Rare Photos Reveal A Different Side To American History
By Lyra Radford | July 28, 2017
History is brimming with all sorts of stories and photographs of the past. Some are of political and military significance. Others may hold social importance where others have captured defining moments in American history as a whole
The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
It was June 6, 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel shortly after winning the California presidential primaries. He died twenty-six hours later at Good Samaritan Hospital. The shooter was 24-year old Sirhan Sirhan. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1969, but in 1972 his sentence was dropped to life in prison.
A casual Wonder Woman
Lynda Carter portrayed the strongest female character on television from 1975 to 1979. She starred as Wonder Woman in the TV Series of the same name and stole the hearts of Americans. Wonder Woman wasn’t even Carter’s biggest claim to fame, she won the title of Miss World USA back in 1972.
U.S. intelligence produced possible Hitler disguises
When you have a monster in the shape of a man such as Adolph Hitler it’s hard to imagine him finally being extinguished–especially by his own hand. Because of this, conspiracy theories about Hitler’s suicide being staged quickly flooded the world. In fact, there are those who still believe he escaped, after all, evil never dies. U.S. Intelligence even found his death hard to believe and did a mock up of all the possible disguises he could be used to escape.
Remnants of the Battle of Gallipoli
Hillary Clinton getting her face painted
The former first lady and presidential candidate was once just a fun-loving, carefree girl enjoying college life in the 1960s. Pictured here is Hillary getting her face painted at a Wellesley College event. By 1993 she would be married to President Bill Clinton and then go on to be the 67th Secretary of State to President Barack Obama.
The KKK at a carnival in Canon City
The Ferris wheel, an international symbol for lighthearted fun on a summer’s day... full of the living embodiment of hate. This grotesque imagery of Klansmen out and in full hooded attire was not the rare spectacle one would assume. This was actually pretty common in Colorado during the 1920s. The Klan openly endorsed Senator Rice Means, the governor, Clarence Morley, was a Klansman. And Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton also had KKK connections.
A letter from Gandhi sent to Hitler in July of 1939, which reads:
Friends have been urging me to write to you for the sake of humanity. But I have resisted their request, because of the feeling that any letter from me would be an impertinence. Something tells me that I must not calculate and that I must make my appeal for whatever it may be worth.
It is quite clear that you are today the one person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to a savage state. Must you pay that price for an object however worthy it may appear to you to be? Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success? Anyway, I anticipate your forgiveness if I have erred in writing to you.
Your sincere friend,
M. K. Gandhi
Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
Jackie Mitchell was one of the first female pitchers to play professional baseball and the only female to strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In 1931, a few days after striking out the greats, her contract was voided by baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. He declared women unfit to play baseball and claimed the game was "too strenuous." Jackie Mitchell wasn’t having any of this nonsense and continued to play pro ball anyway. She joined the House of David, a men's team whose players all had long hair. Sometimes she’d even wear fake beards for publicity.
Baby Barack Obama with his Mother Ann Dunham, 1960's
Pictured here is little baby Obama. Here sits a smiling future President of the United States in the arms of his mother, Ann Dunham back in the 1960’s. Not only did this adorable youngster grow up to be the 44th President, but he was also the first African-American in office.
It's an LRV, not a UFO
Here we have just one of the many interesting experimental aircraft's created by the U.S. Air Force. The Lenticular Reentry Vehicle was a flying saucer shaped vessel (which no doubt led to quite a few UFO sightings and abduction claims), was originally developed during the Cold War as a means of nuclear warhead delivery.
Shell-shocked soldier in the trenches of war
Pictured here is a soldier experiencing “shell shock” which is now referred to as PTSD. At the time, the severity of PTSD was not understood at the time. As can be seen here, soldiers fought in the trenches for the most part, and the British and French trenches were pretty harsh and often barren. As opposed to the German trenches which were actually kept well-stocked.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arrival to New York, 1968
JFK and Marilyn Monroe after her Madison Square Garden performance
The midnight swearing-in Nazi ritual
This terrifying photograph has captured the formation of the Nazi's dark army. This is the annual midnight swearing in of Nazi SS troops (that looks an awful lot like some dark arts ceremony) took place in Feldherrnhalle, Munich. All SS officers and soldiers had to swear their loyalty and “absolute allegiance” to Hitler, the king of darkness.
Barack Obama with his mother Ann Dunham
Nixon had a secret bowling lane in the White House
Richard Nixon may be best remembered for the Watergate scandal and as being the only President forced to resign from office, but apparently he also really loved bowling. He was so into it, that he added his own secret one-lane bowling alley in the White House basement back in 1969. Groovy wallpaper Nixon.
Testing a Hydrogen bomb
The "Woodstock Generation"
Almost half a million people showed up to Woodstock in New York to be a part of music festival history. It was scheduled to run three days but ended up lasting four because the hippies simply weren’t finished yet. The festival was a landmark in rock in roll history and ended up defining a generation.
Hotel owner attacks protestors with acid
What you see here, is a hotel owner whose cruelty has been immortalized by a film camera. There was a time when segregation included swimming pools. There were ‘white pools’ and ‘black pools.’ On June 18, 1964, black and white protesters teamed up to co-swim in the whites-only pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida. The owner of the hotel retaliated by pouring acid into the pool.
Marilyn Monroe in the kitchen
The Cuban Missle Crisis 'Think Tank'
Pictured here is a moment in time where nuclear war was averted, albeit by a very slim margin. Seated in this room are President John F. Kennedy and vice-president Lyndon Baines Johnson along with their senior staff members. The team assembled are engaging in deep thought and discussion over the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A fallen troop during WWI
Pictured here is a fallen soldier during WWI that just so happened to die underneath a crucifix. His body ended up being found by a 16-year-old named Walter Kleinfeldt. Such a striking image, that almost seems to serve as an accusation against the war.
The bombing of Kobe, Japan claimed almost 900,000 lives
The Bombing of Kobe in World War II was a strategic bombing implemented by the United States with both, military and civilian targets in mind. I began in the closing stages of World War II on March 16th and 17th of 1945. Months later it was bombed again.
Kobe targeted not only because of its massive population (of roughly one million) but also because it was structurally vulnerable, just about everything was made from wood. The extensive bombing accrued a death toll accrued of an estimated 8,841 people with another 473,000 wounded.
Liquor barrels ready to be set ablaze
December 5th 1933: The night Prohibition ended
Jimi Hendrix jamming out at Woodstock in 1969
Two years before Rock n' Roll Hall of Famer, Jimi Hendrix began performing, he was enlisted in the United States Army. After a year he was honorably discharged and moved to Tennessee and shifted his focus on music. It was in 1966 when Jimi signed with his first manager and landed three songs on the UK top ten hits. Before he knew it, Jimi Hendrix was a household name, landing major events. In 1969 he headlined Woodstock and became the highest paid performer in the world.
Ruby Bridges was the first black child to attend an all-white school
Little Ruby Bridges, was the first black child to attend an all-white school. She attended William Frantz Elementary in New Orleans and when first faced with all the people outside the school she thought it was Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, they were protestors who didn’t seem to have a problem with traumatizing an innocent child on a daily basis. She said she often prayed as she walked to school because it helped her endure the verbal abuse.
Einstein at Nassau Point, Long Island, in the summer of 1939
In 1939 Einstein rented a cottage on Nassau Point in Cutchogue to get some much needed rest and relaxation. Strangely enough, one of the greatest minds in history never bothered to learn how to swim. That didn’t keep him away from the water though. He loved to sail and spent much of his time on Long Island sailing and playing the violin.
A teenage Bill Clinton shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy
A powder Monkey on the USS New Hampshire (1864)
A bike-riding Bill Gates
Louis Armstrong plays for his wife in Giza (1961)
Music was pretty unique to America during the Cold War, so unique in fact, that the United States sent Jazz musicians abroad as ambassadors. Jazz was said to represent the harmonious fusion of African and American culture. It demonstrated what it meant to be in the ‘melting pot’ of the world. In 1961, as an act of cultural diplomacy, Louis Armstrong went to Egypt with his wife Lucille. From this trip was the birth of this iconic photo. Louis playing the trumpet for Lucille in Giza, at the foot of the Great Sphinx.
There’s no festival but there’s LSD for $1.00
Powder Ridge Festival was supposed to be held in August of 1970, but legalities prevented it from ever happening. However, a crowd of 30,000 people showed up to the in Middlefield, CT location and hung around anyway. No music, no food, no plumbing, but clearly there was plenty of cheap drugs.
Steve Jobs and the Woz in their garage, 1975
In the beginning, there was Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak tinkering away in their garage. The two engineers pioneered the personal computers industry, co-founding Apple Computer Corporation in 1975. Jobs went on to raise the bar on all personal tech with the successful launch of iPods, iPhones, and the iPad series.
Mrs. Fields was an Oakland A's ball girl
Last Picture of Hitler
This photograph was taken on April 30, 1945, and is believed to be the last snapshot of Adolf Hitler. He committed suicide by chewing a cyanide capsule and a gunshot to the head the same day this photo was taken. His wife Eva Braun took cyanide so she could die with him.
That afternoon, as per Hitler’s instruction their remains were carried out of the bunker and set on fire. Many wonder if it was all staged and the two didn’t just flee and start over somewhere. The accounts of his suicide vary and a skull fragment in the rubble believed to be Hitler’s actually turned out to be a woman’s skull.
Martin Luther King, Jr with his father and son, circa 1960s
The Beatles during the photo shoot for Abbey Road, 1969
Barack Obama freshman year of college, 1980
Pope Francis being ordained to the priesthood, 1969
Frank Sinatra lighting John F. Kennedy’s cigarette, 1961
Marilyn Monroe performing for American Troops
Woman and children escape battling forces in Vietnam
Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham
Pictured here are Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham enjoying a little volleyball back in Summer 1975. Captured here is a refreshingly relaxed moment for the future political power-couple. The two met at Yale in 1971 and married in October, of 1975. This was a time before politics, before the pressure of the presidency in 1993, and subsequent sex-scandal between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Staged rumor fuel
There are many who still believe this photograph captured a genuine intimate moment between President JFK and Marilyn Monroe. The artist, Alison Jackson, who is known for creating (fake) images of famous figures, has long since come forward confirmed these were just lookalikes and she staged the photograph.
Stephen Hawking with his wife Jane Wilde, 1965
Muhammad Ali training underwater
Pictured here is Muhammad Ali training away in the Sir John Hotel pool in Miami back in 1961. The greatest boxer of all time began training at just 12-years old. At 18-years old, he took home a gold medal from the 1960s Summer Olympics in Rome.
Ali was representative for African pride during the 60s Civil Rights Movement. He was against the Vietnam War, refused to be conscripted into the military, and was arrested for draft evasion. and stripped of the boxing titles he earned.
Lieutenant Custer with Union Troops
Pictured here is the infamous Lieutenant Custer with Union Troops in 1862, just prior to the battle that would cost his life. Custer was known for his vicious tactics as a soldier during the American Indian Wars. In a battle that became known as “Custer’s last stand,” he was scalped by a Cheyenne warrior.
Florida’s last Civil War veteran
Posing with this jet fighter is Bill Laundry, Florida’s last (alleged) Civil War Veteran. Lundy claimed to have enlisted in March 1864 and to have served with the 4th Alabama Infantry. He was honorably discharged in May 1865 and went on to raise ten children with his wife Mary Jane Lassiter.
He was granted a Confederate soldier's pension of $600 per annum in 1941, which was soon raised to $900 per annum, and by 1953 it was up to $150 per month ($1800 per annum). The problem lies in the 1860 Census records which suggest an age discrepancy. Lundy was born in 1859, which would make him about six years old by the end of the Civil War— which means he couldn’t have served.
A nuclear view
The nuclear test was code-named Trinity
An assassination that was carried out during a televised debate
There was more to Mount Rushmore
John F. Kennedy Jr. Salutes
When Doves Cry
A young Donald Trump made photographic history long before his presidency. Trump often voiced concern for what he called “The Subject”—i.e., the nuclear-arms and the need for a deal-maker (such as himself) to save the world from annihilation.
In honor of world peace, Trump he posed with a dove in front of the same background photographer William Coupon used to shoot presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Richard Nixon.
Trump was enjoying the shoot until the little white peacekeeper pooped on him. According to the photographer “He was perplexed and pissed off." The photo was used for the November 1985 cover of Manhattan Magazine.
Allied forces mock Hitler
Underground Christmas Parties
During the second World War, many changes were made to festive rituals. Christmas may have had to be scaled down significantly but it certainly wasn’t forgotten. Pictured here is an underground shelter that was transformed into a Christmas gathering to cheer up the children and boost morale all around. Despite the sorrow around them, they were able to smile and find a reason to celebrate for at least this one day.
The corpses of frozen soldiers were used like scarecrows
Human remains at a Nazi concentration camp
Windmill Theatre dressing room in wartime London
There may have been a mass of bombs and sirens in the air but that didn’t stop the Windmill Theatre from carrying on music and dance performances for the people of wartime London. Pictured here is a behind the scenes peek at some of the beautiful artists who helped Londoners forget about the madness for a while. They’d eat, sleep, and for the most part, live on the premises. This photo was taken after a show on September 24, 1940.
After American troops captured Germans, they were forced to confront the consequences of their actions. They had to watch films about concentration camps and what was happening inside of them. It seems by the expressions on some of their faces, they weren’t all entirely aware of what they were a part of and what the Third Reich was up to. Some of them couldn't bear to watch. This was how the Allies were handling the rebuilding of a civil society in Germany. What they called “post-war de-Nazification.”
The “Governator” showing off his ‘big guns’
Former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was once a bodybuilding action star who didn’t shy away from an opportunity to flex those big guns of his. Here he is, showing off to an elderly woman back in the 1970s. He went on to win the title of “Mr. Universe” and was “Mr. Olympia” seven times before taking on politics.
American tank crews with Bernard Herzog
Pictured here are American tank crews listening to the accounts of Bernard Herzog. During World War II, Herzog was a prisoner of war for several years before finally being liberated from the camp of Santo Tomas, in Manila, Philippines. After the war, he embraced a normal life, went back to Marysville and worked for a local taxi company.
The last photo that was taken of the RMS Titanic
An exceptionally angry Joseph Goebbels
German helmets were repurposed as victory-inspired art
Rain of mortar
Captured using a long exposure is what appears to be a beautiful light show. What’s really here is a nightmare. There are mortar rounds firing through the night sky and was taken in 1917, during World War I. The injuries sustained by survivors who took a mortar shell hit were pretty horrific and left scarce treatment options. What little could be done wouldn’t happen until out of the trenches, which often took days of suffering.
The last public execution in the United States
Lady Liberty's head was on display in France
A gas mask education program was launched in 1941
The threat of inhaling airborne pollutants and toxic gases was so great after the outbreak of the First World War, that children were thoroughly trained and given drills at school. Most civilians were given the same education through the civil defense department, but schools implemented an entire gas mask education program in 1941.
Take Atabrine or else...
Union Troops captured at Fort Sumter
The American Civil War raged from 1861 and 1865, between the Union troops of the north and the Confederate soldiers, who were fighting on behalf of the seven southern slave states. This photograph was taken in 1864 and shows Union troops receiving their rations. They were captured and held at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
King Tut uncovered
Pictured here is Howard Carter, the now-famous Egyptologist, who discovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb. News of his discovery spread like wildfire and he received world-acclaim in November of 1922. He was photographed while performing his careful examination of the golden sarcophagus’ interior.
Woodstock was overwhelming
Woodstock took place in August of 1969, on a dairy farm in the Catskills near White Lake, New York. The turn out for what was meant to be a three-day art and music festival, so badly overwhelmed the neighboring communities, that the governor of New York considered calling the National Guard for help.
Spock served in the United States Army
Pictured here is Fred Phillips giving Leonard Nimoy his classic Spock haircut and getting makeup before shooting. What many people don’t know about the television icon, is that he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in the early 1950's. Nimoy spent 18 months in the reserves and put on entertaining shows for the Army Special Services during his tenor. He left the military with the rank of Sergeant and went on to become Spock.
The traffic for Woodstock was backed up for miles
He refused to join the Nazi salute in 1936
In a sea of Nazi madness stood a lone August Landmesser refusing to salute. Landmesser was engaged to a Jewish woman and thrown out of the Nazi party. They tried to register to be married in Hamburg, but the Nuremberg Laws prevented it. The couple was apprehended and Landmesser was found guilty of "dishonoring the race" under Nazi racial laws.
He was arrested again July 15, 1938, and was imprisoned and eventually drafted into penal military service, where he died in action. His fiance, Eckler was sent to a concentration camp where it is presumed she was killed.
A PanAm plane was needed to transport a 5 MB hard drive
Once upon a time, in a not too distant past, 1956 to be exact, transporting a 5 MB hard drive required the assistance of a PanAm plane. That’s right, that big blocky monstrosity pictured here is a 2,000-pound hard drive with no storage space. To put this into perspective, even the cheapest iPhones available have a 16-gigabyte drive, which is about 3,200-times more storage than that tower and fits in the palm of your hand. It’s amazing to see how far technology has come, even in just the last 50-years.
A navigation hotline in 1963 Pre-Google Maps era
Before there were GPS and navigation apps there were paper maps. And if you were lost beyond your paper map reading abilities there was no OnStar or Google Maps to walk you through it, there were navigation hotlines. You’d have to call in for directions but cell phones weren't around yet either so you’d have to find a phone booth.
It’s pretty creepy to look at a childhood picture of someone who grew up to commit mass genocide. Pictured here is a young (and defiant looking) Adolf Hitler. The Austrian-born boy would go on to become one of the most evil dictators in history.
Testing a bulletproof vest in Washington D.C. in 1923
What we have here is Darwinism at its finest. These men one of whom clearly has no survival instincts are testing out bullet proof vest. By ignoring all logic, strapping a vest on, and taking a bullet to the chest they can test its effectiveness. There was probably a whole lot of finger crossing and praying going on here as well.
Why they didn’t use mannequins or watermelons is anyone’s guess.
The meeting of two legends
It was backstage at the Roxy in Los Angeles, Ca that music legends George Harrison and Bob Marley met for the first time. It was 1975 and the two icons of the era had massive international tours going on at the time. But each man was a fan of the other and they were happy to finally meet.
During the Prohibition the illegal sales of liquor was a flourishing industry and women particularly took an interest in it. Not only were women making moonshine, but they were also active in smuggling efforts. One of the main reasons women were so successful, is because, at the time, police were not allowed to search women.
A meeting of great minds in the woods
What’s been captured here is a meeting of some of the greatest minds in the United States. Founder of Ford Motors, Henry Ford, President Warren G. Harding, Thomas Edison, and Samuel Firestone of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company all on a camping trip.
As it turns out, Ford and Edison had camping adventures often and eventually brought Firestone and Harding in on what had the makings of the most intelligent 'Buddy Film' of all time.
Kathleen Cleaver and Bobby Seale in 1968
Pictured here is Kathleen Cleaver with Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale at the summer of 1968 rally to “Free Huey” in Oakland California. Huey Percy Newton was a political activist and co-founder of the Black Panther Party. The “Free Huey Movement” was born when Huey was accused of murdering John Frey, an Oakland Police Officer.
A dapper Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was once quite the dapper young man. Handson, poised, well educated and went on to do great things. The British politician and statesman served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.
He led Britain to victory over Nazi Germany during World War II and was a writer and non-academic historian who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his entire body of works.
The Gettysburg Address
This photograph was taken from the crowd gathered for Lincoln's Gettysburg Address which took place during the Civil War. It is considered one of the greatest and most influential statements of national purpose in history.
"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal..."