History In Color: 25 Iconic Black And White Images Brought To Life

Published March 8, 2017
Updated October 18, 2021

As the maxim goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. But in color, they say even more. We give you these amazing photos of history in color.

Hines Boys Bw
Some of these Connecticut high school boys in 1909 have been newsboys for eight or nine years already. US National Archives

Hines Boys Color
Some of these Connecticut high school boys in 1909 have been newsboys for eight or nine years already. Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

At The Fair Bw
At the 1942 fair in Klamath Falls, Oregon.Russell Lee/The Library of Congress

History in Color At The Fair Color
At the 1942 fair in Klamath Falls, Oregon.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Battle Of Saipan Bw
An injured Japanese father and child in 1944 during the Battle of Saipan. W. Eugene Smith/Life Magazine/Flickriver

History in Color Battle Of Saipan Color
An injured Japanese father and child in 1944 during the Battle of Saipan. Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Buster Keaton Bw
Buster Keaton making New Year’s resolutions in 1929.Pinterest

History in Color Buster Keaton Color
Buster Keaton making New Year’s resolutions in 1929.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Dorothy Sebastian Bw
Metro Goldwyn Mayer star Dorothy Sebastian brushes up on her flying instructions, circa 1929.Flickr/A Diamond Fell From the Sky

Dorothy Sebastian Color
Metro Goldwyn Mayer star Dorothy Sebastian brushes up on her flying instructions, circa 1929.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Lange Heat Wave Bw
A 1936 drought refugee from Polk, Missouri, awaiting the opening of orange picking season in Porterville, California.Library of Congress

Lange Heat Wave Color
A 1936 drought refugee from Polk, Missouri, awaiting the opening of orange picking season in Porterville, California.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Jane Russell Bw
Jane Russell in a promotional shot for the 1943 film The Outlaw. Flickr/siddacool

Jane Russell Color
Jane Russell in a promotional shot for the 1943 film The Outlaw. Flickr/siddacool

Migrant Mother Bw

Migrant Mother Color

Paddock Station Bw
Fresh socks are given to evacuated troops from Dunkirk in 1940 at Paddock Wood station in Kent, England.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Paddock Station Color
Fresh socks are given to evacuated troops from Dunkirk in 1940 at Paddock Wood station in Kent, England.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Sarah Vaughan Bw
Singer Sarah Vaughan, circa August of 1946.Wikipedia

Sarah Vaughan Color
Singer Sarah Vaughan, circa August of 1946.reddit/Captain-cliche

Sideshow Barker Bw
1942 Sideshow barker at the Klamath Falls, Oregon circus.Russell Lee/The Library of Congress

Sideshow Barker Color
1942 Sideshow barker at the Klamath Falls, Oregon circus.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Rita Hayworth Bw
Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino, was a 1940's screen idol and top WWII pin-up girl. Flickr/siddacool

Rita Hayworth Color
Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino, was a 1940's screen idol and top WWII pin-up girl. Flickr/siddacool

West Indian Troops Bw
West Indian and Australian troops in 1917 during the Battle of Ypres, stacking 8-inch shells at a dump. Imperial War Museum

West Indian Troops Color
West Indian and Australian troops in 1917 during the Battle of Ypres, stacking 8-inch shells at a dump.Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Women Tuba Bw
Two women with a tuba, Washington, D.C., 1928. Harris & Ewing Collection/Shorpy Photo Archive

Women Tuba Color
Two women with a tuba, Washington, D.C., 1928. Colours of Yesterday/Facebook

Brigitte Bardot
French actress, singer, model, and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot.Flickr/siddacool

History In Color Mark Twain
Mark Twain in the garden, 1900. Reddit/Zuzahin

History In Color Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor on the set of the film ‘Giant’, 1956. Photographer: Frank WorthReddit/Malakon

VJ Day Kiss
V-J Day in Times Square, August 14th, 1945. Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt.Sanna Dullaway/Deviant Art

History In Color Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman portrait, 1887. Reddit/DanarKeller

British Troops In Color
British Troops in England, September 20th, 1939. Reddit/BenAfleckIsAnOkActor

History In Color Bullet Proof
H.W. Murphy, testing his bulletproof jacket, October 13th, 1923. United States Library of Congress.Reddit/BenAfleckIsAnOkActor

Charles Darwin In Color
Charles Darwin portrait, March 7th, 1874. Reddit/mygrapefruit

Stuffed Toy Child
Boy with Stuffed Toy in London during WWII, 1945. Photographer: Toni Frissel. Reddit/HansLucifer

Hindenburg Disaster In Color
Hindenburg Disaster, May 6th, 1937. Photographer: Murray Becker. Reddit/danarkeller

Nikola Tesla In Color
Nikola Tesla, 1893. Photographer: Napoleon Sarony. Reddit/danarkeller

Photo-editing software has never been more affordable or easier to use, and as a result various artists have used the technology to physically alter the way we view our past. Indeed, we can now see centuries-old events in color, which inevitably has the effect of making the events captured by camera seem more "real." Don't believe us? Check out these photos of history in color and see for yourself:


Next, check out the world's first selfie and history's cool kids: the best of old school cool.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.