Most People Had No Idea That These Photographs Of Historical Icons Actually Exist

From U.S. presidents and Wild West outlaws to groundbreaking scientists and brave civil rights campaigners, the 19th century is packed with iconic figures. But how many of those do you think were actually photographed? Well, the answer is more than likely to truly amaze you. Read on to see 40 unexpected images from the dawn of photography that captured iconic figures like you've never seen them before.

1. Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane’s life story is a murky one, and has been very much embroidered over the years — not least by herself. It’s reasonably certain, though, that after a mythically wild life, Jane eventually found a berth with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Sadly, she passed away in 1903 and was buried next to a fellow legendary figure: Wild Bill Hickok.

2. Vincent van Gogh

If we are to judge artistic merit in dollar terms, Vincent van Gogh is near the very top of the tree. Yet during his lifetime, the artist sold only one of his paintings. And that thing about his ear? In reality, he actually only chopped off a part of his ear lobe. That's not to minimize his mental health struggles, though — they resulted in his death in 1890.

3. Geronimo

Born in 1829, Geronimo was a legendary leader of the Chiricahua Apache. He stood at the head of his people as they resisted the incursion of settlers onto their ancestral lands. His nemesis was Brigadier General Nelson A. Miles, who induced him to surrender after years of resistance in 1886 with a promise of exile in Florida. Instead, Geronimo and his reduced band of followers were handed a term of forced labor.

4. Edgar Allen Poe

Here we see a somewhat disdainful-looking Edgar Allen Poe in a portrait from 1849. Born 40 years previously in Boston, Massachusetts, the author is best remembered for his spine-chilling short stories which have terrified generations of readers. These include such classics as The Pit and the Pendulum and The Fall of the House of Usher.