Rarely Seen Photographs Captured More Than You Already Know
By | November 29, 2022
This collection of rarely seen photographs capture a different side to history than you already know...with the advancement of modern technology, the photos from the past reveal more than we ever original expected to see.
Take a closer look...now that they’re rendered in gorgeous color they’re no longer just photographs, but fully fledged true life moments in time. This personally selected collection of vintage photos that have been transformed from black and white to color will show you what life was really like in the past.
When black and white photos are colorized the process doesn’t just change the way they look, it adds a level of detail that puts everything into a different perspective.
Every one of those beautiful colorized photos has to be seen to be believed.
No longer bound by the constraints of black and white, these gorgeous color photos capture more than expected.
There’s a camaraderie amongst circus performers. Not only do you have the same job, but you’re on the road together for months out of the year. You become one another’s family, so when someone asks you to help them put their makeup on you don’t even think about it, you just do it.
We don’t know much about Harriet Hodgdini, although she comes from a circus family. Her father was Albert Hodgdini, one of the members of the Houdini family circus troupe as well as the originator of "the Original Miss Daisy" with Ringling Brothers. The man she’s making up is Otto Griebling, one of the four clowns to receive the title “Master Clown.” Griebling actually studied under Hodgini’s father after coming to the U.S. from Germany.
By 1935 Griebling’s act was less high flying thanks to a back injury that suffered mid-stunt. From then on he performed as a silent tramp clown as he continued his time with the Hodgini family.
Seeing a vision of the old circus days is enough to make our hearts flutter. When you could toss down a few bits and see some of the world’s most outrageous performers. There were all manner of tents, snacks, and some times animals, it was truly an amazing sight to behold.
Even though these brave men are floating into an uncertain future it’s clear that they’re in high spirits. Operation Torch was a plan to draw Axis forces away from the Eastern Front in order to give the members of the Soviet army a break from battling the Axis.
At the time the British didn’t want Americans to land in Europe, they thought it would be disastrous for the war to do so in such early stages. The members of the Allies compromised and the Americans landed in Northern Africa.
Thanks to Operation Torch American and British forces finally had the offensive following three years of German and Italian forces dictating the tempo of events.
We should have known that when Mark Twain said, “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats,” that something was up. More often than not photos of Twain show him as a wily, white haired elder statesman of the written word, but this photo supposes that he was actually a ginger.
It’s fascinating to think that such a small detail can change the way we think about a person, especially an extremely important historical figure. When black and white photos are colorized it adds an entirely new level of detail that puts life into an entirely different perspective. What do you think Twain would think of seeing himself like this?
Ernest Hemingway and his son Gregory, Sun Valley, Idaho. October, 1941 ☀️
The youngest son of Ernest Hemingway, Gregory was every bit the spitting image of his father when he was just a boy. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gregory was said to be a great athlete and a “crack shot,” it makes sense as he grew up the son of one of the most macho writers of the 20th century.
Gregory and his father often decamped to the Club de Cazadores in Cuba where they went shooting for live pigeons. When he wasn’t vacationing in Cuba with his father he was attending the Canterbury School, a Catholic prep school in Connecticut, where he graduated in 1949.
Sadly, he and his father were estranged following Gregory’s first marriage, although he’s said to have enjoyed his father’s portrayal of him in 1970's Islands in the Stream.
To be a pilot during wartime is to look death in the face and dare it to give you a try. It’s not a task for the faint a heart, and it’s one of those positions that almost insures loss of life or at the very least an injury.
Sergeant James Hyde gave his life fighting for freedom during World War II, and even if you ignore the fact that he had to leave his little doggo buddy in the care of someone else it’s sad to think that his family was never able to see him again. The knowledge that Hyde is forever a war hero must have brought some solace, but it’s still heartbreaking to think about all the men we lost during such an awful war.
There’s no type of person who symbolized an entire generation as much as the flapper. These young women loved to dance, and embraced a culture of freedom that many older people felt was outrageous at the time.
Flappers pushed everything they could to the limit, from the concept about how someone should behave in public (especially women), to the mores surrounding sexual freedom in a decade when people were incredibly buttoned up.
These women were famous for the outfits, with flapper dresses revealing a woman’s calves (gasp!) and containing plunging necklines that showed off more than polite society was used to.
A Women Air Force Service Pilot during World War 2
Now this is a cool shot. During World War II, the WASPs (that’s Women Airforce Service Pilots) were tasked with taking noncombat military flights, making them the first women to take charge of U.S. military aircraft. There were about 1,100 of them in all.
The WASPs logged more than 60 million miles in the skky behind every possible military aircraft. They were living proof that women can do everything that men can - and look better doing it.
After England insured a victory over Germany in December 1944 the WASP program was dismantled, but people never forgot the importance that these women played in the final World War.
Oldest photo of a tornado, 1884
This is truly a sight to behold. Taking photos of tornadoes is somewhat common place today, and it has been since the late 20th century as daredevils and thrill seekers throw themselves into harm’s way to get a great shot. On top of that, thanks to modern photography technology it’s easier to get a clear photo of a tornado without fear of getting hurt.
That wasn’t the case in 1884. There were no technologically advanced zooms or digital wizardry to help a photographer get the perfect shot. In the late 19th century a person with a camera had to know exactly what they were doing while focusing on the light and the elements.
With that photographic acumen, a photographer was able to snap this shot that shows a twisting tornado in all of its eerie glory.
Mr.Rogers breaking the color barrier by inviting Officer Clemmons to join him to cool his feet in a pool, 1969
If you spent your childhood watching Mr. Rogers (and really, who didn’t?) then you remember. Officer Clemmons. He was a kind hearted police officer who often stopped by the neighborhood to check in and see how everyone was doing.
When Clemmons appeared on the program in 1969 it was the first time that a black character had a recurring role on a children’s series. Even though this was a huge deal, something that established a positive portrayal of a black authority figure on television, Clemmons was unsure about accepting the role. He explained:
Fred came to me and said, ‘I have this idea, you could be a police officer.’ That kind of stopped me in my tracks. I grew up in the ghetto. I did not have a positive opinion of police officers. Policemen were sicking police dogs and water hoses on people. And I really had a hard time putting myself in that role. So I was not excited about being Officer Clemmons at all.
Is there anything better than trimming the tree at Christmas time? Sure, the presents are great, but the best part of the holiday is all the buildup. The caroling, the hot cocoa, and catching up with friends and family… isn’t that what the holidays are really about?
The holidays must have been so much fun in the early 20th century. With the family gathered around a crackling fire and a real tree, the smell of spices in the air, if we could go back we definitely would.
The Edwardian era was a special time, with a peaceful mood across the world and a fashion sense that can’t be ignored it really does seem like the perfect time for wintry bliss.
Berlin 1961, Escape to the West
When the Berlin Wall went up, splitting east and west Germany, it felt as if the country would never come back together. Border police like the man stationed here were tasked with taking out anyone who attempted to escape to the west, but that just made the border police themselves want to escape.
On August 15, 1961, 19 year old Conrad Schumann put a plan worthy of the cinema into action. After contacting the police in West Germany he arranged for a car to wait for him on the other side of the barbed wire fence he was guarding. At 4 p.m. he jumped the fence and barreled into the car, by the time the other guards turned around he was already gone.
Schumann spent the rest of 1961 in a refugee center before moving to Bavaria. His story inspired so many of those in East Berlin to seek their own freedom.
Night fishing in Hawaii, 1948
Now this is what the colorizing process was made for. As cool as this photo must look in black and white, it doesn’t hold a candle (or a giant torch) to this gorgeous shot.
The Hawaiian people have been spear fishing for generations, with many young people learning from their family, like their parents did before them. Even the most trained fisherman has to be confident to go fishing at night like this no matter how shallow the water.
Night fishermen light their trips and draw in fish with the light of kukui-nut torches crafted from coconut leaves attached to homemade poles. In order to get a more brilliant flame fishermen burned the nuts in a large piece of bamboo.
A kitten on a water lily pad in the Philippines, 1935
This isn’t photo trickery (aside from the whole colorization thing), that’s really a cat walking along a lily pad. While we tend to think of lily pads as these dainty things, Victoria lily pads are extremely thick and can grow up to six feet in diameter.
At the time of their discovery by the English, they were referred to as “A Vegetable Wonder!” and a race to cultivate the plants was set off in England - it took more than a decade before anyone could actually get one to grow.
These plants grow naturally in areas along the Amazon and their leaves are strong enough to hold up a human child, which is kind of awesome but also don’t go sitting your babies on these bad boys… just in case.
Harriet Tubman's Last Portrait, 1911
Harriet Tubman was a special kind of person. Not only was she incredibly smart, but she was brave, and knew that she was put on this Earth to make sure every person of color had a chance to live a free life.
After running away from her plantation in 1844 Tubman resolved to return to the south as often as she could in order to help rescue anyone who was brave enough to ride with her, even when she had a $40,000 reward on her head. All in all she made 19 trips to slave country 1860, making her one of the most important figures of the civil war.
Following the war she settled down in Auburn, New York, where she spent the rest of her life. She passed away in 1913 at the age of 93.
Five year old Albert Einstein, 1884
Born in Germany, Einstein was a math whiz from an early age, proving himself to be heads and tails above students his age and even adults. Less a smarty pants and more of a child savant, Einstein was teaching himself Algebra and Euclid geometry before he was a teenager.
Einstein wasn’t just interested in math. At the same time that he was diving headfirst into the waters of advanced calculus (around the age of 12) he was also becoming interested in philosophy, and he formed the belief that the universe was built on a mathematical foundation.
It’s amazing to think that this young child had so much going on his head, if only he knew what he would really do.
African American tavern in Chicago, Illinois, April 1941
Taken on April 6, 1941, at Tony’s Tavern in Chicago, Illinois. The club sat at the heart of the Bronzeville neighborhood, giving African Americans a place to go that was all their own. At the time, Jim Crow laws in the south kept people of color apart from white’s only establishments, and even though Chicago was firmly in the north, an unspoken version of the laws existed.
The club hosted some of the biggest music legends of the 20th century, from Duke Ellington to Louis Armstrong. On the menu, items like gumbo and fried shrimp were ready to feed hungry customers.
It’s amazing to see a place like this is stunning technicolor, it’s a shame that it’s no longer standing.
Robert Redford, 1973
This shot from 1973 shows Robert Redford decked out to the nines for his performance in The Sting, his second team up with Paul Newman after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
According to Redford, the studio didn’t really want him for the role in Butch, but by the time of The Sting it was Paul Newman that they didn’t want. He told Esquire:
What was really fascinating was that when we did Butch Cassidy, the studio didn't want me. After the success of that, my name rose. Paul hadn't done so well in his last few films, so when we came to The Sting, the studio wanted me but they weren't willing to pay Paul the amount that he was requiring. I was able to give over some of my points to him so he could come in the movie. Because what remained was just the friendship.
Nicholas II - Last Tzar of Russia, poses for a quick shot
The final Emperor of All Russia reigned from 1894 to 1917, and even though he was solid royalty it’s clear that he’s just as amazed with photography as we are. Doesn’t this pose look familiar? Who hasn’t leaned into a shot and stared straight down the barrel for the perfect photo bomb?
Much of Nicholas’ life was spent carrying out the important job of overseeing Russia, but he liked to have fun when he could. He looks like he was quite the ham in spite of his royal trappings.
It would be fascinating to see if there are more shots of European royalty acting like regular people. After all, aren’t they just like us?
Ford Model T - U.S. Postal Service Truck, 1925
Even though automobiles have been around since the late 19th century it’s not like postal drivers in the early 1920s were all ace drivers. They had a lot on their minds: where the mail was going, stamps, the Great Depression, you can’t expect them to be thinking of all that AND keep their eyes on the road, can you?
This is one of those scenes that was likely a regular thing in the 1920s, and it wasn’t just happening to post office workers. People all over the city were smacking their new cars into trees with little regard for safety.
Still, we hope that everyone was okay following this incident and that the mail made it to its destination on time.
James Meredith, the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi, is escorted through campus by the US Marshals
In 1962 James Meredith became the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi. Following nine years in the United States Air Force he should have been able to write his ticket to any university, but once the registrar at the University of Mississippi discovered that he was black, his admission was revoked.
When the University was forced to allow Meredith to attend he found that the doors were literally blocked when he arrived. A riot broke out when he appeared, and Attorney general Robert Kennedy sent in 500 U.S. Marshals to keep the peace while Meredith attempted to attend school.
In 1963, Meredith graduated with a degree in political science. He wrote an account of his experience, and went on to become extremely active in politics until 1991.
The raucous October Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin, 1917
1917 was a year vast change for the Russian people. Revolution took hold of the country and brought an end to centuries of imperial rule, leading to what we now know as the Soviet Union. The country was primed for social upheaval, mass unrest was prepared to boil over and Vladimir Lenin was ready to light the fire.
October of that year saw the Bolshevik Party enact a bloodless coup against Russia’s provisional government. Rather than lead members of the working class into battle Lenin whipped them into a fury before taking over government buildings and occupying strategic places in Petrograd.
It wasn’t long before the world’s first communist government was formed with Lenin at its head.
Tailoring students at a trade school. Sweden, 1955
This young man looks like he’s got it all figured out. In the mid century people across the world knew that it was important to have a trade, be it woodworking, plumbing, or tailoring - to be needed was a wonderful thing.
Tailoring is one of those things that we don’t think about… at least until we need a suit with the perfect cut. Most people don’t have an “off the rack” size, and need to have their clothing fit to their specifications. Without tailors we’d all be wearing weird baggy clothing.
In the 1950s it was extremely important to know a good tailor. There were far less articles of clothing in the world, and having something hand made was a way of life.
Albert Woolson, last surviving Civil War veteran ever, enlisting at 14 and dying at 106 in 1956
As atrocious as war is, it’s amazing to think that someone who served in the Civil War could be alive into the middle of the 20th century. Doesn’t time just blow your mind? As a teen Woolson enlisted as a drummer boy in Company C, 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment on October 10, 1864. He was discharged nearly a year later and spent the rest of his life in Minnesota.
Imagine his wonder at the way life changed from the 19th century to the 20th century. Woolson saw the advent of automobiles, electricity, motion pictures, and even television. When he passed away in 1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower said:
The American people have lost the last personal link with the Union Army... His passing brings sorrow to the hearts of all of us who cherished the memory of the brave men on both sides of the War Between the States.
A Sicilian farmer showing to an American soldier where the Germans retreated, August 1943
During World War II no one liked the Germans (no surprises there), but people of Italy seriously hated the fact that Nazis were occupying their countryside. Even though Italian fascists once supported Germany, but by 1943 Mussolini’s former chief of staff, Gen. Pietro Badoglio was over it. He was in the middle of negotiating a conditional surrender with General Eisenhower and setting up a new Italian government.
Even with the help of the Italian people it wasn’t easy to get through their country to recapture Rome from the Germans. There was bad weather, and on top of that the Allies began their operation so far south that they had to cover most of the country on foot.
Eventually, the Allied troops took Rome and helped bring Italy out of his life of fascism.
The Final Photo...
This really says it all, doesn’t it? It’s clear from this shot that John, George, Paul, and Ringo are completely over being in The Beatles. Not only are they dressed completely differently than one another, a subtle hint at the way they’ve grown apart, but they don’t look happy to be around one another.
Think about photos of The Beatles from early in their career. The young lads from Liverpool looked as if they had the world on a saucer and they were ready to drink it up. In this final photo it’s as if they’d all rather be somewhere else.
In their final performance the boys put on quite a show at the top of Apple Records, but that was it. No goodbye, no see you later, these four groundbreaking artists just went their separate ways.
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 not only shows the loneliness of the member of a soccer team who’s tasked with waiting at the net for action, but Kelsey’s dedication to the game.
Waiting in the fog for a ball that may never come doesn’t really sound like a lot of fun, but if it’s what you have to do to win the game you plant your feet in the ground and try to make sure you don’t get blindsided.
Thankfully this game was called because of the thick fog surrounding the pitch, but we’re wondering why even begin the game in the first place?
Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, the only time they met, while attending a Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964
It’s truly wild to think that two of the biggest names in the Civil Rights movement only met one time and that it was at a debate for the very thing they were working for. Both of these giants of Civil Rights would be cut down in their prime, but in 1964 they were still pleased about the progress they achieved in the face of an insurmountable enemy.
King and X were philosophically at odds with one another for many years of their lives, but they both held a deep respect for each other and recognized that they were both fighting for the same thing, just in different ways. Think of what they could have accomplished if they were allowed to truly flourish.
Family portrait after World War I
This is a truly sad photo. With 20 million casualties in World War I it’s the sad truth of the matter that many families were left without husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. Those whose boys returned to them after the war counted their blessings.
When a massive loss of life like this occurs it’s hard to quantify the pain that’s caused, especially on a personal level. Photos like this show that even though someone is gone they’re not forgotten.
It may seem strange to us now, but this mother and son were honoring their lost loved one in the only way they could.
Japanese girls enjoying their first snowfall, 1950
Do you remember the first time you saw snow? If you were an adult it probably wasn’t as special as it would be if you experienced snowfall as a child, but it’s amazing none the less.
More so than any other kind of weather, snow brings out the child like wonder in all of us. It begs us to stick out our tongues and dive into the soft icy hills that form as we sleep. And if there are enough friends on board you can even throw it around.
These two gals are the perfect age for their first experience with snow. They’re young enough to be amazed and old enough to remember it for the rest of their lives.
San Antonio farmer Sam Smith celebrates the rain on Easter, March 24, 1951, after a severe drought in Texas
There’s nothing better than the breaking of the seal after a long drought. Especially in Texas, where temperatures can grow beyond 100 degrees and bake every plant and tree across the state, rain is amazing thing to feel.
Even on those hot summer days when the rain is as warm as the air it still feels like a miracle after days without precipitation. For farmers, the rain is necessity to their way of life, and as trite as that might sound when they aren’t able to produce food we aren’t able to eat.
The look of happiness on this man’s face says it all, He’s grateful for everything that nature’s given him… even if he’s had to wait for way too long.
A photographer's portrait in a mirror, a hundred years ago in Japan, 1920
Isn’t it astounding to see that we’ve always enjoyed taking photos of ourselves and capturing a moment in time forever? Even before cameras were invented people were painting themselves and doing their best to say “here I am.”
This shot is particularly cool because of… well, everything about it. The way it’s framed shows an intimate understanding of a aesthetics and the couple are posed perfectly. The mise en scene and focus are perfect, everything about this one hundred year old selfie says that it could have been taken today.
If only we could see what this photographer did with the rest of his life, did he get a new camera or keep this one? We’d love to know.
A young woman embraces a US soldier at a train station in New Hope, Connecticut, 1945
This really is one of the most joyous photos out there. You can see the thrill on everyone’s faces as they gaze on the happiness of this young couple as they embrace. As World War 2 came to an end in 1945 many young men returned home unsure if they’re girlfriends and wives would be waiting for them.
It’s clear that this fellow had nothing to worry about. Can you imagine what it must be like to wait years to see someone you love? With no cell phones and no email there was little more than the written word to keep a long distance couple warm on a cold night.
It warms our heart to see a couple reunited in such a grand fashion, hopefully they were never apart for such a long time again.
Ambrotype of A British veteran of the Peninsular War and his wife, 1860s
This couple may look miserable, but think about the conditions that they were under to have a photo taken in the mid 19th century. The process of taking a photo could take forever - even if it only took minutes it was the only photo you’d be taking for a while if not your entire life.
Rather than smile and risk the chance of ruining the photo with the motion of your face or being frozen in time with some weird look forever, subjects tended to sit completely still.
Ambrotypes were black and white, but more often than not people hand tinted them, which just goes to show that we’ve been colorizing photos for quite some time.
An old French couple greeting soldiers of the 308th and 166th Infantries upon their arrival during the American advance. November 6, 1918
It must be harrowing to live in the middle of a war zone, we can’t imagine the fear and panic experienced by the people who have to spend each day wondering if it’s they’re last.
Photos like this bring a smile to our face. Not because it’s cool to see them in color (which it is), but because it’s clear that this couple feels secure knowing that the American soldiers have arrived to help them out. Even if the tension is lessened for just a bit, it’s good to feel something better than terror.
Hopefully this couple made it through World War I and was able to see France get back to normal.
Hmmmm, the woman on the left doesn’t look so sure about what she’s tasting. Or maybe she’s just thinking of a clever note that she can give her friend. Whatever the case, baking is one of those things that hasn’t changed in generations.
Sure, there are more gizmos and gadgets today than there were in 1940, but it all comes down to precise measurements and the right ingredients. Without those two pieces of the puzzle all you’ve got is a big mess on your hands.
This is one thing we’d love to see more of - people getting together to make things with their hands. It not only feels good, but you’ve got a tasty treat at the end of the day.
British Columbian forest, 1950
This is one of those photos that show how little things have changed. Sure, we may travel differently, and connect with our loved ones in new and exciting ways, but people have always had a deferential love of nature. We don’t want to see something that’s so important to us get destroyed.
A sign like this is definitely kitschy in today’s standards, but it’s kind of cool to see something so blown out and kind of silly dedicated to keeping a forest safe from fires.
Although this sign does make you wonder who received the contract to build a giant cigarette to hang from a set of gallows. Hopefully someone’s still holding on to that bad boy.
Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cliff during the filming of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"
Has there ever been a cooler collection of desperadoes on the wide open range? No way. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly is one of those movies that never gets old no matter how many years pass. We can always put it on and marvel at the way westerns used to be.
For those who weren’t old enough to see the film when it was released in theaters it’s definitely remembered as a wonderful way to spend Sunday afternoons (what is it with westerns and Sundays?), hanging out with your pops and watching Clint Eastwood get one over on the bad guys.
Faroese fishermen onboard a steamer on their way home from Icelandic fishing, 1898
Talk about tough, these guys are definitely not a group of people that you want to mess with. Never mind the fact that their hats have a Smurf-like quality, they’re rough and ready and constantly doing battle with the elements.
Fishing in the chilly seas on the coast of Iceland isn’t for the weak at heart, and it’s not even for the strong at heart, it’s for fishermen who have ice in their veins.
Being away from home for so long changes you, especially when you’re stuck on a boat with a bunch of seafaring fishermen, imagine the stories that these guys have. They’ve definitely seen a few strange things in their days.
Former Slaves Freed by Union Forces During U.S Civil War, 1862
It’s impossible to put into words the importance and beauty of the soldiers who freed the slaves during the Civil War. People are born with lives to lead and they should be allowed to do so, not forced into slavery.
By 1862 the war was far from over, it raged for years but that didn’t stop Union soldiers from doing their part to make sure that the slaves they found in the south were able to leave their plantations and make their way towards a better future.
As uncertain as their lives were following their emancipation, at least their lives were their own.
Italian immigrants at Ellis Island, 1905
Packing up everything and coming to America in 1905 couldn’t have been easy, especially with a young family and the possibility that any prospects on the table would be gone by the time you arrived. Still, what else should a dreamer do? Not chase a better life?
Millions of immigrants came to America through Ellis Island, many of them had to change their names, and most of them were facing an uncertain future, but they were all looking for a better way of life. What’s more American than that?
This young family looks to be worried in the face of the new world, but they’ve got each other and that’s what counts.
Japanese Internment Camp, 1943
Life in Japanese internment camps was nothing like what most Japanese Americans were used to. Remember, prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor people of Japanese descent in America were living normal lives. They went to work, they hung out at the park - they were normal people.
By 1943, Japanese owned businesses closed, people lost their homes, and they had to quit their jobs to live as prisoners in these camps. While they weren’t physically mistreated, the entire ordeal left Japanese Americans feeling lost. They were adrift in a country that they thought belonged to them as much as anyone else.
In the camps, Japanese Americans did what they could have a normal life, but things wouldn’t return to normal until well after the war.
Shepherd of Judea, 1898.
The life of a shepherd is a lonely one. You spend your days in the fields and valleys, away from civilization with no one to keep you company aside from your flock. As peaceful as it sounds it also sounds like the solitude would drive you to tears on the wrong day.
This shot is one of the most well known pieces of the Matson photograph collection that sits in the Library of Congress, and it’s truly fascinating to see it gorgeous color like this. It actually feels like we’re in the middle of a valley, with the heat beating down on us as we tend to our sheep.
Sleeping Marine, Union Station, 1948 Photo by Esther Bubley
This soldier is a long way from home. More often than not, soldiers have to travel a great deal to get from one base to another - whether they’re going home, to train, or just whenever they’re on their way to a new base there are layovers, long flights, and miles of highway. It’s exhausting.
One of the most harrowing parts of a journey is the dead center, when you’ve already traveled a long and have miles and miles ahead of you with no end in sight. It’s times like that when you just want to sit down and take a nap no matter where you happen to be.
Standing guard at Windsor Castle in the 1960s
The guards of Windsor Castle have long held a fascination with people across the world. With their excellent posture, beefeater hats, and bright red outfits it’s hard to miss them, but it’s even harder to get them to pay attention to you… or anything really.
It may not be a 100% fact, but it feels like it’s impossible to get these guards to make any other face other than the grimace that comes when you’re in service to the Queen. Has anyone ever made one of these guys smile? If you have we want to know. What was it like? Did they throw you in the Thames afterwards?
Students learning to swim without water, England in 1920
Ah, the joy of swimming. More often than not the real fun comes with that first splash of water, the freeing feeling when your entire body is submerged, and the thrill of moving like a fish, forgetting what it’s like to be on land if only briefly.
These English students aren’t just being robbed of an important and exciting experience, but they may not even be learning how to swim. Can you master the waves with the right moves alone? Don’t you need to have an intrinsic understanding of the water?
One of the strangest things about this method is the fact that the children have to lie on top of one another in order to get away from the concrete. The whole thing seems mixed up and upside down to us.
The Photographer's assistant c.1900.
It’s unclear exactly who this man is, but it’s cool to see a person of color working in the arts in an era when many people incorrectly believed that to be an impossibility.
To work as a photographer’s assistant you not only need to have an in depth knowledge of lighting, lenses, and film, but you’ve got to be able to anticipate the photographer’s every move and need. If they want a new lens or want to try some new lightning then you need to be ready.
This assistant was obviously a favorite of his boss, why else would there such a beautifully rendered shot of him? It’s amazing to see… and even better in color.
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and King George V of the UK during the 1909 Cowes sailing regatta
Have there ever been two guys who look more like total bros than Nicholas II and King George V? These yacht buds were more than just friends, they were extremely close cousins who often referred to each other as “Georgie” and “Nicky,” which is honestly super cute.
The men looked so similar that many people thought they were brothers, and even their family members confused them. Author Dana Schwartz explains:
They were cousins who looked more like twins. [They had] the same blue eyes, same beard... when they were at events together... relatives would come up from behind with the wrong name.
U.S. Soldier resting on his final day in the hospital, tomorrow he returns to the front. France, 1918
World War I was the first time in modern history that it felt like countries across the planet were at one another’s throats. There’s no record about what this soldier was suffering from, but whatever the case he must have enjoyed the downtime if for no other reason than to get away from the terror of war.
This was the first era that the world at large recognized the idea that men who were at war experienced psychological damage from the bloodshed, today we call it PTSD but in the early 20th century it was what’s known as “shell shock.”
There was little understanding of the psychological pain that came along with serving on the front. Hopefully this young man made it home to his family without too much trouble.
U.S. soldier bidding his family farewell to fight in WWI, 1917
This collection of rarely seen photographs capture a different side to history than you already know...with the advancement of modern technology, the photos from the past reveal more than we ever original expected to see.
It’s heartbreaking to see this, a soldier leaving his young family behind to fight a war all the way in Europe, without any knowledge of when he would return home or if he would return.
With such a young family, even if he came home after the war (which he hopefully did) he would have missed so much of their young lives that he would be like a stranger. It's a tale that's played out all too often, but that's life.
Hopefully he made it home after fighting on the front and didn’t miss too many birthdays or holidays… we can tell that these kids love their dad.