First flight with the Wright Brothers, 1902-1909

On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. Three more flights were made that day with Orville’s brother Wilbur piloting the record flight lasting 59 seconds over a distance of 852 feet. The Wright […]

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Buildings that No Longer Exist: Photochroms of a Bygone Time

The following is a guest post by Leslie Granillo, a Junior Fellow in the Prints & Photographs Division, Summer 2017 This summer I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wonderful collection of Photochroms. Going through them has been like taking a vacation through Europe, with the added advantage of being able to travel back in […]

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The Pacific Theater in pictures, 1942-1945

After Pearl Harbor the Japanese quickly gained control over a huge area of the Pacific, from the Philippines to Burma to the Aleutians to the Solomons. While the Japanese enjoyed the advantage of interior lines of communication, they had somewhat overextended themselves. Once the Allies became strong enough to threaten their perimeter from several directions, […]

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The Tiananmen Square protests in pictures, 1989

The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 culminating in the Tiananmen Square Massacre were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) between April 15 and June 4, 1989. They were mainly led by Beijing students and intellectuals. The protests occurred in a year that saw the collapse […]

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American West in pictures, 1860s-1870s

In the 1860s and 1870s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. After covering the U.S. Civil War, O’Sullivan was the official photographer on the United States Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel under Clarence King, an expedition organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in […]

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Finland in World War II, 1939-1945

For most of Finland’s history, the country had lived on the periphery of world events, but for a few weeks during the winter of 1939-40, Finland stood at the center of the world stage. Finland’s stand against Soviet aggression aroused the world’s admiration. The Winter War, however, proved to be only a curtain- raiser for […]

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Vice Presidents That Became Presidents

Since George Washington first became president in 1789, we have had 44 different presidents, 14 of which were Vice Presidents. Five of these were elected president later on. There have been eight vice presidents who took over when the former president died and one due to the president’s resignation. John Adams John Adams served as […]

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The story of two Soviet prisoners of war who were killed in the Murmansk foothills, 1941

It was the night of June 29, 1941 in the foothills of Murmansk, Soviet Union. Commander Oberleutnant Rode ordered some officer candidates “Gruppe Ostermann” to climb “Ridge Musta” to a height of 122m and scout the situation and then report back to him and his company back down below. Right after they disappeared past the […]

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German commandos captured in American uniform are prepared for execution, 1944

The soldiers in the picture were executed after a military trial found them on violation  of the Hague convention concerning land warfare, article 23: “It’s especially forbidden […], to make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy”. Their mission was part […]

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