Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life

Shannon Quinn - January 26, 2023

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
College tuition used to be affordable for the average person. Credit: Reddit

The Total Cost For a Semester of College Back in 1970

This photo from The Way We Were subReddit is both fascinating and infuriating, especially if you’re one of the millions of people who are shackled with student loan debt. The original poster scanned a receipt from his father’s tuition bill back in 1970. He took 3 courses, which is the average amount per semester of college. Those three classes were just $36. After modern-day inflation, that’s still only $250 today. With prices like that, your average college kid could pay for his own tuition out-of-pocket by having a part-time job outside of school. It’s easy to see how college was once possible to accomplish and be debt-free. Now, in 2022, the average federal student loan debt was $37,358. Today, that $250 may not even be enough for one semester of textbooks, let alone tuition and fees.

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
This photo of Stephen King comes from Life Magazine in 1982. Credit: Reddit

Stephen King With His $12,000 “Wang” Word Processor, 1982

Known as the “King of Horror”, Stephen King is one of the wealthiest authors in the world with a net worth of $500 million. From 1973 to 1981, Wang Laboratories was a company that produced computers, fax machines, and word processors. The brand was very short-lived, and ultimately couldn’t keep up with the likes of Apple. At $12,000, you had to be as successful as Stephen King to afford a Wang Word Processor to begin with! This image was published in a 1982 issue of Life Magazine. At the time, many people were still using typewriters, because computers were too expensive for the average person. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when personal computers would become more affordable, and programs like Microsoft Word made word processing machines obsolete.

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
A tiny house on wheels. Credit: Reddit

The Original Motorhome, 1926

In the 2010’s, there was a huge “Tiny House” movement that spread throughout the world as people began to downsize their homes after the Great Recession of 2008. At the same time, there was an uptick of people getting into “van life”, which is the process of converting a van into a tiny home on wheels. But this photo from 1926 proves that people had this idea long before the current tiny house movement. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on the photo. I would love to see the inside of this mobile home. But we are left with the exterior, showing a cute little house built around a car.

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
This Greyhound bus station came with state-of-the-art coin operated TV’s. Credit: Reddit

Ashtrays and Coin-Operated Televisions in the LA Greyhound Bus Terminal, 1969

It’s funny how something that once seemed like modern luxury is now old-fashioned and dated in so many ways. As a kid in the 1990’s, I would have loved to see these coin-operated TV’s at a bus station. When you’re waiting for your bus to arrive, there is not much you could do back then besides read a book, newspaper, or magazine. But nowadays, almost everyone owns a smartphone or an iPad, so you can watch media for free on your personal devices. Smoking indoors didn’t become illegal in all enclosed spaces until 2011. So it’s still a fairly new law, but it makes these indoor ashtrays obsolete.

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
Famous photograph from 1899, taken by Félix Thiollier. Credit: Reddit, Félix Thiollier

Lady and Her Horse on a Snowy Day, 1899

This photo by Félix Thiollier is absolutely beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that a lot of people like to hang it on the wall in their home. It captures movement so perfectly. And with the snow surrounding the woman and the horse, it almost feels like a magical place to be. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about this photo available online. I wish we knew the story behind this stunning picture, but it may actually be a good picture to use for writing prompts, if you’re the creative type.

Rare and Remarkable Historical Photos That Bring History to Life
Two of the girls in the picture weren’t lucky enough to get a Cabbage Patch Kid. Credit: Reddit

The Cabbage Patch Craze, 1983-84

On Reddit, the title of this photo says, “Only some of us were lucky enough to get a Cabbage Patch Kid during the craze in 1983/84.” In 1983, Cabbage Patch dolls were so scarce, that it caused literal riots to break out in stores as parents frantically tried to buy them. During Christmas time, some parents even drove hundreds of miles to get their hands on one. At the time, Cabbage Patch dolls cost $21, which is closer to $62 after inflation. To make matters worse, people would resell the dolls for $50, which is more like $147 today. As time went on, the cost of the doll increased. After a quick check online, I saw that they go for around $40 to $60 each, depending on the style.

How did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Old School Cool. Reddit

Barack Obama not the only president to go grey in the White House. Matt Kwong. CBC. 2016.

When The Flood Came. Jeff Hicks. The Record. 2020.

Remote learning isn’t new: Radio instruction in the 1937 polio epidemic. The Conversation. 2020

Einstein: Advocate for Civil Rights. The Urban News. 2022.

These 16 historical selfies show vanity is timeless. Phil Edwards. Vox. 2015.

When Marilyn Monroe Interrupted Her Honeymoon to go to Korea. Leisl Bradner. History Net. 2019.

Georgia trooper in 1992 image with toddler dressed in KKK garb recalls that day. Lee Shearer. The Florida Times Union. 2013.

The story behind ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. University of London.

Students Protesting the High School Dress Code That Banned Slacks for Girls in Brooklyn, New York City, 1942. Vintage Daily News. 2019.

Welcome to Splitsville: How Reno Became the Divorce Capital of the World. Vanita Salisbury. Thrillest. 2022.

And the winner of Miss American Vampire is …The CollinSport Historical Society. 2015.

Why did kids sleep in the freezing cold in Soviet kindergartens? Georgy Manaev. Russia Beyond. 2019.

The strange story of the Cabbage Patch Kid Riots of 1983. ABC NY. 2022.