Fantastic Historical Photos You Need to See

By Robin Mei - December 17, 2016

Flying With Style

Credits: Image: zocalopublicsquare.org

The 1960s, a time period when being a flight attendant was high up the list for dream career for many women. The media glamorized them as full of life, young, intelligent and happily single. These women of the air traveled the world in style and were able to visit destinations their friends and family could only dream about.

In its earlier days, air travel was usually reserved for those with cash to spare and the women who looked after them were as fashionable as a runway model. They were also expected by many airlines to retire by the age of 32

Soldier Down!

Credits: Image: ebaumsworld

It looks like an individual has fallen in the midst of a ceremony, something he won’t mind everyone forgetting. Unfortunately for him, history has this photo to keep reminding people.

During a 1970 Trooping the Colour parade, this British soldier passed out at the very moment Queen Elizabeth and her brigade was strolling past. Was it nerves? Probably not, since the heat and his heavy red coat attir was more likely the culprit.

The Hindenburg Disaster

Credits: Image: detonate.com

This instantly recognizable historical photo was snapped on May 6, 1973, and captures one of the 20th century’s best-known disasters. Ninety-seven people were on the Hindenburg that fateful day, half of its actual capacity.

Filled with hydrogen, Germany’s Hindenburg was a passenger airship filled with hydrogen. While attempting to dock at a mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst the Hindenburg caught fire. Thirty-six people were killed, and all of it was caught on film.

The Pacific Islands' Work of Art

Credits: Image: 9gag.com

Taken by Dutch photographer Francisco Van Camp in the late 19th century, this striking portrait captures the beauty of a young woman dressed in traditional clothing. Almost nothing is known of the woman, only that she was a “mestiza de Sangley”, a term used in the Spanish Philippines.

“Sangley mestizo”, or Chinese mestizo, from the Spanish Colonial Period that took place between the 16th and 19th centuries, was a term given to people of Chinese ancestry. Van Camp took this portrait in his Manilla studio around 1875, and the unknown woman is sometimes called the Pacific Islands’ Mona Lisa


Short Skirts in the Skies

Credits: Image: babymeeting.com

Here you can see Swedish airline stewardess Brigitta Lindman, an employee of the Scandinavian Airline, taking a close look at the length of a showgirl’s skirt as rumors began circulating the airline was debating shorter hemlines for stewardesses.

Looking at it from the comfort side of things, odds are high that airliner attendants would prefer the outfit sported by Lindman, but the photo op captured here still has us talking today so this skirt stunt worked for something

Welcome Home, Dad!

Credits: Image: Mentalfloss

This famous 1973 photograph captures the moment Air Force fighter pilot Lt. Col Robert Stirm is reunited with exuberant family member after his release following being held as a prisoner of war for six years in North Vietnam.

It was all part of Operation Homecoming, a prisoner exchange agreement between the Vietnamese and United States governments. This award-winning photograph, “Burst of Joy”, shows all four of Stirm’s children welcoming their father home.

The Girl Branded With a Chin Tattoo

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This is Olive Oatman, considered to be the first white American woman to have a tattoo. Born in Illinois in 1837, Oatman and her sister were captured by Yavapai Indians when she was 14 years old. Their family was slaughtered in the attack.

A Mohave chief and his family adopted Oatman and her sister Mary Ann, with both girls being given chin tattoos. Five years following their kidnapping, stories began to circulate back to the Oatmnans’ village of a white girl living with a Mohave tribe. Olive was traded for blankets and horses, but Mary Ann never made it home due to her passing from starvation. Olive Oatman became a media sensation after her release and novels, plays and even films portrayed her story

The Manta Ray Giant

Credits: Image: historyfanatic.com

This image shows a behemoth of a manta ray (often referred to as a devil fish) which was caught on August 26, 1933, by captain A.L. Khan. It took Khan and his crew over three hours to land the beast.

What you might not know is this photo doesn’t capture the moment the manta was caught, but rather the massive preserved body of the ray. When it was caught off the coast of New Jersey in 1933 it is estimated this giant of the sea weighed in at 2,268 kilograms, or roughly 5,000 pounds

A Loving Moment

Credits: Image: Henry Benson/Avax News

Photographer Harry Benson captured this delicate side of Hillary and Bill Clinton together, long before the future political power couple was never far from American headlines thanks to both successful and failed dalliances with life in the White House.

This relaxed kiss from the Clintons was taken at the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas, just before Bill was elected as to the office of president

The Blonde Bombshell

Credits: Image: Shadow.com

Starting her onscreen career as a weather girl in her hometown of Twin Falls, Idaho, model Robyn Hilton would eventually dip her toes into the world of acting. She made her film debut in the Mel Brooks comedy classic, Blazing Saddles, which thrust her into the spotlight.

Her Idaho upbringing on a farm was humble, but Hilton was destined for a place in Hollywood. Although Jean Harlow was the first blonde bombshell, Hilton fit the image perfectly, and would later appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and pose twice for Playboy

Jamie Lee Curtis is Perfect

Credits: Image: Pinterest

Don’t just label actress Jamie Lee Curtis as Hollywood’s ‘scream queen.’ John Carpenter’s 1978 fright fest hit, Halloween, launched Curtis’ successful career, and lead to her next move as a pin-up fitness icon.

In 1985, Curtis starred alongside John Travolta in the film Perfect, playing an aerobics instructor who becomes romantically involved with a reporter (Travolta) writing a warts and all article on health clubs.

Fighting For What's Right

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This mug shot is of activist and freedom fighter Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a selfless woman who set aside her family life and education to put the needs of others ahead of her own as she fought for the causes she believed in.

Born in 1941, Mulholland frequently participated in demonstrations and sit-ins in support of the civil rights movement, eventually being jailed and spending two months on death row in an overcrowded prison before being released

Remember This Spaced Competition?

Credits: Image: emgn

Have you ever seen computers like these? If you are of the ’90s generation and are hooked on iPhones and tablets, chances are you haven’t. For others, though, this is a computing blast from the past.

This photo was taken at the National Space Invaders Championship, held in 1980. Today, gaming competitions are becoming commonplace, but back then this was the first electronic gaming competition ever — and it attracted over 10,000 players. Space Invaders took the early ’80s by storm after its creation in 1978, and that momentum fueled the demand for this event

A Heartthrob's Last Ride

Credits: Image: MyKlassic.com

Taken at a gas station only hours before the 1955 fatal crash that would rob the world of his talent and charm, here you can see James Dean in all his Rebel Without a Cause Glory.

During his five active years in Hollywood, the 24-year-old Dean raised himself to the status of a young icon, with good looks to match his bravado. He spent his last day driving his Porsche Spyder down California’s  Highway 41 with a close friend, the road that would lead James Deanto his untimely passing.

Did a Beer Keg Just Explode?

Credits: Image: pinterest

Did the plumbing erupt in this building? Is this photoshopped? No, it’s not an urban waterfall, but the results of a Prohibition-era bust of an illegal bootlegging operation in Detroit.

It’s a scene that today would attract hundreds with their phones (and glasses…or buckets) in hand, but with the Prohibition booze ban in place all people could do is stand to the side and watch as gallons of suds temporarily flooded the street

Abraham Lincoln’s Aged Expression

Credits: Image: pinterest

It’s understandable that being deeply immersed in a nation’s fate during a time of war might add a substantial amount of stress (and wrinkles) to a person. Take Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, an office he entered shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

With southern states seceded around him and the need to order half a million troops into battle, Lincoln earned every age mark on his weathered face.


America Nukes Itself

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What would be running through your head if you saw a massive mushroom cloud devour the sky in front of you?

This photo was snapped on May 25, 1953, during the Operation Upshot-Knothole Grable nuclear weapons test. Grable was the codename for the project, which was conducted in Area 5 of the Nevada Test Site. To this day it remains the only nuclear artillery shell ever fired in the history of the United States nuclear weapons test program

Dorothy Counts Breaks the Segregated School Barrier

Credits: Image: flipopular.com

For far too long, segregation was the way things were in America, especially in the country’s schools. Segregation was deemed unconstitutional, but that didn’t mean major changes happened overnight. It was a slow process, and student Dorothy Counts is one of the many faces of that process.

In 1957, Counts was the first black students admitted to Harry Harding High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unfortunately, Counts was immediately subjected to threats and harassment, and her parents withdrew her from the school four days after she started classes.

Hollywood's Rooftop Boxers

Credits: Image: imgur

It might look as though this photographer has captured a rare occasion in the life of a woman in the 1930s when boxing was last on the list of things expected of ladies to be doing, but it’s probably a staged moment — thanks to Hollywood.

Taken in 1938, it appears as though the women are on the roof of the Ball Building on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. Staged or not, it’s a significant moment just to have these women publicly participating in anything normally associated directly with men.

Babe Ruth's Record Home Run

Credits: Image: Getty Images

New York YankeeGeorge Herman “Babe” Ruth has claimed his spot as a legend in the world of baseball, and his feats back him up on that.

The Babe can be seen here hitting his 700th home run on Friday, July 13, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit Tigers pitcher Tommy Bridges had to watch from the mound as Ruth belted a two-run boomer off him that reportedly traveled 152 meters (500 feet) and cleared the stadium completely. The young fellow who found the ball on the street was paid $20 for it and brought in to watch the rest of the game from the Yankee dugout.

The Tallest of the Tall

Credits: Image: BusinessInsider

This surreal image features Robert Wadlow, the tallest person the history books have records for. He was often called the ‘the Alton giant’ and ‘the giant of Illinois’ since he was born there. Not exactly original, but fitting.

At the time of his death in 1940, Wadlow was just under 2.75 meters (nine feet) tall, which is why the average-sized gentleman in this picture looks so minuscule. It took 12 men to carry Wadlow’s nearly 3.3-meter-long casket (almost 11 feet), with the help of eight assistants

MLK and the Burning Cross

Credits: Image: Alindfromlinda.blogspot.com

It’s an organization’s name that has been forcing its way back into headlines recently, but how would you react if the Ku Klux Klan left a burning cross on your front lawn?

Martin Luther King Jr is seen here removing the charred remnants of a Klan cross placed outside of his house in 1960. Dr. King cemented his place in civil rights history, including coming face-to-face with the KKK six years later in Raleigh, North Carolina, when the white supremacist targete a rally King was giving a speech at.

Brigitte Bardot Making a Splash

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Brigitte Bardot was a major cultural icon throughout the 1950s and ’60s when the French actress had memorable roles in And God Created Woman, A Very Private Affair and Contempt. This photo shows the actress on the beach at Cannes, a destination for Hollywood types that she always made her own.

Originally a ballerina and a model, Bardot found her way onto the big screen at the tender age of 18 when she made her film debut in Le Trou Normand. That opened the door to her becoming an unforgettable sex symbol with a stunning face and personality to match that were perfect for the times.

Creepy Mannequins

Credits: Image: Detonate.com

There’s creepy, and then there’s mannequin creepy.

On March 18, 1925, Madame Tussauds on Baker Street in London became a fiery inferno as flames engulfed the attraction’s top floors and incinerated the building. The wax figures pictured here are some of the mannequins ‘rescued’ from the blaze afterward. Dozens of wax linenesses of politicians, athletes and figures from history were burned during the fire, a disaster that took years for the museum to recover from.

Human Crash Test Dummies

Credits: Image: ebaumsworld

This particular photograph raised a few eyebrows back in the 1950s, and not just for the fact the gentleman in the frame looks a little oddly dressed for the occasion. It’s a roller coaster lift jump being ridden by a prisoner, but it’s still in the testing phase before it goes to market.

Shot in 1958, having prisoners do some product testing while behind bars was commonplace. In this case, there’s no smile to be seen considering this gentleman is testing the safety net at the end of the ride, not the ride itself.