We've grown so used to historical photographs in black-&-white or sepia tones that even in our imaginations the past seems to be an entirely different world than ours. Two collections of historical photographs in color shake us out of this mind set, providing a clearer window to the past as it was actually lived:
The picture above, and the next three pictures below, are 100-year-old color photographs from the Russian Empire. They were taken between 1906 and 1912 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, a former chemist who pioneered a way of capturing color using color-filtered plates of colored glass.
More of Prokudin-Gorskii's extraordinary photographs can be viewed here, on Flavorwire.
Next are color photographs depicting rural and small town American life during the Depression. The pictures were taken between 1939 and 1943 by photographers from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information.
More photos from the "America in Color" collection can be viewed here, on the Denver Post's site.