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Photographs from History – Vintage Photos of People & Places Worldwide

Photographs from History

Photographs from History, vintage photos of people and places worldwide. Free Online Collections.


Photos from Europe

Americans in the Land of Lenin

750 photographs of every-day life in the Soviet Union (1919-1921 and 1930). Duke Univ. Libraries.

Vintage Photos of France – History Photographs

About 540 old photos taken in France, in the “Vintage France” collection in Flikr.

Vintage Photos of Hungarian Women – History Photographs

About 1,900 photos in the “Hungarian Women 1850-1920” collection in Flikr.

Photos of Germany ca. 1920-1945 – History Photographs

About 300 photos. “This group focuses on vintage photographs taken in Germany, or by German photographers travelling abroad, from the end of World War I and the foundation of the Weimar Republic to the end of World War II.” “Photography in Interwar and WWII Germany” collection in Flikr.

Photos of Auschwitz – History Photographs

About 9,000 photos. “Photos from the concentration- and extermination-camp Auschwitz in Poland. Both current and historical photos are welcome.” In the “Auschwitz” collection in Flikr.

Early Photography in Romania – History Photographs

About 360 photos. This group is devoted to antique photographs taken in Romania and its predecessor states, the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, from the moment when photography reached their territories in the 1840s and up to the end of World War I and the turbulent years that immediately followed it (1918-20). “Early Photography in Romania” collection in Flikr.

Vintage Photos of the Netherlands – History Photographs

About 2,400 vintage photographs of the Netherlands, in the “Holland before the Year 1920” collection in Flikr.

Photography in Hungary ca. 1920-1945 – History Photographs

About 500 photos. “This group focuses on vintage photographs taken in Hungary, or by Hungarian photographers travelling abroad, from the end of World War I down to the end of World War II.” In the “Photography in Interwar and WWII Hungary” collection in Flikr.

Vintage Photos of Russia – History Photographs

About 2,400 photos from Russia, in the “Vintage Russia” collection in Flikr.

Early Photos in Austria-Hungary – History Photographs

About 5,200 photos taken from the 1840s to about 1919 in Central Europe in the “Early Photography in the Habsburg Empire and Austria-Hungary” collection in Flikr.

See our collection of vintage articles on various topics

Early Photography in France – History Photographs

About 1,100 photos. “This group is devoted to antique photographs taken in France (and its colonies) from the invention of photography and up to the end of World War I and the transitory years that immediately folowed it (1918-20). Photos taken by French photographers elsewhere pertain to this group.” “Early Photography in France” collection in Flikr.

Early Photography in Germany – History Photographs

About 7,900 old photos “taken in the German states and the German Empire, or by German photographers abroad, from the invention of photography to the end of World War One.” In the “Early Photography in Germany” collection in Flikr.

Vintage Photos of Sweden – Before 1950 – History Photographs

About 8,200 vintage photos from Sweden, in the “Sweden before 1950” collection in Flikr.

Life in Greenland ca. 1889-1906

25 photos. Retronaut.

Photos of Sweden in the 1950s & 1960s

About 1,500 photos, in the “Sweden during the 50’s and 60’s” collection in Flikr.

Russia and Eastern Europe in Rare Photographs 1860-1945

From NY Public Library. About 5,000 photos assembled from various collections.


Photos from Asia & the Pacific

Asia and the Eastern Pacific Rim in Early Prints and Photographs – Photographs from History

850 items from the 1870s to the early 20th Century. New York Public Library

Photos of Historic India – History Photographs

About 20,400 photos. Mostly modern photos of historic sites and structures in India. in the “Historic India” collection in Flikr.

Gertrude Bass Warner Photographs – Photographs from History

Most photographs at this site were taken by traveler and collector Gertrude Bass Warner between 1904 and 1929 in China, Japan, Korea, and Cambodia. There are 5,500 images in the collection, and many are hand-painted. Among them are slides purchased during her travels.

Photos of Historic China

About 2,000 modern photos with mostly historical subjects from China. In the “China History” collection in Flikr.

Asian Historical Architecture: A Photographic Survey – Photographs from History

A photographic survey of Asia’s architectural heritage. Over 30,000 photos of 1,143 sites in twenty-one countries, with background information and virtual tours.

Photos of Historic Australia 1901-1945 – History Photographs

About 8,900 photos. “For historical buildings and places in Australia from 1901 (Federation) to 1945 (the end of WWII).” In the “Historic Australia 1901-1945” collection in Flikr.

20th Century Photos of Japan

About 5,300 photos of things and places in Japan, taken during the period 1926-1989. Many contributors. In the Flikr collection “Vintage Japan”.

Historical Photographs of China – History Photographs

Based at the University of Bristol, the ‘Historical Photographs of China’ project “locates, digitises, and publishes online photographs of China held, largely, in private hands outside the country.” There are some 20,000 photos in numerous sub-collections.

Photos of Historic China – History Photographs

Over 3,000 photos in the “Old China” collection in Flikr. There were no apparent restrictions on how old these photos needed to be for inclusion, but the modern photos in the collection seem to depict only old structures.

See our free vintage 19th & 20th Century magazines

Historic Photos of People in Japan – History Photographs

This Flikr collection, called “Japanese in Yesteryear”, contains about 2,700 photos of people in Japan, taken from the 19th Century until the 1970s.

New Zealand Vintage Photos – History Photographs

Photos taken in New Zealand prior to about 1980, from a number of contributors. In the Flikr collection “Old New Zealand”.

Vintage Australian Photos – History Photographs

5,300 photos representing Australia’s history, from the 19th & 20th centuries, in the Flikr collection “Vintage Australian Photos”.

China Life – Pacific Pursuits Postcards – Photographs from History

NY Public Library Digital Collections. Pacific Pursuits is a collection of postcards that were issued in the first two decades of the twentieth century in various countries and territories of the western Pacific. This ‘China Life’ sub-collection depicts scenes of traditional everyday life.

Korea A-Z – Pacific Pursuits Postcards – Photographs from History

Korea Life – Pacific Pursuits Postcards

Korea Seoul – Pacific Pursuits Postcards

NY Public Library Digital Collections. Pacific Pursuits is a collection of postcards that were issued in the first two decades of the twentieth century in various countries and territories of the western Pacific. These three Korea sub-collections depict buildings, city street scenes, and scenes of traditional everyday life.

Australia on Historypin

1,775 old and not-so-old photos from various locations and events, in the map/photo application “Historypin”. National Archives of Australia

Indonesia – Java – Photographs from History

Indonesia – Bali

NY Public Library Digital Collections. Pacific Pursuits is a collection of postcards that were issued in the first two decades of the twentieth century in various countries and territories of the western Pacific. These two Indonesia sub-collections depict some aspects of traditional culture.

China, 1898 – 1908

287 photos by Robert Henry Chandless, at Univ. of Washington Libraries.

See our links to historic photo & image collections of war

Hand coloured Photos of 19th-century Japan

Albumine prints from the 1880s. The Public Domain Review

Photographs of Indonesia

From NY Public Library. The photographs were chiefly taken by scholar Claire Holt (1901-1970) during her visits to Indonesia in 1930-1938, 1955-1957, and 1969 to visually document the plastic and performing arts for her research. Many of the photos cover a wide range of dance forms from different ethnic and linguistic groups, and are accompanied with field notes. The collection also contains photos of ancient Hindu and Buddhist architecture and sculpture, principally from Java.

The People of India 1868-1875

From NY Public Library Collection of Customs and Costume. About 480 photos from a multi-volume book published by the colonial government of India from 1868 to 1875 entitled, “The People of India: A series of Photographic Illustrations, with Descriptive Letterpress, of The Races and Tribes of Hindustan”.

See our links to historic photo & image collections of the UK & Ireland

Photographs of Japan

Hand-colored photos of scenes from daily life, from the 1870s to the early 20th century. NY Public Library.

Mongolia, ca 1920

Assortment of color photos at the end of an article entitled “In the Land of Kublai Khan” in a 1922 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The Middle East in Early Prints and Photos

From NY Public Library. A collection of about 5,800 images assembled from various collections.


Photos from Africa

Century of Egyptian photography – Photographs from History

13 photos from the mid-20th C to the 21st C. The Guardian

Colonialism and the African Diaspora in Picture Postcards

The digital collection Colonialism and African Diaspora on Picture Postcards comprises 3027 postcards showing Africans and African-Americans in the period of colonialism. It is hosted by the University of Koln. “The collection serves the scientific research of the colonial period and its reception and is shown exclusively for this reason on the pages of the UCL Cologne. Nevertheless, from today’s perspective, the representations are racist and degrading. This applies in particular to the display of undressed persons, including children.”

Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent

“This collection contains more than 3000 slides, 500 photographs, and 50 hours of sounds from forty-five different countries. It is hoped that the search features of the collection will be a convenient aid to scholarship, study, and teaching of these disciplines.” Hosted by the University of Wisconsin.

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives Materials

The Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives is a research and reference center devoted to the collection, preservation and dissemination of visual materials that encourage and support the study of the arts, cultures and history of Africa. The page contains 26,800 photographs, postcards and archival materials.

Art Objects at the National Museum of African Art

Photos of about 3,500 objects at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, in Washington, DC.

Winterton Collection of East African Photographs

This collection portrays African life and European life in East Africa from 1860-1960, documenting the African colonial era to the dawn of independence. Images are from 76 separate photo albums.

Vernon McKay Photographs of African Daily Life

“These images of African daily life date from the mid-20th century. Photographs come from the following countries and territories: Basutoland, Belgian Congo, Dahomey, French Equatorial Africa, French Guinea, French Togoland, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger (French), Nigeria, Northern Rhodesia, Ruanda-Urundi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Southwest Africa, Tanganyika, and Tunisia.”


Photos from Latin America

Mexican Heritage Project

312 photos. Arizona Memory Project.

Vintage Latin American Photos

Nearly 1,000 photographs, mostly from the early 20th century, in the Flikr collection “Vintage Latin American Photographs”. Many contributors.

Mexico Vintage Photos

321 photos taken in Mexico, including many from the early 20th Century. “Mexico Vintage” collection in Flikr, from many contributors.

The Luso-Hispanic New World in Early Prints and Photographs

Photos and illustrations from books about Latin America published in the 19th & early 20th centuries. NY Public Library.


Photos from Various Places

Early Photography in the British Empire – History Photographs

About 2,000 photos. “This group is devoted to antique photographs taken in the British Empire (Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and all other dominions and colonies) from the invention of photography and up to the end of World War I and the transitory years that immediately followed it (1918-20). Photos taken by British photographers elsewhere pertain to this group.” In the “Early Photography in the British Empire” collection in Flikr.

Carpenter Collection – Photographs from History

From U.S. Library of Congress. Photographs produced and gathered by Frank G. Carpenter (1855-1924) and his daughter Frances (1890-1972) to illustrate his writings on travel and world geography. Carpenter’s works helped popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the early years of the twentieth century.

Pakistan, Egypt, and European Locations

From NY Public Library. About 37 photos created approximately 1870-1919.

Labadie Photograph Collection

A collection of nearly 1,500 photos documenting the history of social protest movements and marginalized political communities from the 19th century to the present. Univ. of Michigan.

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