1857: Photos of the World From the Year The Atlantic Launched

160 years ago, the world was in a state of transition. The Industrial Revolution had laid the groundwork for an upcoming rapid modernization; steamships and telegraph lines were making the world a smaller place; the United States was struggling with the issue of slavery and trying to avoid a civil war; and a relatively new invention was becoming an indispensable tool for artists, documentarians, and journalists: the camera. By 1857, dozens of photographers were traveling the world, capturing scenes they either hoped to sell, or were commissioned to photograph. On this day, the 160th anniversary of the founding of our illustrious magazine, The Atlantic, I invite you to pause for a few minutes and let yourself be transported back to the year 1857 with this photo tour. ( A note: Many dates are approximate; precise sourcing is difficult to find from that era.)

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Jason Weingart / Barcroft Media via Getty

    Nebraska: Images of the Cornhusker State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of Nebraska, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Chris Hyde / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Tinside Lido, Log Climber, Dragon Temple

    The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, wildfire damage in Oregon, flooding in Florida from Hurricane Sally, continued protests in Belarus, smoky skies over Seattle, and much more

  • Marco Bertorello / AFP / Getty

    Scenes From the 2020 Tour de France

    Images from the first 17 stages of this year’s Tour de France cycling race

  • Esteban Felix / AP

    Life in the Wake of COVID-19

    Images of the difficult personal journey of a father and daughter, in the months after the loss of their wife and mother due to COVID-19