17 Dramatic Photos From the Past That Can’t Be Found in Any History Textbook

Thanks to the invention of photography, we can at least partially understand the way people lived a century ago. We can also get an idea of their looks and occupations. However, it is still a huge job to find rare and unique pictures.

WeGoRo created this selection for you, and now we are happy to share these emotional pictures. Every shot tells a whole story.

The Titanic orphans

Michel and Edmond Navratil survived the wreck of the Titanic. Their father, who was accompanying them, died, and the photo of the children was published in a newspaper in order to find their relatives. Nobody knew the real names of the children, so they were named Louis and Lola or “the Titanic orphans.”

The working pensioner

The man in this picture is Pinhus Karlinsky, the supervisor of the Chernigov floodgate. S. M. Prokudin-Gorsky, the author of the picture, wrote in his notes that in the year 1909, the man in the picture was 84 and had been working for 66 years.

A noble deed

These soldiers stand in the shape of a horse’s head to commemorate the several million horses, donkeys, and mules that died during the First World War.

This pilot of the Royal Air Force is getting his hair cut before a mission.

This photo was taken in 1942 at Fairlop Airfield Base in Essex, England. The laid-back man in the picture is Francis Mellersh, a pilot of the Royal Air Force. In the picture, he is getting his hair cut before setting off on another mission while reading Greenmantle by John Buchan.

This French resistance fighter smiles at his executioners.

Georges Blind (the man standing against the wall) was a member of the French resistance during World War II. He was arrested in 1944. He refused to speak, so the Nazis prepared him for an execution. It didn’t work, and Georges was deported to Blechhammer, a concentration camp, where later he was murdered. A copy of this picture was secretly saved by a civilian French photographer.

A warning

In this picture, a member of the Ku Klux Klan is driving a car with a hanging loop outside his window. It was a warning to the inhabitants of the African-American district of Miami who should have taken part in the elections in May 1939.

An unexpected winner

During the annual Boston Marathon in 1951, a Japanese man named Shigeki Tanaka came to the finish line first. 6 years before that event, Tanaka survived the atomic bombardment of Hiroshima by the American Air Forces. The crowd greeted the runner with silence.

A family of the Great Depression

The photographer Dorothea Lange showed the human face of the Great Depression, taking pictures of people suffering from unemployment. Her most iconic picture is called Migrant Mother. In this picture, you can see Florence Thompson, a single mother of 7 children. The leading newspapers of the world published the photo of Florence, which attracted a lot of attention to the problems of contemporary America.

The President dies on duty.

Salvador Allende, the President of Chile, is running out of his residence during the Carabineers’ overthrow, which was led by Augusto Pinochet (September 11, 1973). The resident is holding an automatic gun, a present of Fidel Castro. Sometime after, Allende was found shot with this very gun.

When you lie down all the working day:

In this picture from the beginning of the 20th century, you can see knife grinders or so-called “yellow bellies” (this name was given to them because of the yellow dust from the grinding machine). Lying on their bellies, the workers kept their backs safe. The dogs were not only good company to the workers but also warmed them up by lying on the legs of their hosts.


Japanese women and teenagers see off the kamikaze pilots on their way to the airfield. Japan, 1945.

The high point of the Cold War

This is a picture of the American astronaut Donald Slayton and the Soviet astronaut Alexey Leonov in weightlessness during the American-Soviet mission “Apollo-Soyuz.” It took place from July 17-19, 1975. This was one example of the collaboration between the countries during the Cold War.

New York 40 years ago

Here you can see police officers taking a ride on the New York subway. Before Rudolph Giuliani became the mayor of New York (1994-2001), the city was far from looking the way it does now. Widespread vandalism and graffiti on buildings and transport were a symbol of New York in the ’70s and ’80s.

Japanese samurai warriors and the Sphinx, 1864

This is a group of samurai warriors who were participating in the “Ikeda mission” posing in front of the Sphinx. In 1864, on their way to Paris, the Japanese ambassadors, led by the shogun Ikeda Nagaoki, had visited Egypt.

The 2 revolutionists

In this picture, Fidel Castro gives a warm hug to Yuri Gagarin. The picture was taken on July 26, 1961, during the anniversary of the Moncada barracks attack (the first episode of the Cuban revolution). Castro was fond of Yuri Gagarin and gave him the first Order of Playa Girón.

War and peace

A British soldier in Belfast, Northern Ireland, poses with local children. The Belfast Agreement would be signed 17 years later.

The 1st of May is the happiest day of the year!

A girl with balloons during the International Workers’ Day parade, Lviv, 1968

What do you think about these rare historical pictures? Which one impressed you the most? Share your opinion with us in the comments.

Preview photo credit loc, pikabu