21 Rarely Seen Photos You Won’t Find in History Books
Get a unique look at everyone from Hollywood stars to British royals with these rarely seen photos from throughout the 20th century.
In this photo, the Titanic‘s “Collapsible D” lifeboat approaches the RMS Carpathia, another transatlantic passenger ship. “Collapsible D” was the last lifeboat to be lowered from the port side of the Titanic during the 1912 disaster. Packed with anywhere from 15 to 25 people (historians can only estimate how many people made it aboard), the small boat is towed toward the Carpathia with the help of another lifeboat. How’s this for a disturbing historical coincidence: Six years after aiding Titanic survivors, the Carpathia would also sink after being struck by a German U-boat. Learn some more eerie historical facts you didn’t find out in history class.
Harry Houdini, possibly the most famous magician who ever lived, prepares for one of his many death-defying tricks in this rarely seen shot from April 30, 1908. For this specific trick, Houdini dove 30 feet into the Charles River while collared and handcuffed. He surfaced, with the chains in his hands, a mere 40 seconds after diving, to the amazement and relief of 20,000 spectators. Even the mayors of Boston and Cambridge came out to watch.
Booker T. Washington
In this photo dating back to around 1912, the celebrated orator and activist Booker T. Washington delivers an address. This shot, captured in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, was taken by Washington’s personal photographer, Arthur P. Bedou. Like Washington, he was African-American and sought to end the disenfranchisement of black Americans in the post-Reconstruction nation. For another fascinating journey through history, get a look at these photos showing what 14 everyday objects looked like 100 years ago.
Flags in progress
Here, a roomful of women is hard at work sewing American flags, which had only 48 stars at the time—somewhere between 1916 and 1920. While much of the male workforce was overseas fighting in World War I, women stepped up, volunteering to help make flags at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
During his presidential campaign, Republican party nominee and soon-to-be 29th President of the United States Warren G. Harding takes a break from showcasing his political prowess to demonstrate his talent with a sousaphone! Harding, who was elected to the office in 1920, ran a “front porch” presidential campaign, mostly staying local and encouraging his supporters to come see him speak. (And play!) Check out some more fascinating little-known talents of U.S. presidents.
Votes for women
Four years after women won the right to vote, the National League of Women Voters gathered on September 17, 1924, to encourage and empower their fellow women to do just that. The election of 1924 was the second one women could legally vote in, and millions did. Check out some of the most inspiring famous female firsts throughout history.
Check out this incredible behind-the-scenes look at the construction of one of America’s most iconic monuments. This shot, taken sometime around 1932, puts the massive size of the mountain’s presidential likenesses in perspective. Check out these stunning photos of what the world’s most famous landmarks look like zoomed out.
America’s favorite lady pilot prepares to take off for the first leg of her planned flight around the world—Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. She stands in front of her chosen aircraft: The Lockheed Electra 10E, which had been built specifically for her. She would depart shortly after this photo was taken, on March 17, 1937. The flight would be called off, however, when the Electra was damaged during Earhart’s takeoff from Hawaii.
The young starlet, who is around nine or ten years old in this photo, takes on the role of a cowgirl as part of a Western show. Her cowboy companion is Montie Montana, a famous rodeo trick rider and stuntman. The two prepare to take the stage at the Desert Inn in Palm Springs, California in this rarely-seen photo dating back to around 1938.