Vintage Photos of Some of History’s Most Awesome Moms

Mother’s Day — or a similar celebration of motherhood — is celebrated on different days around the world. But in the U.S., beginning in 1908, it’s been commemorated in May. To celebrate moms of many generations, we’ve dug up some cool vintage photos of moms throughout history.

Check it out:

vintage photos

Called “Mother and Child,” this image by Henry Essenhigh Corke (1883-1919) comes from the Collection of National Media Museum, who note that “This is an autochrome – an early colour process which used a glass plate covered in microscopic, red, green and blue grains of potato starch.” The year is unknown.


“Baby feeding mother a biscuit” comes from the National Archive of the Netherlands, who have no date or additional information.

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The State Library of New York provides this sweet photo of actress Helen Twelvetrees and her son Jack Woody, in Sydney circa 1936.

Twelvetrees was considered one of the foremost screen actresses during the early days of “talkies.” Jack, who is pictured here, was her only child; he later went on to become a wildlife biologist.

The photo is by Sam Hood.

vintage photos

A leisurely summer walk in 1913 is depicted in this image, via the Library of Congress. The image shows Mrs. Gertrude Pinchot, wife of Amos Pinchot, with her daughter Rosamund. Amos was a progressive lawyer and activist, though he never actually held political office.

vintage photos mothers day

This photo is part of the Australian National Maritime Museum’s William Hall collection, who have titled it “Portrait of mother and child, possibly of the surname ‘Gordon.'”

The Australian National Maritime Museum “undertakes research and accepts public comments that enhance the information we hold about images in our collection. If you can identify a person, vessel or landmark,” they encourage you to share them in the comment section on Flickr.




The US National Archives captioned this one as follows: “Photograph of President John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Mrs. Jacqueline B. Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy with their dogs during a weekend in Hyannisport. The dogs are Clipper (standing), Charlie (with Caroline), Wolf (reclining), Shannon (with John Jr.), two of Pushinka’s puppies (with Mrs. Kennedy). Photograph taken by Cecil Stoughten.” The year is 1963.


Harry Pot snapped this photo from the National Archive of the Netherlands in 1962.


Another one from the National Archive of the Netherlands, this one from St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1926. And yes, that’s a mom on ice skates.

6620111875_c6692d8dca_bFrom the Preus Museum: “Portrait of a mother and child. Just arrived at Ellis Island along with hundreds of other immigrants that day…USA 1905.
This image, an iconic and evocative mother and child image, portrays the uncertainty of arriving in a strange land, and a mother’s need to ensure the safety of her child.

These people were amongst the hundreds to arrive at Ellis Island that day – and one of thousands that arrived in the early years of the new century, looking for a better life in a new country. Hine’s determination of depict their individualism however, is unwavering.”

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.