Incredible Historical Photos You'll Never Forget
The art of photography has certainly come a long way, but it’s still nice to step back in time to enjoy some incredible moments captured in powerful historical photos. Some of the rarely seen images will make you laugh, while others may inspire or shock you.
Regardless of the emotion, these images pay tribute to some of the world’s most iconic events and amazing people. While the world continues to change, time stands still in these incredible historical photos that are impossible to forget.
A Fallen Hero
In this 1950 photo of the Queen's Guard, the heat seems to have gotten the best of one unfortunate soldier. Fainting from the heat is understandable. Each guard must march and stand at attention wearing heavy wool pants, a form-fitting jacket and a heavy hat made from bear fur.
A Supersonic Star
This 1950 photo shows the amazing North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie in midair. The Valkyrie was a supersonic prototype of the planned B-70, a nuclear-armed strategic bomber. The Valkyrie had six engines and could cruise at Mach 3 speeds or greater at an altitude of 70,000 feet.
Queen Elizabeth II appeared to enjoy sitting next to her guards in this humorous 1974 snapshot. Also known as the Queen’s Guard, the official regiment of soldiers is tasked with protecting the Royal Family and their residences.
A Star-Studded Scene
In this photo, Karl Malden, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter and Vivien Leigh are rehearsing a scene from the 1951 classic film A Streetcar Named Desire. All but Leigh had appeared in the critically-acclaimed stage production, which ended its Broadway run in 1949 after 855 performances.
A Perfect Pose
The year was 1985, and Jamie Lee Curtis was set to star in Perfect. The film was based on a series of Rolling Stone articles that exposed the singles scene at popular Los Angeles health clubs. Curtis played opposite John Travolta, who appeared in the film as an investigative reporter.
A Wartime Angel
In 1967, the Vietnam War was at its peak, and the battles were fierce both abroad and at home as protestors called for the war's end. This photo shows sex symbol Raquel Welch supporting the U.S. troops on one of several USO tours arranged by comedian Bob Hope.
Walk of Fame
On August 9, 1969, the Beatles were getting ready to shoot the cover for the now-classic album Abbey Road. As the musicians walked along the street, Linda McCartney shot this picture of the Fab Four while the police held back traffic. The photo shows the musicians walking away from the studio, which turned out to be quite symbolic, considering Abbey Road was the last album the four men recorded together.
Racing to Success
Race car driver Janet Guthrie seems to be giving the camera a confident stare as she sits in an open-top racer in this 1967 photo. Guthrie was the first professional female race car driver to both qualify and compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500.
A Secluded Spot
A lonely team of dogs pulls a sled across the ice in this hauntingly beautiful 1910 photo taken in Antarctica. The team looks tiny as they pass by an awe-inspiring ice formation. The photo certainly captures the incredible beauty of nature at its harshest.
A Prayerful Moment
In this heart-wrenching March 1965 photo, an unidentified U.S. soldier fighting in Vietnam is shown deep in prayer. A makeshift altar with religious items can be seen in front of him as he kneels on top of a small military trailer. During the conflict, it was common for soldiers to worship outside and incorporate military equipment into religious services.
When blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe married the acclaimed playwright Arthur Miller, everyone said the two were complete opposites. Nonetheless, opposites initially seemed to attract as the two came together both personally and professionally for The Misfits. This 1960 photo shows the couple collaborating during the filming of Miller's screenplay.
A Committed Couple
Actor Charles Bronson made a career out of playing the tough guy, but he had a soft spot in his heart for wife Jill Ireland. The two were captured together in this 1971 photo taken in Naples, Italy. Bronson and Ireland appeared together in 15 films. The couple married in 1968, and their love endured until Ireland's death from breast cancer in 1990.
This May 10, 1869, photo marks a joyous occasion as workers on the Transcontinental Railroad gathered in Promontory, Utah, to celebrate the railroad's completion. Recognizing that cross-country travel by horse or coach was long and often dangerous, the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 tasked the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad companies with the railroad's construction.
Victorian-era portraits often make it seem as though the subjects were so somber. Most photos show people whose faces look grim and serious. On rare occasions, some folks were ready to ham it up for the camera. Taken around 1900, this elegantly dressed woman is all smiles as she reclines on a chaise while holding up a bouquet of flowers.
You may think of a selfie as being a fairly recent invention, but this 1908 photo proves that theory wrong. In this photo, the camera captured a couple enjoying a lovely sunny day. The introduction of Kodak's Brownie Box in 1900 made it possible for the average person to take photos, including selfies.
Helen Keller Reads Eleanor Roosevelt's Lips
Helen Keller was world-renowned as a blind and deaf educator and advocate who served as an inspiration to millions of people around the world. This February 1955 photo shows Keller reading the lips of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt described the 74-year-old Keller as "The Goodwill Ambassador to the World."
Gas Stealers, Beware
In 1973, America was in shock when the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo that resulted in a major gas shortage. The shortage led to an increase in gas and car theft around the nation. In this 1973 photo, a father and son made a warning sign to stop thieves.
Beauty and the Beast
Famed Swedish actress Greta Garbo seemed slightly uncomfortable as she posed with MGM's Leo the Lion in this 1925 photo. Leo was featured in the film studio's opening credits and was the first of the studio's many lions to have his roar recorded. Like many other celebrities, Leo was the lion's stage name.
An Aviation Marvel
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was an aerodynamic work of art. This supersonic aircraft was the first fighter jet to be built with twin tails. This 1965 photo shows the Tomcat, which was developed for the United States’ Naval Fighter Experimental program, in the air. The Tomcat took its maiden flight in 1970 and was designed to go up against MiG fighters during the Vietnam War.
A Great Game
Two soldiers tried to forget the horrors of World War I by playing a quick game of dice in this 1918 photo. Known as "The Great War," the global conflict is considered one of the deadliest wars in history. An estimated nine million soldiers and seven million civilians perished.
A Musical Meeting
Jazz legend Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong was caught sharing his trumpet-playing technique and favorite mouthpiece with (then) Vice President Richard Nixon in this 1957 photo. Armstrong was visiting the Capitol when he demonstrated the technique he used to "make the horn cry." He revealed to Nixon, "I might change horns, but never my mouthpiece."
A Passion for Pitching
Cuba’s Fidel Castro had a passion for baseball, as seen in this 1964 photo. The image captures the dictator as he winds up to pitch. As a college student in the late 1940s, he supposedly caught the eye of American scouts when he pitched for the University of Havana’s baseball team.
A Supreme Decision
This May 1954 photo captured Nettie Hunt and her daughter Nikie sitting on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Nettie was sharing the news with her daughter that the high court's ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education made segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
A Fearsome Flood
This image depicts boats filled with people trying to stay dry in the 1910 Great Flood of Paris. This historic catastrophe occurred after the Seine River rose more than 26 feet out of its banks, pouring flood waters into the historic city's streets in late January. Thousands of Parisians were forced to evacuate as water crept into their homes and businesses.
We typically think of Neil Armstrong as the first man on the moon, so it’s easy to forget that he got his start as a naval aviator. In this 1960 photo, Armstrong is pictured standing beside an X-15 hypersonic research aircraft. The plane could fly 4,520 mph at an altitude of 354,200 feet.
A Somber Goodbye
Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were photographed in their caskets after their assassination by 19-year-old Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. A grenade had been lobbed at their motorcade earlier in the day but had hit the car behind them instead.
A Commanding Performance
Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille were captured together on the set of The Ten Commandments. Heston was in full costume for his role as Moses. DeMille had cast him in the lead, believing he most closely resembled Michelangelo's statue of Moses in Rome.
Raising the Flag
Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of an American sailor and woman kissing in Times Square is a symbol of the relief and excitement that washed over the country in the wake of World War II. And Joe Rosenthal’s 1945 photograph of U.S. troops raising an American flag in Iwo Jima has come to represent the moment just before that relief.
A Civil Rights Salute
Black athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raised black-gloved fists during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Smith and Carlos earned gold and bronze medals respectively during the 200-meter running event and, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, faced the American flag and kept their hands raised until the anthem ended.
Considered one of the most iconic photographs in American history, Migrant Mother was taken in 1936 by Dorothea Lange. While taking photographs of migrant farm workers in California for the Resettlement Administration, Lange came across Florence Owens Thompson and her children.