Rare Historical Photographs You’ve Probably Not Seen Before

Pictures play an important role in our lives as they connect us to the past by reminding us of people, places and stories from a long time ago. This is why it’s always fascinating when we stumble upon rare photographs of the past that we never see in the history books. They say pictures speak louder than words and it can take a thousand words to describe what’s in an image.

While history books document many significant events in the past, nothing can tell a story better than real pictures. Rare photographs of the past can transport us into a different place and time. Furthermore, these images allow us to empathize with particular historical moments. History books provide us with a textual presentation of historical events. But without the visuals, we can only let our imagination construct the scenes and emotions.


Rare Photographs of the Past That Will Change Your Perception About History


“Incredible Photograph Of A German Soldier Going Against Direct Orders To Help A Young Boy Cross The Newly Formed Berlin Wall After Being Separated From His Family, 1961”

rare photos german soldier helps boy

On the other hand, pictures taken during a particular time have the ability to deliver the exact moment as it happened. These rare photographs make us feel like we’re actually there, looking at actual people with genuine facial expressions. Hence, pictures instantly give us impressions that are much more accurate than words.


“In 1969, When Black Americans Were Still Prevented From Swimming Alongside Whites, Mr. Rogers Decided To Invite Officer Clemmons To Join Him And Cool His Feet In A Pool, Breaking A Well-Known Color Barrier”

rare photos pool water barrier


“A Policeman In San Francisco Scolds A Man For Not Wearing A Mask During The 1918 Influenza Pandemic, 1918”

rare photos policeman scolds anti-masker


“Princess Diana Shakes Hands With An Aids Patient Without Gloves, 1991”

princess diana shakes hands with aids patient

We all know about what happened during the Holocaust and World War II. But there are more to these infamous events than we’re aware of. Unseen footage of the actual events and untold stories from people who were actually involved. Many historians are dedicating their lives to search for rare historical photographs that haven’t been seen before. These photos could significantly confirm or debunk history as we all know today.


So, Let’s Take A Look At Some More Photos


“Charles Thompson Greets His New Classmates At Public School No. 27 In September 1954, Less Than Four Months After The Supreme Court Ruled That Racial Segregation Was Unconstitutional. Charles Was The Only African-American Child In The School. Photo By Richard Stacks For The Baltimore Sun”

african american kid welcomed at public school


“Members Of Dutch Resistance Celebrate The News Of Adolf Hitler’s Death, April 1945”

dutch resistance celebrate hitler death


“Jewish Prisoners After Being Liberated From A Death Train, 1945”

rare photos jewish prisoner liberated from death train

We’ve gathered some rare photographs of the past that will further enhance your knowledge and perception about our history. So, get ready as we bring you back in time and let you discover the unknown moments of the past.


“Statue Of David By Michelangelo, Encased In Bricks To Prevent Damage From Bombs, During World War 2”

staue of david encased in bricks


Margaret Hamilton Standing With The Navigation Software She And Her MIT Team Produced For The Apollo Project In 1969

margaret hamilton apollo project
Wikimedia Commons


“A Serbian Soldier Sleeps With His Father Who Came To Visit Him On The Front Line Near Belgrade, 1914/1915”

rare photos serbian soldier sleeps with father


“Louis Armstrong Playing For His Wife, Egypt, 1961”

louis armstrong and wife in egypt


“An American Soldier Cradles A Wounded Japanese Boy And Shelters Him From The Rain In The Cockpit Of An Airplane During The Battle Of Saipan While Waiting To Transport The Youngster To A Field Hospital. July, 1944”

rare photos american soldier cradles a wounded japanese boy


“A Man Arrested For Cross-Dressing Emerging From A Police Van, New York, 1939”

man arrested for cross-dressing


“A Man Rides A Bus In Durban, Meant For White Passengers Only, In Resistance To South Africa’s Apartheid Policies, 1986”

rare photos black man rides bus for white passengers


“Anne Frank’s Father Otto, Revisiting The Attic Where They Hid From The Nazis. He Was The Only Surviving Family Member (1960)”

anne frank father revisits hiding place


“Young Queen Elizabeth As A Mechanic During WW2 (C. 1945)”

rare photos young queen elizabeth as mechanic


“Ruby Bridges, The First African-American To Attend A White Elementary School In The Deep South, 1960”

ruby bridges attends white elementary school


“When Nazis Asked Lepa Radic Who Were Her ‘Accomplices’ Before They Hanged Her She Responded: ‘You’ll Know Them When They Come To Avenge Me.’ Young Serbian Girl Was Hanged At The Age Of 17 Near Gradiska In 1943. During The Battle Of Kozara, She Lost Her Father, Brother (15) And Her Uncle”

rare photos lepa radic before she was hanged


“Albert Einstein, His Secretary Helen (Left), And Daughter Margaret (Right) Becoming U.S. Citizens To Avoid Returning To Nazi Germany, 1940”

rare photos albert einsten becomes us citizen


A Lot Of The Photos Show A More Human Side To Historical Events And This One Is Another Example Of The Heartbreaking Consequences Of War


“A German Soldier Returns Home Only To Find His Family No Longer There. Frankfurt, 1946”

rare photos german soldier crying


“Freddie Mercury With His Mother, 1947”

baby freddie mercury with his mother


“Soldiers Returning Home From WWII, 1945”

rare photos soldiers returning home from ww2


“David Isom, 19, Broke The Color Line In A Segregated Pool In Florida On June 8, 1958, Which Resulted In Officials Closing The Facility”

david isom breaks pool color line


“‘The Drunk Basket.’ In The 1960s, Bars In Istanbul Would Hire Someone To Carry Drunk People Back To Their Homes”

rare photos istanbul drunk basket


“7’3” (221cm) Jakob Nacken, The Tallest Nazi Soldier Ever Chatting With 5’3” (160cm) Canadian Corporal Bob Roberts After Surrendering To Him Near Calais, France In September Of 1944″

tallest nazi soldier surrenders to canadian army


A Photograph Of The Nine Kings Of Europe At The Funeral Of King Edward VII In 1910

rare photos nine sovereigns at windsor
Wikimedia Commons


“A Hired Reader Reads To Cigar Makers Hard At Work In Cuban Cigar Factory (Ca. 1900-1910). Because Many Cigar Factory Employees Were Illiterate Lectors Were Hired To Read Novels, Poetry, Nonfiction Works, And Newspapers Determined By Consensus”

hired lector reads to illiterate cigar makers


“WWI. A Canadian Soldier Tries To Comfort A Little Belgian Baby, Who Was Hurt And Whose Mother Was Killed By An Artillery Shell. November 1918”

canadian soldier comforts a crying belgian baby


“Russian Inmate Points An Identifying And Accusing Finger At A Nazi Guard Who Was Especially Cruel Towards The Prisoners In Buchenwald Camp”

russian prisoner points at cruel nazi guard


“A French Women Welcomes An American Soldier Two Days After Liberation. Strasbourg, France, 22 November 1944”

rare photos french woman welcomes american soldiers


“18-Year-Old Keshia Thomas Protects A Fallen Man, Believed To Be Associated With The Ku Klux Klan From An Angry Mob Of Anti-Clan Protestors. Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. 1996 By Mark Brunner”

young woman protects man from angry mob


“3 September 1967: Road traffic in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.”

sweden switched from driving on the left to the right
Wikimedia Commons


This Is How A Ukrainian Immigrant Celebrated Stalin’s Death In 1953

rare photos free beer on stalin death


“Into The Jaws Of Death, 6th Of June, 1944”

normandy landings colorized image


“Crowd In Times Square, New York City Celebrating The Surrender Of Germany, May 7th, 1945”

new york city celebrates germany defeat


“Ruth Lee, A Hostess At A Chinese Restaurant, Flies A Chinese Flag So She Isn’t Mistaken For Japanese When She Sunbathes On Her Days Off In Miami. Dec. 15, 1941”

chinese woman sunbathes in miami with china flag


“A Nurse With A Sick Child During Smallpox Epidemic, Wroc?aw, Poland, 1963”

nurse holding a child with smallpox


“Nikola Tesla, The Last Photo Ever Of The Famous Scientist, 1st Jan 1943”

rare photos nikola tesla last picture


“Portrait Of Arctic Explorer Peter Freuchen And His Wife, Fashion Illustrator Dagmar Cohn, 1947”

peter freuchen and wife dagmar cohn


“Fire And Fury: B-25s Are Pictured Flying Past Mount Vesuvius In Italy As Lava And Ash Spews From The Top Of The Volcano. The Eruption Killed 57 As It Destroyed The Village Of San Sebastiano And San Giorg In March 1944 While Allied Forces Were Battling For Supremacy In The Skies”

volcano erupts during battle


“Soviet Citizens Look At The “Wall Of Sorrow”, Honoring The Hundreds Of Thousands Of People Killed By Stalinism. In 1988, The Soviet Government Allowed Information Regarding The Victims Of Stalin’s Great Purge To Become Public”

soviet citizens looking at the wall of sorrow


“Teenage Dating In Diner, 1950s, The States.”

teenage dating in diner 1950s


“Mobsters Hide Their Faces At Al Capone’s Trial 1931”

rare photos al capone trial


“Inside Of An Airplane In 1930”

inside of an airplane 1930


“Allied Soldiers Mock Hitler Atop His Balcony At The Reich Chancellery, 1945”

rare photos allied soldier mocking adolf hitler


“‘Human Fly’ George Willig Scales The Exterior Of The World Trade Center’s South Tower In 1977. Completing The Climb In 3.5 Hours, He Was Arrested At The Top After Signing Several Autographs, And Was Fined $1.10 By The City – A Penny For Each Floor He Passed”

george willig climbs world trade center


“A photograph of Nintendo’s first headquarters in Kyoto, Japan in 1889”

nintendo first headquarter in kyoto japan
Wikimedia Commons


Photo Of A Nuclear Explosion From 1952 Less Than One Millisecond After Detonation

nuclear explosion detonation
Wikimedia Commons


“A Member Of The Ku Klux Klan Stands Behind A Police Officer For Protection, After A Mob Surrounded His Klan Rally In Austin Texas, 1983”

klan member hides behind a cop

You can also check out our previous collection of historical photos.