Rare Snapshots Throughout History
Claire Miles - September 2, 2019


By Shel Silverstein

My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes -- I guess he didn't know
That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just 'cause he can't see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!

And then I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head --
Too proud of me to speak!

Thanks to the advent of the camera, amazing moments are no longer lost to time. These photos are a visual record of the past, helping piece together history. Some photographs are so rare that they act as a window into a side of history we’ve never seen before. Take a look at some of the most amazing snapshots ever captured.


A Kiss Hello



Actress Marlene Dietrich is caught on camera kissing a soldier who is coming back home from war in 1945.  It seems as though all of the soldiers around are enjoying the experience as well, and the photo was published for the first time in Life Magazine.



Passing Out For The Queen



In the strict world of British military protocol, there are even rules on how to properly faint respectfully. Usually, guards will pass out due to the heat, or because of the way in which they must lock their knees. In this photo, a guard of honor has passed out as Queen Elizabeth II rides by. 


The “Great Manta”


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Captain A.L. Kahn is photographed with the largest known sting ray in history. Kahn captured the giant ray on August 26, 1933, and dubbed the animal “The Great Manta”.




The Monroe Show


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Marilyn Monroe is photographed surrounded by dozens of paparazzi as she films her iconic subway scene in The Seven Year Itch in 1955. The film catapulted the young actress to superstardom and memorialized her in Hollywood History.


Einstein’s Desk



Other than the fact that maybe this desk is a little bit more messy than usual, for the most part, it looks like a pretty standard desk. Perhaps it belonged to of a very busy, distracted and frazzled person. In fact, this was the iconic Albert Einstein’s desk, and this picture was taken merely a day after his death in 1955. 



Pablo At The White House



There’s nothing too shocking about a father and son spending quality time together outside of the White House. That is, of course, until you discover that this man is actually the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. He is pictured here with his son Juan Pablo in the 1980s.




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Lower Manhattan is photographed from a massive wheat field just outside the city in 1986. Such land would be a goldmine for any real estate investor these days.



Groundbreaking Gas Masks


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United States Navy Sailors are pictured here in this rare historical photos wearing the ND Mark III gasmask during WWII. The exact year of when it was taken is unknown.


Official CIA Intelligence


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In 1944, United States intelligence agencies put together the photos above as a guide for what German dictator Adolph Hilter may look like wearing various disguises.



The *First* Air Force One


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In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt officially became the first US President to fly in an airplane. While commercial flights were still a few decades away, this could be considered the first presidential flight of all time. While their trip through the clouds only lasted a few minutes, it marked a significant point in American history and set the groundwork for the vast network of air travel and executive transportation among US officials both at home and around the world.


An Autograph For His Murderer



Pictured here is the legendary Beatle, John Lennon, looking trendy as always. He is about to sign an autograph for a man that he thought was a fan of his. The man however, Mark Chapman was not your everyday fan, unfortunately. A few hours later, he murdered Lennon on December 8th, 1980, and changed history as we know it.



The Statue of Liberty



This rare historical picture is the New York City Statue of Liberty being constructed in Paris in 1883. The copper statue was given to the United States from France as a gift on October 28th, 1886. The statue itself represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. It became an icon for immigrants seeking a new home in the US, as this was the first sight of America that could be seen from the entry ports of Elis Island. 


Einstein In Sandals



Einstein, pictured here in September 1939 is hanging out on the beach in Long Island with his friend David Rothman, a local department store owner.  Due to Einstein’s thick accent,  his request for ‘sundahls’ was not understood. The legendary scientist was eventually able to purchase the white sandals seen here for $1.35. 



The Original “Uncle Sam”



The man who modeled as Uncle Sam is caught on camera posing in front of the iconic poster in 1970.  The term Uncle Sam is actually taken from Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from New York who supplied rations for soldiers during the 1812 war.  After the war, Uncle Sam began to be associated with everything related to the U.S government.


The Art of Misdirection



It’s a bit strange to some that other countries around the world chose to drive on the left side of the road. This picture captures the very first day that Sweden switched sides of the road in 1967. As expected, it caused major traffic disruptions and likely some collisions as well.



The Newsies of New York


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At the turn of the century, New York was flooded with low-income children working as newspaper salesmen to make ends meet for their families. Child laborers were forced to work long, grueling hours to barely make a profit to bring home. The boys became a nationwide sensation during the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899 in which thousands of young children boycotted major publishers after executives decided to increase the price of papers for the boys. Proving successful, the newsboys were able to band together and get wealthy businessmen to agree to increase their wages.


From Singer To Service



Believe it or not, Elvis Presley, the King, the man, the legend did a whole lot more than just grace the world with his iconic music and eat peanut butter banana sandwiches. He served in the US Army from March 1958-1960, and this photo has captured him swearing into his service.



Air Jordan – The Co-Ed


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Prior to his incredible success in the NBA, Michael Jordan was a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was recruited on a basketball scholarship, and it was there that his iconic athletic career began. In 1984, Jordan was drafted into the NBA and dropped out of college one year before he was set to graduate. He returned in 1986 to complete his college degree and graduated that same year with a B.S. in geography.


Breaking the Berlin Wall


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The Berlin Wall separated friends and families for decades in an effort to physically and ideologically separate a divided country. During this time, over 100,000 people attempted to escape from West Berlin into East Berlin. In November 1989, it was triumphantly knocked down, opening up a new age of politics across Europe. The official demolition began on June 13, 1990, and took two full years to complete.



Indecent Exposure


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Two women in Chicago are photographed as they get arrested circa 1922. Their crime? They were wearing one-piece bathing suits without the required “leg coverings”.


Candid World’s Fair


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A group of women strikes a candid pose at the site of the World’s Fair in 1939 in New York City.



News of the Century


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On the morning of April 15, 1912, the world was informed of the tragic sinking of the Titanic on its maiden voyage from England to New York. It’s safe to say it was one of the most powerful and tragic headlines of the century.


Scare Stockings


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In 1942, when this picture was taken, nylon stockings were a scarce commodity. Therefore, women of the time would paint their legs to appear as though they were wearing stockings. This was their way of keeping up with the styles despite the limited quantities available.



A Golden Fate


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Development of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California began around 1916 when engineering student James Wilkins submitted a proposal to the San Francisco Bulletin. The man who ultimately went on to design and engineer the final concept of the Golden Gate Bridge was Joseph Strauss. After years of bureaucracy, construction finally began on January 5, 1933. By May 27, 1937, the bridge was completed and opened to the public. The iconic structure remains one of the most frequented sites by locals and tourists alike.


Swing Kings


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Young teenagers are photographed here enjoying some swing dancing in the 1940s, which was a very popular activity during the time.  This picture perfectly represents the meaning of old school.



Facial Features


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Mount Rushmore is photographed during its construction as workers continue to mold and sculpt the faces of the four US Presidents that will be depicted in the rocks.


Revealing Swimwear


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Activist Annette Kellerman is photographed in 1907 promoting the unpopular opinion for a woman’s right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit.  She was eventually arrested for indecency.



Coming Home



This heavily crowded ship is bringing back American troops to New York harbor after V-Day in 1945. 



A Casual Test


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Pictured in 1923 is the testing of a bulletproof vest. If the vest proved not to be effective, then we can only imagine how things would have ended for this brave man.



Uber for NASA


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Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott are photographed on March 17, 1966, as they await their pick-up after Gemini 8 safely made re-entry into Earth. It marked the first US space mission to be aborted due to system failure. Only a few years later, Neil Armstrong would become the first man to walk on the moon.


Thunderstruck by Television


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A boy is pictured here watching television for the very first time in 1948. He appears to be completely shocked, and almost in a state of complete disbelief.



Juggling For A Job



Millions of people were left without work during the 1930’s Great Depression. Many people left home and hit the road with the hopes of find work anywhere they could. Many of these people were very desperate teenagers who had experience, yet no opportunities.


Got Milk?



German bombers began to appear in the skies over London, England in 1940. They brought about a new terror weapon and caused a great deal of destruction to the city. Pictured here is a London milkman, who is trying to carry on with his daily routine, despite the warfare. 



Lesbian Lovers



Pictured here is a lesbian couple at Le Monocle bar in Paris. During the 1920s, Paris became well known with its wide variety of nightlife pleasures, as well as for its free-spirited attitude. With this new tolerance, lesbian and gay nightclubs started to open up for the first time.


The Original Women’s March


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Suffragettes were the original advocates for equality and women’s rights. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, women across the US staged peaceful protests, marches, and advocacy awareness events in a movement that is remarkably similar to the wave of feminism and women’s rights that we see today in 2018. By 1920, women had won the right to vote. While the movement of feminism continued throughout the 20th century, securing the right to vote was monumental in establishing a precedent for gender equality.