If “a picture speaks 1,000 words”…

rare photos from historySince the invention of the camera, photography has played a pivotal role in capturing and recording our past so that later generations can live vicariously what others witnessed first hand. As billions of photos have been taken throughout the years, only the smallest fraction of those rare photos from history will ever leave an indelible mark that will never be forgotten.

If “a picture speaks 1,000 words,” these rare photos from history speak volumes beyond that, and capture some of history’s most famous faces in places that you’ve likely never seen them before. Our staff picked 25 rare pictures never seen or almost never seen by most of the public before. They are in specific order of historical value. Please enjoy this peek into the often disturbing past.

1. The Frank Sisters

Source: Twitter/@HistoryInPix

Portrait of Margot Frank (standing) and her famous sister Anne Frank (lying in the sand) from August 1940. The picture was taken from Anne’s photo album, Zandvoort.

Anne Frank famously documented her life in hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II from 1942-1944. She died sometime in February or March 1945.

2. A Presidential Visit

Source: Getty Images

President Abraham Lincoln visits the famous sight of Antietam in 1863. He is accompanied by Allan Pinkerton and Major General John A. McClernand. The photo was taken in front of the headquarters tent of the U.S. Secret Service according to archives in the Library of Congress.

3. Four-Year-Old Bill Clinton (1950)

Source: Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton is seen here in these early photos from his childhood. In the image with the pony, Clinton is 4-5 years old. The other image was taken during the 1950s.

4. Mound of Bison Skulls Used as Fertilizer (1870)

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This early American photograph shows two men standing atop a massive mound of bison skulls. The skulls are going to be ground up and turned into fertilizer.

5. Famous Gangsters’ Bloody End

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bonnie and Clyde were the infamous American gangsters of the Great Depression. Their exploits have been glamorized through the years, but the duo’s gang most often robbed small stores and rural gas stations.

The two met a bloody demise when they were ambushed by law officers near Sailes, Bienville Parish, Louisiana, in 1934. Their bullet-riddled car is seen here.

6. Witnesses to Devastation

Source: Getty Images

On Jan. 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members.

Witnesses on the ground react to watching the heartbreaking scene.

7. Practice for a Big Speech

Source: Getty Images

Hitler practices a speech and mannerisms in front of a photographer so he can study his movements and dramatic impact. Hitler was famously a rousing public speaker.

8. The Hindenburg Flies Over the 1936 Olympic Games

Source: Getty Images

The propeller and lower shell of the Hindenburg Zeppelin are seen soaring above Berlin stadium during the 1936 Summer Olympic Games.

Less than a year later, in Manchester Township, New Jersey, the aircraft caught fire and was destroyed in an attempt to dock with its mooring mast.

9. General Eisenhower, Patton Examine Stolen Artwork in a Nazi Mine (1945)

Source: Getty Images

Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower is accompanied by General Omar N. Bradley and General George S. Patton, Jr., as they inspect stolen art hidden in a German salt mine by Nazi soldiers.

10. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns

Source: Twitter/@HistoryInPIx

This startling and heartbreaking image shows a young girl who survived but was blinded by the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. The bombing killed an estimated 90,000-146,000 people in Hiroshima in total.

11. “G.I. Blues”

Source: Getty Images

On March 24, 1958, Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army as a private at Fort Chaffee. A media frenzy swarmed the celebrity’s recruitment. Here Presley operates a gun in the back of a jeep. Presley stayed in the Army until 1960.

12. Medal Ceremony

Source: Getty Images

On Aug. 8, 1936, Jesse Owens set an Olympic record in the long jump competition at the Summer Olympics to take home the gold medal. Owens proudly stood atop the medal podium with a military-style salute as German Luz Long gave a Nazi salute with his arm extended.

13. John Quincy Adams

Source: Wikimedia Commons

John Quincy Adams was an American statesman and member of the House of Representatives before becoming the sixth president of the United States.

Here, Adams sits in a chair for a photograph in the later stages of his life in 1843.

14. Comrades

Source: Getty Images

Vladmir Ilyich Lenin sits beside Joseph Stalin near Moscow, USSR, sometime around 1922.

Lenin founded the Soviet state and was succeeded by Stalin, who would reign with a more dictatorial method of governance.

15. Tesla’s Lab

Source: Getty Images

Famed and often under-appreciated inventor Nikola Tesla sits amidst his lab as his magnifying transmitter high voltage generator emits bolts of electricity in December 1899.

At least 278 patents worldwide are attributed to Tesla, with many scholars saying other inventions are not properly attributed to Tesla, or that Tesla never took credit for their creation.

16. Beard-less Abe

Source: Getty Images

The photo on the left was taken in Beardstown, Illinois, (that’s not a joke) in 1858 and shows the famous 16th president of the United States before he grew out his signature beard. Lincoln joined the Republican Party in 1858 and was elected president two years later.

The image on the right shows Lincoln still without his beard in 1860.

17. Hitler’s Bunker

Source: Getty Images

Experts in the Allied Army examine the remains of German dictator Adolf Hitler’s war bunker in 1945. As Allied troops drew closer, the Nazi leader committed suicide by placing a revolver in his mouth.

18. He’s Got Jokes

Source: Twitter/@Chicago_History

Singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte cracks a joke that hits home for civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., in this photo from the 1960s.

19. Hitler Amused

Source: Getty Images

Ferdinand Porsche (left) amuses German dictator Adolf Hitler by showing him a model for the Volkswagen car where the engine is in the rear, also known as the “boot.

20. Stare Down

Source: Getty Images

SS Chief Heinrich Himmler walks through a POW camp for Russian prisoners of war. The man staring down Himmler was reportedly a Jewish man.

21. Crash Landing

Source: Getty Images

The Wright Glider has a bumpy landing and stands upright on the ground at Kitty Hawk in 1911. Orville Wright climbs out out of the glider as Alec Ogilvie (left) and Wilbur Wright steady the aircraft.

22. Presidential Pilot

Source: Getty Images

President Theodore Roosevelt became the first president to fly in a plane. Here he sits beside a pilot at the controls before takeoff. This photo was taken in 1907. So technically this plane is the first Airforce One.

23. Celebrations Begin

Source: Getty Images

A liberated Frenchman lights the cigar of England’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill following the defeat of the German army. Churchill arrived in Cherbourg on June 10, 1944, a few days before Allied forces landed on Normandy beaches as reinforcements during D-Day.

24. Titanic Blessings

Source: Twitter/@Historicalmages

A moving image captures the aftermath of the Titanic disaster as a priest says blessings for victims of the famed “Unsinkable” ship.

In the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the Titanic collided with an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. More than 1,500 people were killed.

25. A Killer Among Us

Source: YouTube/elizabeth orr

Rodney James Alcala appeared on The Dating Game in 1978. Alcala was sentenced to death for five murders between 1977 and 1979. As recently as 2013, Alcala pled guilty to two additional murders in New York City in the early 1970s. His true victim count remains unknown.


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