25 Colorized Photos That Give History a Fresh Perspective
The layperson can easily pick up a camera and start snapping away. Still, it takes some serious training and the ability to create the perfect moment in time in order to produce that perfect photograph. Some of these historical photos capture crucial moments in history, while others shed light on important figures of the past. These moments have finally been captured and colorized for the modern viewer’s attention span. This mindblowing collection puts a new perspective on essential times in American and world history.
Louis Armstrong at the Pyramids of Giza, 1961
After the Suez Canal was constructed in 1869, many more people decided to visit Egypt. Since then, millions of tourists worldwide have come to visit the iconic Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx.
This is a great example of what one of the wonders of the world looks like without a mob of visitors. In this case, Louis Armstrong is seen performing for his wife in front of the structures to create a truly romantic moment. It is times like these where people wish they lived in the past when things were less complicated.
Joan Crawford On the Set of Letty Lynton, 1932
Joan Crawford was one of the greatest actresses who ever lived. Here she is on the set of the film “Letty Lynton,” filmed in 1932. The film grossed over $1 million at the box office, a significant amount of money at the time.
It has since become popular primarily because of its lack of availability, even with today’s easy access to media from throughout the decades.
Building the Statue of Liberty, 1881
The Statue of Liberty is, of course, the symbol of freedom for the United States. It was gifted to the country by France after the battle for independence and thus needed to be transported to New York, quite a monumental task.
The statue takes inspiration from both Libertas, the goddess of freedom, and Columbia, the personification of America.
Amelia Earhart, 1930s
Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly an airplane solo across the Atlantic Ocean, having done so in the 1930s. She received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this achievement but unfortunately disappeared on July 2nd, 1937, along with her navigator, Fred Noonan.
Many theories have come about for this occurrence, from the “crash and sink” to full-blown conspiracies.
The Beatles, 1960
This is quite the aged photo of the Beatles, as can be noted by the presence of drummer Pete Best. The photo was taken during the band’s performance in Hamburg, Germany, as a result of their lack of popularity in their hometown of Liverpool, at the time a city of industry.
After their audition at EMI Studios in London, they were strongly advised to drop Best.
Soldier Leaving His Wife for War, 1943
A common practice for soldiers of the Second World War was to learn to say goodbye to their loved ones. This brave recruit is seen here embracing his wife, possibly for the last time.
The anguish and fear felt by this loving couple are very real and only a taste of the difficult times that lay ahead.
Walt Disney Presenting a Map of Disneyland, 1955
Walt Disney changed the dreams of children forever when he conceptualized the idea of Disneyland in 1955. From fantasizing about vacations at the sea, kids now itched to spend a weekend at the renowned theme park.
Disney passed away in 1966, knowing that he would become a legend of the film industry.
Lucille Ball, 1940s
Lucille Ball was the best-known female television icon of the 1940s, to the point that her show “I Love Lucy” is still aired today.
Her affiliation with the Marx brothers and honestly peculiar behavior made her a part of every American household’s television schedule.
Henry Behrens, 1956
In 1956, Henry Behrens was the smallest man in the world. As it was very challenging for little people to make a living working normal jobs, he ended up in Burton Lest’s Midget Troupe.
This photo shows him with his pet cat that looks more like a wild animal compared to Behrens’ 30-inch frame.
Albert Einstein, 1921
Albert Einstein had an incredibly high impact on physics and the way that we see the world today. He is most famous for the Theory of Relativity that essentially explains the laws of gravity.
Born in Germany in 1879, he had to flee to the United States to escape very high levels of discrimination that he was suffering from.
Wilbur Wright Piloting a Glider, 1902
Wilbur and Orville Wright revolutionized the way we see the world with their invention of the first air crafts. This photo shows Wilbur piloting a glider in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1902.
Just a year after this photo was taken, the Wright brothers would go on to create the modern airplane. Traveling would be changed forever, and the world has since never felt smaller.
Female Samurai, 1880
Surprisingly, there was a time when Japan welcomed women into its samurai ranks.
Referred to as the Onna-Bugeisha, these fearless women were taken just as seriously as their male counterparts, quite a feat given that civilian women were treated as far inferior to men in most respects.
Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, 1934
There are no greater landmarks in the western part of the United States than the Golden Gate Bridge. Named for its opportunities for financial gain during the Gold Rush, the bridge connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County, an affluent region of the Bay Area.
Before construction, many believed that the bridge could not be built. These skeptics were proven very wrong.
Alfred Hitchcock, 1960s
Alfred Hitchcock has long been known as the master of suspense. Most famously having directed films such as “The Birds” and “Psycho,” Hitchcock’s career spanned 60 years, during which he directed some 50 feature films.
He therefore made films both in color and in black and white. It is ironic to think that this picture was colorized.
Mechanic Fixing a Steam Pump, 1920
The most phenomenal effort to put together a collection of colorized historical photos is “The Paper Time Machine.”
Together with Dynamichrome’s Jordan Lloyd and Retronaut’s Wolfgang Wild, this collective project resulted in a wonderful book filled with timeless images, including this snap of a mechanic fixing a steam pump.
Queen Victoria With Her Family, 1894
This colored photo shows Queen Victoria and her family during a wedding in Coburg, Germany.
This is a happy example of German and British government entities co-existing peacefully before the outbreak of World War I.
Dr. John Archibald Purves & the Dynasphere, 1932
Dr. John Archibald hardly reinvented the wheel when he created the Dynasphere, but the fact that he managed to make one of Di Vinci’s creations come to life is quite an extraordinary feat.
He successfully patented the monowheel car in the 1930s, while also constructing gas and electric versions. It is his son who is seen riding the convoluted contraption in this photograph.
Walt Whitman, 1868
Walt Whitman is seen as the father of American poetry. He bridged the gap between transcendentalism and realism, thus creating what we now know as free verse.
A highly controversial man in his prime, Whitman’s collection “Leaves of Grass” was considered to be inappropriate when it was published.
Berlin Wall Pass Agreement, 1963
Though these men are not necessarily famous, the moment in time that this photograph embodies is crucial in German history. It tells the story of the Berlin Wall Pass of 1963, wherein people living on either side of the Berlin Wall could briefly reunite.
These two brothers were thus able to spend time together for the first time in several years.
A Guadeloupean Woman at Ellis Island, 1911
During the early 20th century, huge numbers of immigrants dreamt of coming to the United States.
They thus made the difficult passage and would usually go through Ellis Island, off the coast of New York, to be processed before being allowed to carry on in their journeys.
Franz Reichelt, Early 20th Century
As a historical figure whose life was both tragic and successful, Franz Reichelt had quite the story. He invented a pair of silk wings that were to work much like a parachute so that he could safely jump off of high structures.
Reichelt sadly fell to his demise when he was testing the wings from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Susan Peters, 1943
Susan Peters was an actress during the Great Depression. She was not only known for her talent onscreen but also for the tragic hunting accident that left her paralyzed from the waist up and in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Amazingly, Peters still acted extensively even after her injury. This photo was taken 2 years before the accident.
RMS Titanic, 1912
Everyone who has seen the 90s movie “Titanic” seems to think they know what the famed ship looked like, but in fact, there are next to no color photographs from so early in the 20th century.
This snap immortalizes a moment in time where a ship contained more amenities than had ever been seen on board of such a vehicle.
Vivien Leigh, 1939
Vivien Leigh is best known because of her performances as Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Scarlett in “Gone With the Wind,” for which she won Oscars for Best Actress.
Incidentally, because of her British accent, she nearly didn’t get the role of Scarlett O’Hara (pictured here).
Construction of the Hoover Dam, 1935
The Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity structure in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It lay on the border between Arizona and Nevada and was constructed between 1931 and 1936, during the Great Depression.
Its construction was the result of an enormous effort involving thousands of workers that cost over 100 lives.