Every American Should See These 38 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 38 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. 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

3. 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

4. Ham the Chimp — who became the first higher primate in space — is shown wearing a space suit 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 space suit 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. Elvis Presley in the army.

Elvis Presley in the army.

Wikimedia Commons

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

The Statue of Liberty under construction in Paris in 1884.

Wikimedia Commons

9. 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

10. 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.

11. Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, c. 1934.

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, c. 1934.

Wikimedia Commons

12. A picture of the young Charlie Chaplin, age 27, in 1916.

A picture of the young Charlie Chaplin, age 27, in 1916.

Wikimedia Commons

13. 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

14. The World Trade Center buildings during the Christmas Season, 1995.

The World Trade Center buildings during the Christmas Season, 1995.

Wikimedia Commons

15. A B-17 heavy bomber in production, 1942.

A B-17 heavy bomber in production, 1942.

Wikimedia Commons

These planes, known as the "Flying Fortress," were produced in Boeing's Seattle plant in the 1940s, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

16. Wall Street on D-Day, June 6 1944.

Wall Street on D-Day, June 6 1944.

Wikimedia Commons

The photo has been colorized from the original.

17. A Cheyenne woman in Oklahoma, 1890-1904.

A Cheyenne woman in Oklahoma, 1890-1904.

Wikimedia Commons

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

18. The camp of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry, Belle Plain, Virginia, March 1863.

The camp of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry, Belle Plain, Virginia, March 1863.

National Archives

The men line up in formation near their tents while covered wagons pass by.

19. Slave cells, Alexandria, VA, ca. 1865.

Slave cells, Alexandria, VA, ca. 1865.

Library of Congress

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

20. 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

21. 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 the Ford Theater, 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 the Ford Theater, 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.

22. Allied forces mock Hitler from atop his balcony at the Reich Chancellery at the end of WWII.

Allied forces mock Hitler from atop his balcony at the Reich Chancellery at the end of WWII.

Wikimedia Commons

23. 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

24. William Harley and Arthur Davidson photographed together in 1914.

William Harley and Arthur Davidson photographed together in 1914.

Wikimedia Commons

25. 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

26. Titanic life boats reach the RMS Carpathia days after the famous ship sinks.

Titanic life boats reach the RMS Carpathia days after the famous ship sinks.

Wikimedia Commons

27. A young Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1967.

A young Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1967.

Wikimedia Commons

Before he came to the U.S., Arnold enjoyed an Oktoberfest in Munich with a friend.

28. 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

29. Jackie Mitchell shakes the hands of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. She was the only female in history to strike out both of these baseball legends.

Jackie Mitchell shakes the hands of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. She was the only female in history to strike out both of these baseball legends.

Wikimedia Commons

30. 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

31. 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

32. 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

33. 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

34. 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

35. 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

36. 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

37. 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

38. 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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