Every American Should See These 32 Rare Historical Photos


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Even if you're a history buff that is well-versed on historical events, you've probably never come across or seen any of these rare photos. They're from different periods of U.S. history and honestly, every American should see them to truly appreciate our nation.

Looking at old photos is like stepping back in time, so let's travel through history together with these 32 incredible pictures!

1. John W. Young jumps with joy after becoming the ninth person to walk on the Moon as commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Charles M. Duke Jr. took this picture. The LM Orion is on the left. April 21, 1972.

John W. Young jumps with joy after becoming the ninth person to walk on the Moon as commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Charles M. Duke Jr. took this picture. The LM Orion is on the left. April 21, 1972.

Wikimedia Commons

2. U.S. President John F. Kennedy receives the annual White House Thanksgiving turkey from the National Turkey Federation, just three days before his assassination in Dallas.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy receives the annual White House Thanksgiving turkey from the National Turkey Federation, just three days before his assassination in Dallas.

Wikimedia Commons

3. Ham the Chimp — who became the first higher primate in space — is shown wearing a spacesuit while being fitted into the couch of the Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule prior to its test flight, which was conducted on January 31, 1961.

Ham the Chimp -- who became the first higher primate in space -- is shown wearing a spacesuit while being fitted into the couch of the Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule prior to its test flight, which was conducted on January 31, 1961.

Wikimedia Commons

4. Here U.S. and Soviet tanks are having a standoff at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.

Here U.S. and Soviet tanks are having a standoff at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.

Wikimedia Commons

5. Here Elvis Presley is being sworn into the army in 1958.

Here Elvis Presley is being sworn into the army in 1958.

Wikimedia Commons

6. The Statue of Liberty under construction in Paris in 1884.

The Statue of Liberty under construction in Paris in 1884.

New York Public Library

7. The cameramen who shot and recorded the lion roar for the MGM logo in 1928.

The cameramen who shot and recorded the lion roar for the MGM logo in 1928.

Wikimedia Commons

8. John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and staffers tour Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, September 1962.

John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and staffers tour Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, September 1962.

Wikimedia Commons

9. A slave dealer in Alexandria, Virginia, 1861-65.

A slave dealer in Alexandria, Virginia, 1861-65.

National Archives

In this picture, taken between 1861 and 1865, this building was used as a jail for Confederate prisoners. However, in the early 19th century, it was used as a slave pen. Human beings were locked inside after being shipped from Louisiana. Some 3,750 people passed through here on their way to the plantations of the Deep South. It continued to be used for the slave trade up until the Civil War.

10. The last ever picture of the Hindenburg as it crashes in New Jersey on May 6, 1937.

The last ever picture of the Hindenburg as it crashes in New Jersey on May 6, 1937.

Wikimedia Commons

11. This is when The Stars and Stripes, the official U.S. Army magazine, reported Hitler's death.

This is when The Stars and Stripes, the official U.S. Army magazine, reported Hitler's death.

Wikimedia Commons

12. A picture of the young Charlie Chaplin, ca. 1918.

A picture of the young Charlie Chaplin, ca. 1918.

Wikimedia Commons

13. Newsroom of the New York Times newspaper in 1942. Reporters and rewrite men can be seen working on stories for the next day's paper. The rewrite man in the background is receiving a story on the phone from a reporter in the field.

Newsroom of the New York Times newspaper in 1942. Reporters and rewrite men can be seen working on stories for the next day's paper. The rewrite man in the background is receiving a story on the phone from a reporter in the field.

Wikimedia Commons

14. Cheyenne chieftains Little Coyote and Morning Star, 1873.

Cheyenne chieftains Little Coyote and Morning Star, 1873.

Wikimedia Commons

The Native American cultures of North America had rich, complex cultures. Much of their history has been sadly lost thanks to the imperialism and racism that spread across the country in the 19th century.

15. Slave cells, Alexandria, Virginia, ca. 1865.

Slave cells, Alexandria, Virginia, ca. 1865.

Library of Congress

Cells and pens like these were where enslaved people were kept while they waited to be auctioned off to a new owner and a new life of hardship.

16. In 1943, these were the first women Marines to be sworn in in the New York area.

In 1943, these were the first women Marines to be sworn in in the New York area.

Wikimedia Commons

17. This is the Lincoln assassination co-conspirator Lewis Payne being held in federal custody prior to his execution in 1865. As Lincoln was being killed at Ford's Theatre, Payne, an Alabama native and Confederate veteran, entered the bedroom of Secretary of State William H. Seward and began to attack him with a large knife.

This is the Lincoln assassination co-conspirator Lewis Payne being held in federal custody prior to his execution in 1865. As Lincoln was being killed at Ford's Theatre, Payne, an Alabama native and Confederate veteran, entered the bedroom of Secretary of State William H. Seward and began to attack him with a large knife.

Wikimedia Commons

The photo has been colorized from the original.

18. A utility worker giving mouth-to-mouth to a coworker after he contacted a high voltage wire in 1967.

A utility worker giving mouth-to-mouth to a coworker after he contacted a high voltage wire in 1967.

Flickr / Cliff

19. Titanic lifeboats reach the RMS Carpathia days after the famous ship sinks.

Titanic lifeboats reach the RMS Carpathia days after the famous ship sinks.

Wikimedia Commons

20. The Olympic (left) next to the more famous Titanic, probably the only photograph of the two sister ships together. March 6, 1912.

The Olympic (left) next to the more famous Titanic, probably the only photograph of the two sister ships together. March 6, 1912.

Wikimedia Commons

21. This is the only known photo of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address on March 4, 1865. John Wilkes Booth can actually be seen in the center of the top row of the top platform.

This is the only known photo of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address on March 4, 1865. John Wilkes Booth can actually be seen in the center of the top row of the top platform.

Wikimedia Commons

22. Christopher Robin Milne with the real-life Winnie the Pooh in 1928. He based his books on this very teddy bear.

Christopher Robin Milne with the real-life Winnie the Pooh in 1928. He based his books on this very teddy bear.

Wikimedia Commons

23. The only photograph in existence of infamous outlaw Billy the Kid. The photo is from 1879.

The only photograph in existence of infamous outlaw Billy the Kid. The photo is from 1879.

Wikimedia Commons

24. This is Al Capone's cell at Eastern State Penitentiary. To this very day, it's still kept in the same condition.

This is Al Capone's cell at Eastern State Penitentiary. To this very day, it's still kept in the same condition.

Wikimedia Commons

25. To promote liberty bonds, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. holds up Charlie Chaplin on Wall Street in 1918.

To promote liberty bonds, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. holds up Charlie Chaplin on Wall Street in 1918.

Wikimedia Commons

26. Here Annette Kellerman promotes a woman's right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit in 1907. She was later arrested for indecency.

Here Annette Kellerman promotes a woman's right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit in 1907. She was later arrested for indecency.

Wikimedia Commons

27. Painters at work high above New York City, painting the Brooklyn Bridge on December 3, 1915.

Painters at work high above New York City, painting the Brooklyn Bridge on December 3, 1915.

Wikimedia Commons

28. Massive crowds gather as Swami Satchidananda gives the opening speech at Woodstock in 1969.

Massive crowds gather as Swami Satchidananda gives the opening speech at Woodstock in 1969.

Wikimedia Commons

29. Mount Rushmore in 1905, before construction began on the famous sculptures of the four presidents.

Mount Rushmore in 1905, before construction began on the famous sculptures of the four presidents.

Wikimedia Commons

30. This was the scene at Wall Street on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.

This was the scene at Wall Street on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.

Wikimedia Commons

Thousands gather at the Subtreasury Building on Wall Street to mark the end of the World War I.

31. This is a photo of a Navajo medicine man, ca. 1904.

This is a photo of a Navajo medicine man, ca. 1904.

New World Encyclopedia

This man's items were integral to his medicinal and ritual practices.

32. This is Hannah Stilley, born 1746, photographed in 1840. She may be the earliest born person ever captured on camera.

This is Hannah Stilley, born 1746, photographed in 1840. She may be the earliest born person ever captured on camera.

Wikimedia Commons

It's incredible to think that these historic photo opportunities happened in the blink of an eye, but someone was lucky enough to capture them on film. They're touching, enlightening, and heartbreaking all at once.

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