1. Tsar Nicholas II allows his daughter, the Grand Duchess Anastasia, to smoke.
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. He brought the Russian Empire from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse.
2. Last public execution in the United States, Kentucky, 1936.
About 20,000 people showed up and created a carnival-like atmosphere to watch Bethea McVeigh’s hanging, a black man convicted of the rape and murder of a white woman. The delight and fervor displayed by the mostly-white audience during the execution will forever haunt the town as one of its darkest days.
3. Shot of the first post WWII nuclear test, Operation Crossroads in the Marshall Islands.
The 15-megatonne Bravo test on 1 March 1954 was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout and forced the evacuation of the islanders, many who refuse to return even to this day.
4. John F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe; Not A Rumor Anymore.
It is widely accepted that JFK and Marilyn Monroe did have sex at least once, In 1962 at Bing Crosby’s house in Palm Springs. A friend of Marilyn’s is quoted as saying: Later, once the rumor mill was grinding, Marilyn told me that this night in March was the only time of her “affair” with JFK. Of course she was titillated beyond belief, because for a year he had been trying, through Lawford, to have an evening with her. A great many people thought, after that weekend, that there was more to it. But Marilyn gave me the impression that it was not a major event for either of them: it happened once, that weekend, and that was that. The next and last time Marilyn Monroe crossed paths with JFK was at Kennedy’s 45th birthday party at Madison Square Garden. The knowledge that Monroe and JFK had already had a one-night stand by this point makes the sensuality she brought to her performance of Happy Birthday, Mr. President even more palpable.
5. Hindenburg Disaster, 1937.
There were 22 photographers present at 7 p.m. May 6, 1937 to film the Hindenburg’s arrival, which was ridiculous because this was not a special or rare event and had already been done 20 times in the previous year with no fanfare. Why were there so many people there to catch this seemingly mundane event? Not one of the photographers or cameramen caught the actual spark that led to the “explosion.” Hmmmm….
6. The original prototype for Mount Rushmore, 1923.
Thomas Jefferson’s face on Mount Rushmore was originally started on the opposite side of but George Washington 18 months into the carving, they realized the granite was too weak. His face was dynamited off and carved on the other side.
7. Last photo taken of the Titanic before it sank, 1912.
This photo was the last picture of the Titanic afloat, just mere hours before her tragic end. The Titanic could have been saved but for a 30 second delay in the officer in charge giving the order to change the ship’s course after the iceberg had been spotted. And, well you know the rest, or have seen the movie.
8. Hellen Keller meets Charlie Chaplin, 1919.
Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin met on the set of his movie Sunnyside. It is reported that the two became fast friends and communicated by Helen touching Chaplin’s lips to “feel” what he was saying and Chaplin drew pictures of the scenes on the palm of Helen’s hand.
9. “Jackie” the Lion, recording the MGM roar, 1928.
Jackie the lion was the source of the first audible “ROAR” in MGM’s famous movie logo, thanks to the invention of the gramophone. He was also nicknamed “Lucky” after surviving a plane crash and a studio fire.
10. The Great Manta weighed over 5,000 pounds and was caught in Brielle, NJ, 1933.
Giant manta rays are known for their huge size but this one, which apparently spans 26 feet, is a sight to behold. The sea creature, which also reportedly weighs more than 1,000 kilograms, was allegedly caught by unsuspecting fishermen off the coast of Peru.
11. Grotto in iceberg during the British expedition of Antarctica, 1911.
This photo was taken during an expedition to an Antarctica in 1911, a previously unexplored and little known about part of the world. It captures the essences and spirit of journeys and exploration at that time.
12. Massive crowds gather for Woodstock, 1969.
During the three days of the Woodstock festival, there were no reported incidents of violence among the half-million people in the audience. However, there were three reported deaths, apparently from drug-overdoses.
13. An Empire State builder hanging on a crane above New York City, 1925.
The Empire State Building took only one year and 45 days to build, or more than seven million man-hours. The total height of the building, including the lightning rod, is 1,454 feet and cost a cool 28 million dollars to build.
14. Nuclear Bomb “Shadow” in Hiroshima, Japan 1945.
How’s this for eerie: When the nuclear bomb exploded in Japan, it emitted intense thermal radiation which “bleached” every thing it hit. In the example of the picture the people were close enough to the blast that they were vaporized almost instantly but their bodies absorbed the wave of thermal radiation leaving their shadow in the surface behind them but nothing else.
16. Partially excavated Sphinx in Egypt, 1878.
The Sphinx was carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, a single ridge of limestone that is 73 meters long and 20 meters high. The Sphinx is considered to be one of the largest single-stone statues in the world and also the oldest, dating some 5000 years ago.
17. Niagara Falls during the great freeze in the winter of 1911.
Is it really frozen? Yes and no. The tremendous volume of water never stops flowing, However, the falling water and mist create ice formations along the banks of the falls and river. This can result in mounds of ice as thick as fifty feet. If the winter is cold for long enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form what is known as the “ice bridge”. This ice bridge can extend for several miles down river until it reaches the area known as the lower rapids.
18. Police, dogs and man during the civil rights movement, 1964.
For eight terrifying days in 1964, Birmingham police uses cruel brutality against thousands of non-violent African American protesters led by Martin Luther King, Jr.. Besides trained attack dogs, billy clubs, tasers, tear gas, and stun guns were also used.
19. Lyndon B. Johnson shakes hands with Martin Luther King after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, 1965.
Martin Luther King and Lyndon B. Johnson worked together to change the laws to give African-Americans the right to vote. Here is what MLK thought about President Johnson: I had been fortunate enough to meet Lyndon Johnson during his tenure as Vice President. He was not then a presidential aspirant and was searching for his role under a man who not only had a four-year term to complete but was confidently expected to serve out yet another term as Chief Executive. Therefore, the essential issues were easier to reach and were unclouded by political considerations. His approach to the problem of civil rights was not identical with mine—nor had I expected it to be. Yet his careful practicality was, nonetheless, clearly no mask to conceal indifference. His emotional and intellectual involvement was genuine and devoid of adornment. It was conspicuous that he was searching for a solution to a problem he knew to be a major shortcoming in American life…
20. A train derails at the Gare Montparnasse in Paris, France, 1895.
The derailment and wreck of the Granville – Paris Express was on October 22, 1895, after it overran a buffer stop and crashed through a (2 ft) thick wall, shot across an outside terrace and plummeted (30 ft) onto the street below, where it ended up as seen in the photos. Amazingly only two of the 131 passengers and two conductors sustained injuries.
21. British solider playing fetch with his dog.
Three months later he realized it was a bear.
22. Young Osama Bin Laden with his family in Sweden during the 1970s.
Bin Laden is second from the right in a green shirt and blue pants.
23. American corporal aims a Colt M1895 on top of an elephant during WW1, 1914.
An American corporal aims a Colt M1895 atop a Sri Lankan elephant. The reason why the corporal is atop the elephant is a mystery but elephants were never a weapons platform adopted by the US Army. It’s probably a publicity picture, not something the army would actually try to employ. The elephant would not respond well to the sound of that machine gun a few inches from his ears.
24. Men stand in a 45,000 ton steel pipe over the Hoover Dam.
Named for President Hoover, the Hoover Dam’s construction started in April 1931 and was completed in March 1936. In total, 21,000 men labored on the dam, and the average total payroll was $500,000 per month. The Hoover Dam is 726 ft. tall. That is 171 ft. taller than the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. At its base, Hoover Dam is as thick as two footballs fields measured end-to-end.
25. American troops aboard the Queen Elizabeth who arriving in New York City Harbor after V-Day, 1945.
V-E Day stands for Victory in Europe Day, the day Nazi Regime officially surrendered to US forces. It was “the celebration heard around the world.” However, WWII was not over yet as we now faced the brutal Imperial Army of Japan.
26. Berlin, Germany, 1945.
An American soldier replaces an “Adolph Hitler St.” sign with “Roosevelt Blvd.” sign in Berlin, Germany, 1945.
27. American soldiers approaching Normandy Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to fight the Nazi Regime. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft were deployed on D-Day, resulting in a foot-hold by the Allies in Europe, allowing them to start the slow trek across the continent to face enemy troops. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded.
28. Destroyer USS Shaw exploding during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
In a surprise military attack by Japan’s Imperial Army on December 7, 1941 at 7:48 a.m.. the Hawaiian military base at Pearl Harbor was bombed, killing 2,500 Americans and wounding 1,700 more. The next day, America declared war on Japan, and cemented our involvement in WWII.
29. Construction of the American Railroad to the west, 1868.
The First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States was built in the 1860s, linking the well developed railway network of the Eastern coast with rapidly growing California. The main line was officially completed on May 10, 1869. The vast number of people who traveled the line, and the network that followed, set the USA on the path to economic abundance. It also ended the centuries old way of life of the Native Americans and greatly altered the environment.
30. Two German soldiers and their donkey wear gas masks.
Soldiers had to wear respirator gas masks during WWI. While under chlorine gas attacks, soldiers were instructed to urinate on their masks in order to more effectively combat the gas. However if for some reason they did not have a mask on hand, they were told to urinate on a piece of cloth and cover their face in it. Water also worked but was less effective.
31. Organizers from the Boston Marathon attempt to stop a woman from running the race, 1967.
Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run in and complete the male-only Boston Marathon in 1967 amidst angry protesters that grabbed at her and tried to push her off the path.
32. Punt gun, capable of killing upwards of 50-100 birds in a single shot, 1800s.
The punt gun was used in the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. Its main use was to destroy waterfowl in large amounts, up to 90 birds at once. The bullets were made of lead and weighed one pound each.
33. Remains of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, who fell from space, 1967.
NPR’s Robert Krulwich describes this tragedy: So there’s a cosmonaut up in space, circling the globe, convinced he will never make it back to Earth; he’s on the phone with Alexei Kosygin – then a high official of the Soviet Union – who is crying because he, too, thinks the cosmonaut will die. The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes – though no one knows this – won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”
34. “The Most Beautiful Suicide” by Time Magazine, 1947.
Evelyn McHale, jumped from the Empire State Buildings 86th floor observatory to her death where she lays atop a limousine.
35. Hitler rehearsing his speech in front of the mirror, 1925.
Roger Moorhouse, a historian said: “It makes perfect sense that he would be doing this. We have this image now of Hitler almost as a buffoon, but he had a lot of charisma and his speeches made people sincerely believe he would lead them back to greatness. He was an absolutely spellbinding public speaker and these pictures show that it was something he worked very hard on. When you listen to his speeches now, he sounds like a ranting, raving maniac, but we know that it came across in a very persuasive way. These pictures give an important insight into how he practiced. He was a showman and rehearsed his gestures to get a particular reaction from his audiences.
He experimented with his own image and asked Hoffmann to take photographs for him to review. Then he’d look at them and say “no, that looks silly” or “I’m never doing that again”. He used Hoffmann as a sounding board, but never intended the images to be published. Hitler was a very modern politician in that way. He was concerned about how he looked and his public persona.”
36. Melted mannequins at Madam Tussaud’s London wax museum after a fire, 1925.
This is an excerpt from the actual newpaper, the Manchester Guardian, on 19 March 1925: Madame Tussaud’s, the famous wax-works exhibition in Marylebone Road, London, was badly damaged last night by fire. The fire was discovered shortly after 10.30. By 11.30 the interior of the top storey was a raging furnace. The whole of the roof collapsed with the exception of a dome-like structure at the western end. Scores of fire engines were in attendance, and probably 10,000 people assembled in the neighbourhood. The fire was extinguished by midnight. It was stated that all the Napoleonic relics had been destroyed. The total amount of damage cannot yet be estimated. The whole of the roof and the top floor of the main building was destroyed.
37. Man and his hippo-drawn carriage, 1924.
This hippopotamus named Lotus was actually apart of the act of a circus, although Lotus certainly doesn’t seem happy about it.
38. Elvis Presley in the Army, 1958.
Elvis Presley served approximately 2 years in the Army, from 1958 to 1960, after being drafted. At the time of his draft, he had already achieved fame and success and was one of the most recognizable names in the world.
39. Steven Spielberg sits in the mouth of the mechanical shark used in his movie, Jaws.
In 1975, American audiences were paralyzed with fear when the movie Jaws came out. Jaws went on to make over 470 million dollars at the box office and forever changed the movie industry.