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25 Rare Historical Photos that show Life Isn’t What it Used to Be

This article is a sort of commentary on the genre of article that has become really popular in recent years, where several photos of something like this are placed in an article with a few sentences for each image. Consider this article a “truther” version of that: these are actual relevant points about photos that were placed in other viral articles.

Ready to hear about 25 photos from history from a perspective that isn’t bland? Here’s a different perspective.

1. The first photo of a sports team

This is the first known photo of a sports team, all American. The tradition reportedly finds roots in 1858, predictably on the East Coast of the United States in Hoboken, New Jersey. This is the Knickerbocker Baseball Club.

2. Bison Skull Mountain

This is a gruesome scene if there ever was one. Animal cruelty was pandemic back then.

3. Prison labor

This is actually prison labor. Prisoners used to be made into test subjects just as they are today. This man was testing a safety net before it underwent mass production.

4. The real cost of the Vietnam War

Aside from spraying carcinogenic poison all over the lush canopies of trees in Vietnam, leading to fatal birth defects for decades, the US military also made all these children orphans after the Vietnam war. Here, they are being taken to America. Must have been a publicity stunt.

5. The Mestiza de Sangley

This portrait was taken in the late 1800’s by photographer Francisco Van Camp. It depicts a young woman and that’s about it, a term which originates in the Spanish Philippines.

6. Swedish airline girls

Hopefully this was a private airline and had nothing to do with glorification of the military through sexual appeal. There was plenty of that going on back then.

7. Propaganda

This is a straight up propaganda photo from the Vietnam War, showing air force fighter pilot Lt. Col Robert Stirm return to his family after being a prisoner of war for 6 years. Other articles that would call this a chilling photo from history would not share this opinion.

8. First white American to have a Tattoo

Did you know it used to be really, really taboo for white people to have tattoos? Olive Ann Oatman of Illinois, was known as the first white American woman to have one. She was kidnapped by a Native American tribe when she was 14 and her family was killed. Maybe tattoos were controversial because Native Americans had them.

9. The Manta Ray

On August 26, 1933 this photo of a gigantic Manta Ray was taken.

10. The 1960’s Style

This was the aesthetic of the 60’s. But notice this: people looked much healthier back then. Why is that?

11. People have Nostalgia about things like this

I don’t have nostalgia about movies like this or this era, having never lived in it. All I see is that once upon a time, people weren’t as poisoned and sickly as they are now. That much can’t be denied. This is an actress named Jamie Lee Curtis.

12. True Activist

This young woman was a real activist. She demonstrated for civil rights the hardcore way, spending time in prison and even a fearful two months on death row. Salute to Joan Trumpauer Mulholland.

13. Massive tan computers

Remember these? There are even genres of music (like Vaporwave) that aspire to invoke nostalgia about this old style of technology. There’s a certain feel to it, like a woodgrain handle.

14. James Dean

This was a 1950’s celebrity named James Dean, who fatally crashed his car hours after this photo. Ever heard of “Rebel Without a Cause?”

15. Abraham Lincoln

This is how much a beard matters.

16. Prohibition

What happens when the cops come to bust you and alcohol is illegal? It gets dumped out the window like this, during that ridiculous era of prohibition. Welcome to Detroit, Michigan.

17. Nuclear Testing

In 1953, this was the site of nuclear testing. Did they tear open a hole to another dimension? That’s what the show Twin Peaks suggests.

18. Black girl in an all-white school

This is Dorothy Counts, joining an all-white school. It was important for people to get along regardless of race, but who would really want to choose another school full of people who are prejudice anyway?

19. First plastic surgery

This is Walter Yeo, and he was the first person in recorded history to get “advanced” plastic surgery. It probably was never a good idea.

20. Boxing

Welcome to the 1930’s: where women would kickbox… more often?

21. Babe Ruth

You’ve heard the name, but have you ever seen this?

22. Tallest in History

The tallest person in history has been called Robert Wadlow, or the “Giant of Illinois.”

23. MLK and the burned cross

Yes, people really did wake up to burning crosses on their lawn if they were black in the south. What a damn shame.

24. Man down

He even looks rigid when knocked over. Anyone who serves the crown should fall down, pfft.

25. The mannequins

Are mannequins inherently scary? The fear is intensified when the photo is old and black and white.

(Image credit: Direct Expose)

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