Here’s Proof Selfies Have Been Popular Since 1839

Flip through a brief history of America's favorite photo trend.


Also in Reader's Digest Magazine July 2014
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Robert Cornelius/Getty Images

1839

Philadelphia photographer Robert Cornelius takes one of the first photographic self-portraits.

Anatol Josepho, 1928-30, International Center of Photography, Gift of the Josepho Family, 2008.

1925

Anatol Josepho invents the photo booth, bringing the selfie into the public sphere.

Courtesy AV Archives John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

1953

Jacqueline Kennedy and then-Senator John F. Kennedy are only two of the booth’s many famous boosters.

Buzz Aldrin/Courtesy Whosay

1966

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin snaps himself on a Gemini XII spacewalk; he claims it was the first space selfie.

Courtesy Jennifer Lee

2011

San Franciscan Jennifer Lee posts the first self-portrait with the #selfie hashtag on Instagram.

Courtesy Lebron James

2013

Selfies snowball, and pet, gym, as demonstrated here by LeBron James, and other themed selfless emerge. 

Ellen DeGernes/AP Photo

2014

As Academy Awards host, Ellen DeGeneres arranges a seemingly spontaneous star-studded selfie, only to have it unmasked a day later as part of a promotion for Samsung.

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