20 Momentous Historical Photographs That Everyone Needs To See

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Image: via Wikimedia Commons
Image: via Wikimedia Commons

18. The first obscene gesture on camera

While the reasons why have been lost to history, it’s clear that Charles Radbourn didn’t get on well with the photographer of this image. Taken in 1886 on the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, the group shot features Radbourn – back left – giving the first known obscene gesture on camera.

Image: American Red Cross
Image: American Red Cross

17. Sculpting face masks for disfigured soldiers

In 1918 plastic surgery wasn’t quite as advanced as it is now. To that end, sculptors would create masks for soldiers who’d been disfigured during combat. And that’s what American artist Anna Coleman Ladd is doing here, in order to help a soldier cover up the missing bottom half of his face.

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Image: Keystone/Getty Images
Image: Keystone/Getty Images

16. The tallest man in the world

Robert Pershing Wadlow reached a towering eight feet and 11 inches before his untimely death in 1940, aged just 22. That staggering fact makes him the tallest person ever recorded. And photographed here, it’s easy to see why. Even into his 20s, in fact, Wadlow’s growth had showed no signs of slowing down.

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