22 Rare Photos You’ll Never See In A History Book

I often try and steer clear of looking at photos from decades ago as they remind me just how freakin’ old I am.

But sometimes, when the time’s right, it’s nice to take a trip down memory lane. It often surprises me just how different my life was and I’m sure it would do the same to you. Rooting around in the attic, digging into those old boxes of photos from the ‘early years’ can unlock a wave of emotions and reminiscing in equal measure.


The images are often blurry and depending on how far back you’re looking, can even be black and white. But, it doesn’t matter because their value isn’t defined by the condition they’re in, it’s the memories they possess.

That’s what photos do; they perfectly encapsulate a snapshot of life and often show just how different things were back then compared to present day.

Well, to continue on that theme, I’ve assembled a handful of some of the rarest, most historic and era-defining photos from the past 100 years or so that you probably won’t have ever seen before. Why? Because they too perfectly encapsulate how different life was during different time periods and they’ll definitely act as an eye-opener!

Have a scroll through and see if you or any of your family members can relate to these. You never know, they might just bring back some treasured memories!

1. Going against the crowd

This one man stood arms crossed and point blank refused to solute Adolf Hitler when everybody else did. I dread to think what the punishment was for something like this, but fair play to him.

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2. Don’t jump!

The great icon that is Muhammed Ali attempting to talk down a man trying to commit suicide. Hopefully, he succeeded.

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3. Icons of the past

Some things change, some things don’t. The Beatles and Muhammed Ali pictured here used to be two of the biggest names in the world but are now just distant memories of what they once were. Me on the other hand, well I’m still just as good looking…

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4. Breaking the mold

This is Dorothy Counts becoming the first black girl to attend an all-white school in the United States in 1957. In the background, you can see her male classmates heckling and teasing her. She isn’t impressed in the slightest. She must have been one brave girl!

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5. Painting the Eiffel Tower

I think they might have been slightly more relaxed on health and safety laws in 1932. Not for those that have a fear of heights. Come to mention it, you wouldn’t catch me up there even if you paid me enough to spend my retirement living out my days in a villa in the Bahamas!

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6. Madness on the roads

In 1967, Sweden decided to change driving on the left-side of the road to driving on the right. This is the first morning afterward, total carnage. I guess there’s no such thing as j-walking either.

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7. Remember the original Alien films?

Bolaji Badego, a 7-foot Nigerian design student wearing his classic Alien costume from the 1978 film of the same name. That thing used to freak me out!

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8. Great Minds

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

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Imagine being a fly on the wall during this conversation, or any conversation between the two for that matter.

9. Mickey Mouse in his early years

These drawings must be worth an absolute fortune now, he looks so different too!

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10. Under construction

In 1937, the sheer size and magnitude of a project like building the Golden Gate bridge must have been mind-blowing to watch the progress. A national landmark ever since.

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11. Putin as a teen

It’s hard to imagine Vladimir Putin as an innocent teenager considering his mass unpopularity in the western world at the moment. To think, he might have just been another little sh*t like the rest of us.

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12. Lady Liberty is born

Here she is, shiny and new… not that you can tell from this photo. Just before being shipped off to New York.

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13. Just another tourist

If it hasn’t clicked in your mind from the picture who this is yet, then I’ll tell you. Good ol’ Arnold Schwarzenegger (or ‘Arnie’ as his friends call him… I presume). This is apparently him during his first time visiting New York. I wonder if he ever thought in his wildest dreams he’d end up governing an entire state one day?

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14. Hats were pretty popular I suppose

1930’s New York. Just think you’re always protected from bird poop this way…

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15. Just looking for a break

Job hunting in the 1930’s. History has a way of repeating itself, I saw a military veteran with a sign similar the other day homeless on the street. Sad times.

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16. Carving the eyes into Mount Rushmore

Seems as if the US in the 1930’s had similar thoughts. This guy had some cajones!

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17. Causing a stir

Marilyn Monroe always knew how to handle the attention of her millions of adoring fans. This picture was taken in 1954 during the filming of The 7-Year Itch and you’ll quickly recognize the shot from the poster on every teenage boy’s bedroom wall during that time.

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18. Fresh-faced and ready to break records

Kobe Bryant as a young, ambitious 18-year-old holding a jersey that would become one of the most sold in the history of the NBA. I don’t really follow Basketball, but even I know who this guy is!

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19. Moments before history was made

You might recognize the band, the outfits, and the location. That’s because this photo was taken just minutes before capturing the iconic album cover that went on to partially define The Beatles and helped bring them wide-spread success across the UK and America. That Beard!

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20. Change of profession?

The late Robin Williams casually joining the cheerleading team back in 1980. The costume certainly looks the part… I’m not sure the body hair does though.

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21. Always time for a quick photo

Buzz Aldrin’s selfie beats yours. Why? Well, he took this way back in 1966 before selfies were even a thing… oh and he was in space. Always forget that part.

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22. Not to be outdone by this loveable creature

Jack, the chimp that made it all the way to space before man poses with a newspaper that depicts his story on the front page. He looks happy about his newfound fame too, plus of course the fact that he survived in the first place. Go, Jack!

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There you have it, feel old yet? There’s no doubt these photos are real eye-openers and serve as stark reminders of how times have developed over the years. I wonder if in the next century people will look back at photos of us and think our technology and way of life is completely outdated…

If like me you’re now feeling ancient because you can remember some of these times well, then let me know in the comments. Have you got any old photos lying around from your ‘early years’? I’m off to look for something on the Internet that proves how not being in your early twenties is somehow a good thing!