Rare Historical Photos



And the story behind them...


Four-year-old Michael Finder of East Germany is tossed by his father into a net held by firemen across the border in West Berlin, 1961

Four-year-old Michael Finder of East Germany is tossed by his father into a net held by residents and firemen across the border in West Berlin. The father, Willy Finder, then prepares to make the jump himself. Pictures taken from the booklet "A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall". These photographs are taken around [...]

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The Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913

On March 3, 1913 over 5,000 women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. for universal women’s suffrage. The event was scheduled on the day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration to "march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded," as the official program stated. The [...]

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A concentration camp victim identifies a SS guard, 1945

The picture depicts a liberated Russian inmate pointing an identifying and accusing finger at a Nazi guard who was especially cruel towards the prisoners in Buchenwald camp (original picture). There's something really fascinating about this picture. We can only see so much of the prisoner's expression here, but that finger means so much. Days, maybe [...]

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The United States during the World War One, 1917-1918

Isolation was a long American tradition. Since the days of George Washington, Americans struggled to remain protected by the mighty oceans on its border. When European conflicts erupted, as they frequently did, many in the United States claimed exceptionalism. America was different. Why get involved in Europe's self-destruction? When the Archduke of Austria-Hungary was killed [...]

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Child labor in America, 1908-1914

Lewis Hine, a photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, captured photos of some of the children who made up the US labor force between 1908 and 1924. Hine traveled throughout the US, documenting children working in factories, fields, and at home in support the NCLC's mission to promote the "rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and [...]

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The Eruption of Mount St. Helens in pictures, 1980

Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. The volcano, located in southwestern Washington, used to be a beautiful symmetrical cone about 9,600 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level. The eruption, which removed the upper 1,300 feet (396 meters) of the summit, left a horseshoe-shaped crater and a barren wasteland. The eruption (a VEI 5 [...]

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Yang Kyoungjong, the only known soldier to have fought on three sides of a war, 1944

He was Korean – captured by the Japanese and pressed to fight the Soviets, captured by the Soviets and pressed to fight the Germans, captured by the Germans and pressed to defend Normandy, where he was captured by the Americans. This is the story of Yang Kyoungjong, the only known soldier to fight on three [...]

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Vietnam War: Escalation and Withdrawal, 1968-1975

The decisive year was 1968. In the early morning of 30 January, Vietcong forces launched the Tet Offensive, named for the Vietnamese holiday then being observed. In coordinated attacks throughout South Vietnam, the Vietcong assaulted major urban areas and military installations in an attempt to spark a popular uprising against the Saigon regime and its [...]

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Vietnam War: The Early Years, 1965-1967

On May 07, 1954, Viet Minh forces won the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and ended French involvement in Indochina. This victory led to the Geneva Conference where the French and Viet Minh negotiated a ceasefire agreement. Under the terms of Geneva Accords, France agreed to withdraw its troops from Indochina while Vietnam was temporarily [...]

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The Wuppertaler Schwebebahn, the oldest electric elevated railway, 1913

In January 8, 1913 — a photographer in Wuppertal, Barmen (Germany), captured this image of the unique suspension railway that runs through the town, with cars hanging above the Wupper River. The 13 km rail system known as the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn had just been completed 12 years before, and became well-used by locals—by 1925 the [...]

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