own. In 1890, miners and members of the Lakota Sioux tribe came to blows and the ensuing battle between the military and the native people became what we now know as the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Construction on Mount Rushmore didn't begin until October 4, 1927. Originally known as "The Six Grandfathers" by the Lakota Sioux, the United States changed the name of the mountain multiple times, from Slaughterhouse Mountain to Keystone Cliffs, it wasn't Mount Rushmore until 1930. Three years later the National Park Service took Mount Rushmore under its jurisdiction and the group went out of their way to increase tourism. In 2012 2,185,447 people visited the park.
A member of the Harlem Hellfighters (369th Infantry Regiment) poses for the camera while holding a puppy he saved during World War 1, 1918
Even though they had more combat time than any other American unit, the Harlem Hellfighters weren't actually allowed to fight with the U.S. military during World War I so this group fought alongside the French army instead.
Today it's hard to comprehend that the U.S. military would refuse to allow anyone to fight who's ready and willing to give their lives for freedom, but in the early 20th century the world was just that backwards. The Hellfighters wanted to fight, and they were accepted by the French with open arms.
The Harlem Hellfighters fought fearlessly for a world where racial bias was erased, but when they returned they were barely celebrated. There was a small welcome parade, but it was overshadowed by one of the worst summers of racial violence since the Civil War. It's only now that their hard work is being recognized.
German prisoners of war in American camps react to footage of The Holocaust, 1945
One of the biggest parts of World War II was the denazification of German POWS, something that the American government took seriously. One of the major ways in which the military tried to make members of the German military put down their allegiances was to show them scenes filmed at concentration camps, images that no one wants to see.
This photo shows a group of German POWs being forced to watch the horror that they helped bring into being. At the time it was unclear as to whether or not they knew what was happening in the camps, but today it's hard to think that anyone could be so blind to what was going on.
Those who were forced to watch concentration camp footage got off relatively easily, another form of denazification was to dig graves for the bodies of concentration camp internees, which some German townspeople were forced to do.
Imagine being born in the early 1900s...
More so than any other generation, the group of people who were born right around the 1900s faced more hardships that we can imagine today. Not only were they born right before the Great Depression sent the stock market crashing and put everyone out of a job, but they were also coming of age as World War I was beginning.
Not only were they faced with the economic hardships of the Great Depression, and the possibility of losing their lives while fighting in Europe, but the flu of 1918 and 1919 claimed thousands of lives in America and millions across the world. By the time those people made it to their 40s they were out of the Depression but they were living at the onset of World War II, there was just no end to the hardships that these people faced and yet we rarely talk about it.
An armless man and a leg-less man riding a tandem bicycle (1890s)
This surreal photograph may look like a set up, but it was actually taken during an improvisational moment of levity during a strange photo shoot. In 1890, Charles B. Tripp, the armless man and Eli Bowen, the legless man, were posing for a collection of promotional photographs when they noticed a tandem bicycle in the distance.
The two men got to the bike and started riding it around like children. They laughed like school boys and rode around having a great time. Of course, the photos snapped while they were riding the bike became the ones used in the promo.
Tripp was born without arms and learned to use his feet to perform everyday tasks before joining Barnum's Great Traveling World's Fair where he worked for 23 years before working with Ringling for 12 more. Tripp's performance were made up of the man performing everyday tasks, be it shaving, photography, or calligraphy, with his feet.
Bowen was born with his feet attached to his pelvis, albeit without leg bones. After learning to walk with his hands he became a professional carnival persona when he was only 13 years old. He became a well known tumbler and acrobat who made more than $100 a week in the later 19th century and early 20th century.
Behind the scenes of Steven Spielberg’s JAWS, 1975
Dun-Dun, Dun-Dun, Dun-Dun Dun-Dun Dun-Dun okay you get it. Looking back at the making of Jaws now, it's hard to imagine that Steven Spielberg and his crew thought that they didn't have magic on film. However, while shooting the movie the shark, which weighed 1.2 tons and measured 25 feet in length, barely worked.
The shark, Bruce, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a piece and it barely worked. On the first day of filming with Bruce it sank to the bottom of Nantucket Sound, in less than a week saltwater destroyed its motor. The crew spent every night draining, scrubbing, and repainting the shark. Spielberg had to figure out how to make Jaws without his shark. When asked about how he went ahead with the film he just did what Hitchcock would do. He explained:
I had no choice but to figure out how to tell the story without the shark. So I just went back to Alfred Hitchcock: ‘What would Hitchcock do in a situation like this?’ ... It’s what we don’t see which is truly frightening.
Driving class in Kenya, 1943
Everyone who grew up in the 20th century remembers the indignity of having to take a driving class. The weekend hours spent in a high school parking lot, bumping into cones, and taking instructions from a teacher who really doesn't want to be there.
As much of a drag as that was, its nothing compared to taking a driving course in Kenya. At the students were tasked with balancing rocks on their heads to keep them from looking down when they changed gears, which is definitely one way to do it.
No matter how much you couldn't stand your driving instructor, there's no way your lessons were this bad.
In 19th century England, wealthy farmers would commission paintings of their cows, pigs and sheep as a way to flex their wealth and status
Well these are certainly some chonky boys aren't they? Without social media, in the 19th century wealthy farmers wanted everyone to know that they were at the top of the pig farming game by investing in paintings that made their livestock look like massive balloons that also happened to be pigs, but they weren't just hiring painters to do their dirty work - they were also practicing early forms of eugenics.
Farmers experimented with selective breeding and new feeding practices in order to increase the size of their animals to not only increase the size of their animals but to make a steady food supply for the population. But they weren't just trying to help feed people, farmers made more money with larger animals, hence showing off their bulbous livestock.
Members of the Blackfoot tribe in Glacier National Park, 1913
Taken by photographer Roland W. Reed, this photo shows members of the Blackfoot tribe in the middle of the U.S. government's forced assimilation of the group. In 1898 tribal governments and indigenous religions were outlawed across the board, and Blackfoot children were sent to schools where their native tongue was outlawed. It's hard to think about something like happening now without a pile of lawsuits raining from the sky.
About a decade later, the U.S. government handed over 160s acres of land to members of the tribe in order to incentive farming, but the land was nowhere near as good as it should have been, and after a major drought in 1919 many of the tribe's crops were completely destroyed, causing the Blackfoot to sell their land back to the government at a major loss.
Today, the tribe is attempting to open their own national park to protect its natural resources and provide new economic opportunities to its members, something that the U.S. government couldn't do for them. Loren BirdRattler, project manager for the Blackfeet Nation’s ambitious Agricultural Resource Management Plan explained:
When you think about how we utilize our ecology to augment our lives and practice traditions of the Blackfeet people, those would not only be preserved, but would also underwrite other efforts in cultural preservation.
Halloween in the 1930s
No, this isn't a still from The Wicker Man it's just a shot of normal holiday celebrations during the Depression. Trick or treating was just becoming a thing at this time, and in order to meet demands for children who wanted to go hunting for candy in costume, companies like A.S. Fishbach began mass producing costumes.
Many of those costumes were fairly bare bones; whether they were a clown costume or something else basic, but many of these masks look home made and genuinely creepy.
Looking at this photo today it's strange to imagine people going out and walking amongst one another and exchanging candy without sanitizing their hands and wearing masks under their masks... we live in strange times.
In 1937, goalkeeper Sam Bartram was left alone on the pitch for 15 minutes after a soccer match was canceled due to heavy fog, is this an image of that player?
It's a bizarre story, one of weather that's so intense that you can't make heads or tails of what you're seeing, and one where soccer teams agree to play without being able to see. But even more bizarre is how this story continues to grow with the wrong photo.
The folks over at Snopes have done the hard work in tracking down the reality of this photo, and it wasn't taken in 1937. Now, in '37 a goalkeeper named Sam Bartram did play a Christmas Day match where he was lost in the fog for 15 minutes after the rest of the players vacated the pitch, but that's not what this photo shows. This image is from a different game altogether.
This shot shows Arsenal goalkeeper Jack Kelsey in the middle of a foggy match in 1954. The game was canceled, but he made it off the pitch with the rest of his team.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon in 1969
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon, allowing astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin to plant the American flag on the surface of the moon. Even though this is an image that we know, but according to Aldrin the trip to the moon was a massive group effort that came along with a dress rehearsal at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Even with a ton of protocols in place, Armstrong admitted to NPR that he broke out of the basic structured walking area in order to take care of some of his own photographic business on the moon. He wrote:
Preflight planners wanted us to stay in TV range so that they could learn from our results how they could best plan for future missions. I candidly admit that I knowingly and deliberately left the planned working area out of TV coverage to examine and photograph the interior crater walls for possible bedrock exposure or other useful information. I felt the potential gain was worth the risk.
Scuba divers in the 1940s
Going scuba diving in the 1940s was nothing like scuba diving today. You can go get certified and be diving in no time if you want, but in the '40s you not only had to be a good swimmer but you had to know how to work some pretty cumbersome equipment.
For instance, these pieces of scuba equipment look like they're going to either turn you into a buoy or make you sink straight to the bottom of the ocean. Scuba gear wouldn't really be revolutionized until Jacque Cousteau worked with compressed gas engineer Emile Gagnan to create the Aqua-Lung, a creation that set the precedent for scuba gear today.
The prediction in the article was made in 1953, when households were using rotary phones that were plugged into walls
It's wild to think that someone in 1953 was able to accurately describe what life is like today. At the time this article was treated like it was science fiction, or the ramblings of someone wearing a tinfoil hat. In fact, the writer of this article was spot on.
One of the most fascinating things about this article is the way in which the writer essentially describes Apple Watches with the phrase, "the telephone will be carried about by the individual, perhaps as we carry a watch today. It probably will require no dial..."
Some people just have their fingers on the pulse of technology, it's only that their vision requires far too much foresight.
This is a photo of Gordon, an enslaved man, shortly after he arrived at a Union camp in Baton Rouge, 1863.
Gordon may look cool, calm, and collected, but he's fresh off of a major escape from the south that nearly cost his life. After receiving a series of whippings that were so severe that his back was permanently scarred he decided to get off the plantation.
In order to escape he rubbed his body with onions to throw off any blood hounds who were tracking him. The trek to the Union camp took 10 days and he covered 40 miles on foot. When the soldiers inspected the scarring on his back they noted:
Suiting the action to the word, he pulled down the pile of dirty rags that half concealed his back. It sent a thrill of horror to every white person present, but the few Blacks who were waiting… paid but little attention to the sad spectacle, such terrible scenes being painfully familiar to them all.
Transporting a circus elephant, early 1930s
There's probably no good way to move an elephant, right? In a perfect world we'd let them roam free across the plain and not try to carry them into buildings or other spaces not generally created for a large pachyderm. But, that's not the world we live in.
Unfortunately, this barbaric way of moving an elephant with a rope and pulley system connected to a crane isn't the most gruesome of conditions to which elephants and other circus animals are subjected. To this day many circus animals are beaten and confined when they're not in the middle of a show.
Not every animal trainer mistreats their elephants, many of them love and care for the animals which they've been entrusted, but this kind of abuse still happens. It's sad that we haven't come much further.
Wearing masks with a smidge of social distancing
Taken at a 1918 Georgia Tech home game at Grant Field in Atlanta, aside from the sepia tone and early 20th century clothing this photo looks like it could have been taken today. In 1918 and 1919 a flu pandemic spread across the globe much like it has today, and the only way to make sure that the germs didn't spread was through wearing a mask and staying physically distant from other people, sound familiar?
The folks in this photo are clearly masked up, but it looks like all manner of social distancing has gone out the window. Maybe they're all in a bubble together.
The flu of 1918 came in four waves that finally ended in 1920 after claiming the lives of millions of people around the world. Somehow, even though the flu claimed as many lives as an actual war, it slipped from our minds.