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Themes

Updated: May 12, 2024
Photos grouped under popular themes and subjects.

Photos shared by the Community categorized by popular subjects, fashion, transportation, sports, historic events, celebrations, and photography types.
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Themes

Popular Photos
Popular Photos
These historical photos have generated quite the buzz!
This collection of historical photos has got people talking. These photos - either because of the subject and/or the story - have generated a lot of comments among the community. What do you have to s...
339 photos
Lost & Found
Lost & Found
Help reunite mystery or 'orphan' photos that have lost their families.
Photos with the names and dates lost in history. AncientFaces has been reuniting mystery and orphan photos with their families since we began in 2000. This 'Lost & Found' collection is of photos foun...
11.1k+ photos
School
School
Discover school and class photos from past decades.
Every school picture is a celebration of the milestone of another year of learning, and captures snapshots of children and young adults as they mature over the years. Images of classrooms and institu...
29.3k photos
Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights Movement
Images documenting the fight for equality & civil rights in the United States.
Throughout the history of the United States various groups including African-Americans, Native Americans, women, immigrant groups and more have fought for full rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 w...
2.02k+ photos
Funny
Funny
Those ancestors of ours had a sense of humor - amateurs and professionals!
Based on the solemn non-smiling expressions of our ancestors in old photos, you'd think they didn't have a sense of humor. Well these pictures prove we're wrong. Since it's inception, photography has ...
1.10k+ photos
Pets
Pets
Pets are loved members of the household just like family. There's a reason our pets are often called our 'best friends'.
Remembering the companions of our ancestors and those that comforted us in the past. Dog person? Cat person? That's usually the debate when it comes to pets. As of 2022, 70% of U.S. households have pe...
10.8k+ photos
Science Fiction
Science Fiction
A look at the history of the future
In the modern era, the future (and where it will take us) has become a fixation. From Jules Verne and H. G. Wells to Rod Serling and George Lucas, looking into what we will become has been portrayed ...
69 photos
Art & Artists
Art & Artists
Before there were photographs, we painted pictures...
This collection of photos shows some of the paintings, sketches, and drawings over time, as well as the artists who drew them.
22.1k+ photos
Scary
Scary
Historical photos that scare us or are so funny that they're scary!
Scientists say that they can't quantify what scares us - they only know that fear is individual. We can also say that it varies from decade to decade. These are photos from the past that gave our an...
178 photos
Toys
Toys
The most fun ever - toys! Toys have changed a lot over the years, but they serve the same purpose - bringing joy to our lives.
What's childhood without play? And what's play without toys? Toys are an important part of a child's development and our toys have changed with the times. Here are some of the toys and dolls of the p...
815 photos
Technology
Technology
Photos of the inventions, gadgets, machines & inventors of our modern technology taken over the past 150 years
From homes to farms to mines - to the moon. These are the everyday gadgets, utensils, and machines that we've used in daily life plus their inventors and the people who used them. I know of at least...
466 photos
Documents
Documents
Documents contain the facts about the people from our past that educate and preserve for future generations.
Historical documents play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting information about the past, providing evidence for the accuracy of historical accounts, and helping us understand the evolution ...
5.19k+ photos

Fashion

Fashion
Fashion
Discover how fashion has changed over the years with this collection of photos.
Fashion styles & vintage clothing throughout the decades that will inspire, make you wish for those times again, or may make you ask "What were they thinking"? Clothing styles have obviously changed ...
22.1k+ photos
Hats
Hats
The single most popular fashion accessory for men and women used to be the hat - practical or decorative!
Etiquette used to dictate that it would be "a disgrace to venture out of the house without a hat and gloves" and it was not unusual at the turn of the 20th century for both men and women to change the...
5.67k+ photos
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
Hair has been called a woman's "crowning glory" - it's certainly been a mode of expression over the centuries.
In the 1800's, brushing your hair 100 times a day was a popular way to beautify it - but hair was usually washed only once a month. And shampoo wasn't invented until the end of the 1800's. For women, ...
295 photos
Beards
Beards
Antique photos showing men's grooming habits - their beards, mustaches, and other types of facial hair.
Did you know that at times in which there are more women than men - that is, when there is a smaller chance that a man will find a mate - beards become more fashionable? It's not that women prefer fac...
2.80k+ photos
Corsets
Corsets
Pictures of corsets and corselettes and how they have affected fashion over the past 150 years.
Fashion changes - sometimes dramatically, sometimes in increments. One of the biggest changes in fashion has been the use of the corset and corselette. While corsets are sometimes worn today - by both...
93 photos
Glasses
Glasses
Spectacles, glasses, eyewear, bifocals - all of these are ways to correct vision. And today, they also make a fashion statement!
If your vision is poor, you know how important glasses are to your life in these modern times. How would you drive a car if you weren't able to correct your vision? How would you be able to watch tv? ...
9.99k+ photos
Shoes
Shoes
"These boots were made for walking" - and so were the shoes. But they also were made to be fashionable in their time.
From foot binding in China to the Inuit's sealskin boots - decorated with vertical patterns for men and horizontal patterns for women, foot coverings have varied widely throughout cultures and time. B...
106 photos
Uniforms
Uniforms
Who doesn't love a man (or woman) in uniform? Almost everybody has worn a uniform sometime in their life - these are the vintage versions of those uniforms.
Uniforms are worn by many kinds of people - children and adults - in all kinds of organizations. Police, firefighters, nurses, paramedics, the military, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, sports teams, prisone...
5.90k+ photos

Transportation

Transportation
Transportation
Old photos of different types of transportation - trains, planes, automobiles, and more - as well as the people who piloted them.
Of air, water, and land, only flying through the air had eluded humans for millennia. Wheels on carts as well as river boats are known to have been used since 3500 B.C. But since that time - especiall...
110k+ photos
Cars
Cars
From Karl Benz in 1885 to Elon Musk's Tesla, cars have always been a passion for some. See the evolution of car technology and the types of cars that caught our fancy in the past.
In the 1880's, in an effort to invent an automobile that could be used every day - rather than just a fire pumper or a locomotive for special use - inventors tried steam, gasoline, or electricity as a...
10.3k+ photos
Planes
Planes
A pictorial history of the airplane and the men and women associated with flight featuring pilots, astronauts, inventors, explorers, and others.
Since the beginning of time, humans have wanted to fly. While this goal was sought in many ways from fashioning wings and wearing them, to hot air balloons and gliders, it wasn't until the beginning ...
3.62k+ photos
Ships
Ships
Photos of all kinds of ships used in war, commerce, and pleasure, and the men and women who sail on them.
Ocean liners, submarines, destroyers, aircraft carriers, battle ships - and yachts, oh my! Water transportation has been, and continues to be, a vital part of our economies and history. Ships transp...
16.6k+ photos
Trains
Trains
Trains, engineers, railroad workers, passengers, depots, and spectacular tracks and bridges - these photos of steam and diesel powered transportation are from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Since the invention of the first steam train in 1804, trains have created massive cultural changes: They have changed the way we travel, the work we do, and even the food we eat. They are also a roman...
21.9k+ photos
Bicycles
Bicycles
Velocipedes or bicycles or tricycles . . . whatever the name, the bike has been the first rapid transit vehicle for children for generations. These are the photos of those bikes and their riders.
Bicycles are a part of most people's lives - either as a child, an adult, or both. It seems like they've been around forever but it wasn't until the early 1800's that the first bike was introduced to ...
113 photos
Motorcycles
Motorcycles
Discover the history of motorcycles through this collection of family photos taken over the years.
Beginning with the Butler Petrol Cycle in the United Kingdom and Indians and Harley-Davidsons in the United States through Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha in the 20th century, photos of men and w...
166 photos

Sports

Sports
Sports
Baseball, basketball, boxing, soccer, football, hockey, golf, gymnastics, rugby, swimming, track, tennis...photos of people playing sports over the past century and a half.
No, we don't have photos of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC but since the invention of photography, sports activities have been popular subjects for photographers. Just look at the popularity of bas...
11.7k+ photos
Baseball
Baseball
Photos of the U.S. national pastime - images of baseball in history.
Baseball has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century in the United States. The game evolved from various bat-and-ball sports played in England and the United States, and it gained wides...
300 photos
Basketball
Basketball
Invented in 1891 by a Canadian PE teacher, basketball has become a popular sport - and these are the photos showing many of us enjoying "hoops".
Although very popular now, the game of basketball is only a little over 120 years old. It was invented by a Canadian who became a PE teacher in Massachusetts - he needed a way to keep students busy at...
127 photos
Boxing
Boxing
19th and 20th century photos of people who participated in the sport of boxing - also called pugilism.
Modern boxing is supervised by a referee. There are usually 8 to 12 rounds in a professional match, consisting of one to three minute intervals with a one minute rest period in between. Also known as ...
84 photos
Fishing
Fishing
While fishing can be a commercial endeavor or practiced to feed a community, it is also a "sport" for millions of people - these are their photos.
Fish have been around for over 450 million years - much longer than humans - and they have been a source of food for modern humans for at least the past 200,000 years. At first, and even now at times,...
158 photos
Football
Football
One of America's favorite pastimes, football, sure has changed over the years . . .
Beginning in the latter 1800s, American football - a combination of soccer and rugby - became popular on college campuses. The first football game was played in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton - in...
213 photos
Soccer
Soccer
The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) says that at least 240 million people worldwide play soccer today. These are photos of those who played soccer in the past.
Today, when we think of the history of soccer, we often think "Great Britain." But the game has 2000 year old roots in China - or maybe Greece, Rome, or parts of Central America. Who really knows? But...
57 photos

Historic Events

Historic Events
Historic Events
Some of the events that effected people throughout the world
From strikes and protests through man-made and natural disasters, these are photos of some of the events that have effected people in the past.
2.10k+ photos
Prohibition
Prohibition
When liquor was banned in the United States
In January 1920, the "sale, production, importation, and transportation" of alcohol was banned in the United States. During the ensuing years, many American citizens broke this federal law by making t...
117 photos
Great Depression
Great Depression
U.S. Great Depression photos from the 1930's - 1940's
Did you know that the Great Depression was worldwide but began in the United States with the crash of the stock market on October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)? As a result of the Depression, unemployment ...
126 photos
1960's Hippie Culture
1960's Hippie Culture
Browse the history of 1960's Hippie Culture through vintage photographs.
42 photos
The Holocaust
The Holocaust
Remembering the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
A horrific period in history during the 1930s and 1940's where over 6,000,000 Jews, Roma, and Sinti people along with the handicapped, mentally ill, political prisoners, and others were murdered under...
3.08k+ photos
World War I
World War I
These vintage photos of World War I's battlefields offer a glimpse into the lives of soldiers and civilians.
World War I (1914-1918) was a global conflict between the Central Powers (led by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) and the Allied Powers (led by France, Great Britain, and Russia) tha...
982 photos
World War II
World War II
World War 2, the most widespread war in history, involved over 30 countries and 100 million people.
World War II (1939-1945) was a global conflict that involved the majority of the world's nations organized into two opposing alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The war began with the invasion of Pola...
2.36k+ photos
Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a devastating and protracted conflict that took place from 1955 to 1975, claiming the lives of millions of people and leaving deep scars on the psyche of those who lived through it.
A tragic conflict that lasted for more than a decade, the Vietnam war was a brutal and bloody conflict that pitted the might of the United States against the fierce determination of the North Vietname...
202 photos
Cold War
Cold War
Past photos from the Cold War (1947-1991) offer a unique and fascinating glimpse into one of the most tense and complex geopolitical conflicts in modern history.
The Cold War era was a time of political and military tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and lasted from 1947 to 1991. During this period, both superpowers were engaged in a globa...
172 photos
Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The devastation of the Great Plains during the 1930's
Throughout the 1930's, the Great Plains states of the U.S. (mainly Texas & Oklahoma, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas) as well as Canada experienced an historically unprecedented dust bo...
94 photos
Protests and Strikes
Protests and Strikes
Memorializing protests and strikes around the world
Throughout history, people have protested injustice and demonstrated for their rights. This is a pictorial history of these events.
234 photos
Titanic
Titanic
The unsinkable ship - the Titanic
The RMS Titanic, a British ship, was built in Ireland beginning in 1909. She was completed in 1912 and her maiden voyage began in Southampton, England on April 10, 1912. She carried 2,224 passengers ...
99 photos
American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
Surviving drawings and memorabilia bring the American Revolutionary War to life pre-photography.
The American Revolution was a time of great upheaval and conflict, as colonists in North America sought to break free from British rule and establish a new nation based on principles of liberty and de...
60 photos
Crimean War
Crimean War
Step back in time and explore the poignant images of the Crimean War through these old photographs.
The Crimean War was a military conflict fought between 1853 and 1856 in the Crimean Peninsula, located in the Black Sea region of Eastern Europe. It was fought primarily between the Russian Empire and...
8 photos
Mexican-American War
Mexican-American War
Step back in time and explore historical photographs of the Mexican-American War.
The Mexican-American War, which took place from 1846 to 1848, had a significant impact on both the United States and Mexico. Notable U.S. figures such as Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, and Winfield...
15 photos
Philippine Insurrection
Philippine Insurrection
These old photos show the Philippine Insurrection in the early 1900s.
The Philippine Insurrection was a conflict that took place from 1899 to 1902 between the United States and the Philippines. The insurrection began after the Philippines declared independence from Spai...
7 photos
Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
Photos of the people of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 China.
The Boxer Rebellion was an anti-foreign and anti-Christian uprising in China that occurred from 1899 to 1901. The rebellion was led by a secret society known as the Boxers, who sought to expel foreig...
8 photos
Boer War
Boer War
These photos influenced views of the Boer War (1899-1902).
The Boer War was caused by tensions between the British Empire and the two Boer states in southern Africa over control of the region's gold and diamond resources, as well as political power. It had s...
14 photos
Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
Discover the faces and images of the Spanish-American War through captivating photographs.
The Spanish-American War was a military conflict fought between the United States and Spain in 1898. The conflict was sparked by American intervention in Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain, w...
57 photos
U.S. Civil War
U.S. Civil War
Photos from the U.S. Civil War
The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861 and ended on May 10,1865, lasting 4 years, 3 weeks, and 6 days. 750,000 soldiers died in the Civil War, making it the deadliest war in United States hi...
1.17k+ photos
War of 1812
War of 1812
Old photos and artifacts that offer a glimpse of people and objects from the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 was a significant conflict between the United States and Great Britain, shaping the political and cultural landscape of North America. While often overshadowed by other American confli...
12 photos
Korean Conflict
Korean Conflict
Vintage photos of the Korean Conflict - a glimpse into its human experience.
The Korean Conflict, also known as the Korean War, was a conflict between North Korea, which was supported by the Soviet Union and China, and South Korea, which was supported by the United States and ...
233 photos
Recent Conflicts
Recent Conflicts
View recent world conflicts in striking photographs.
Recent world conflicts, such as the Syrian Civil War, Yemen, Ukraine, and others, have caused significant humanitarian crises, resulting in the displacement of millions of people and widespread death ...
145 photos

Celebrations

Celebrations
Celebrations
Photos documenting holidays, special events, and celebrations.
Before the advent of photography, we didn't have a way to see visually what happened. Now, of course, we have over two centuries of visual recollections of how people celebrate the important events i...
7.17k+ photos
Wedding & Anniversary
Wedding & Anniversary
Antique and old photos showing weddings and anniversaries through the centuries.
Did you know that the white wedding dress was popularized in the West by Queen Victoria in the 1800's? In the East, a red wedding dress is considered good luck. Regardless of particular customs or...
6.20k+ photos
Christmas
Christmas
Remember Christmases past? What was or even remains today your favorite part of Christmastime?
Christmas is a time of family, friends, and food. A time for presents, seeing Santa surrounded by young children and parents, having lunch with friends, being immersed in decorations, and depending wh...
559 photos
Halloween
Halloween
Old Halloween photos from the 1800s & 1900s.
Halloween probably originated with the Celtic festival of Samhain, which celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. During Samhain, the spirits of the dead, as well as other spirits, ...
109 photos
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Memories of Thanksgivings with family & our traditions we celebrate.
In the United States, the tradition of Thanksgiving is traced back to the early 1600's and a celebration with Native Americans. Around the world, however, there has been a tradition for centuries of ...
81 photos
Birthdays
Birthdays
Celebrating birthdays across the years...
Birthdays are the one day of the year where we celebrate the lives of ourselves, and those important to us. A day to spend with family and friends, to eat birthday cake, and share stories about our p...
651 photos
Family Reunions
Family Reunions
Family reunions are the time to reunite with family members you haven't seen in a long while, and to meet distant cousins you might have never known existed.
Sometimes, because of busy lives, adoptions, or the nomadic nature of people, families are separated - for a year, or a decade, or more. Or fights among siblings or generations divide a family. And so...
1.33k+ photos

Photography

Ambrotypes
Ambrotypes
The photography choice of the mid 1850's through the 1860's.
An ambrotype was a photographic process invented in the 1850's that replaced the daguerreotype (it was cheaper to produce an ambrotype). By the mid 1860's, the tintype became the photography of choice...
57 photos
Lithographs
Lithographs
A lithograph is a printing process invented in 1796
Lithography uses a stone or metal plate to create a copy of a printed page or artwork. The process was invented in 1796 by actor/author Alois Senefelder as a cheap way to print theater posters but has...
60 photos
Library of Congress
Library of Congress
Historic and vintage photographs contained in the United States Library of Congress.
The U.S. Library of Congress is the oldest and largest library in the United States, second in the world only to The British Library. Established on April 24th, 1800 the Library of Congress includes ...
821k+ photos
Paintings
Paintings
Before we had photos we painted to capture the faces of the people from our past.
Before the invention of photography, artists were the primary chroniclers of historical figures and their stories. Explore a remarkable collection of paintings that provide a vivid glimpse into the li...
2.34k+ photos
Postcards
Postcards
Vintage postcards contain more than just scenic views!
The earliest known postcard started in 1840 from England but the earliest known United States postcard was an 1848 advertising postcard. Postcards can be a fun way to send holiday greetings, advertise...
627 photos
Tintype
Tintype
Browse the history of Tintype through vintage photographs.
761 photos
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