History In the Making
Rediscover some August moments that shaped the world today. Every month, we dive into our archives for editorial content—finding top-quality, timely inspiration for your marketing calendars, news, or documentary projects.
This month, we explore the Smithsonian, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 50 Years of Hip Hop, Kobe Bryant, and Mount Vesuvius.
Smithsonian Institution Act Signed Into Law
August 10, 1846
Have you enjoyed a visit to one of these Washington landmarks? You might want to thank a late scientist and his childless kin. In 1829, Royal Society of London Fellow James Smithson specified that if his nephew passed without an heir, his estate should go to the “increase and diffusion of knowledge” in the USA—a fascinating decision, as he’d never set foot on US soil. Debates about the best way to spend this money continued for over a decade until Congress decided to establish a museum, library, research program, publication, and science, arts, and history collections. So, on August 10, 1846, President James K. Polk signed the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.
The original Smithsonian Institute building, known as Smithsonian Castle, has been joined by several specialized institutions, including some of the world’s most visited museums, galleries, and even the National Zoo. Skip the crowds for your next trip to the Museum of Natural History, African American Museum, or Natural Air Space Museum—with the archival scenes in this expertly sourced Smithsonian Institution collection.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg on US Supreme Court
August 10, 1993
Jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. Becoming this respected figure took consistent exemplary achievements in academia and at home. Growing up in a low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, Ruth watched her mother work to pay for her own brother’s education and inherited the same resolve. She graduated first in her class at Cornell University in 1945, then became one of only eight females from 500 classmates at Harvard University.
When her husband and fellow student Martin Ginsburg fell ill, Bader Ginsburg looked after him and their daughter, continued her studies—and took notes for Martin. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia and graduated top of her class again. Here she would become the university’s first female tenured professor. She went on to argue notable gender-equality cases before the Supreme Court before being appointed a seat by Bill Clinton. Remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg with this curated media collection.
Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary
August 11, 1973
The International Day of Hip Hop began with a party 50 years ago. DJ Kool Herc, known for his dual-turntable mixing technique and genius danceable loops, hosted this cornerstone event with his sister. Beyond this official beginning, the genre’s growth results from an all-star cultural collab. Keef Cowboy of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five coined the term “hip hop,” while DJ Afrika Bambaataa used it to describe the entire culture and movement.
Towards the end of the 70s, fusions of funk, soul, jazz, reggae, and Afro-Caribbean music had reached critical mass in the South Bronx and other NYC Black communities. The Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 “Rapper’s Delight” was the first hip-hop song to break into the Billboard Top 40, the same year Sha-Rock became hip-hop’s first female MC. Yup, things escalated quickly—and so can you! Go from streets to studios in a flash, with scenes of lifestyle and icons alike in this professionally curated Hip-Hop collection.
Want more? Dive deeper into the genre at our Pond5 Playlist blog: Hip Hop 50
Kobe Bryant Birthday
August 23, 1978
Happy Birthday, Kobe Bryant. This legendary American basketball player entered the NBA directly from high school, becoming their youngest player to start a game. He remained with the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 20-year career, winning five NBA championships, earning two Finals MVP awards, two Olympic Gold medals, and being named the league’s MVP in 2008. Such achievements were made possible due to exceptional scoring ability, incredible footwork, shooting skills, and clutch performances in crucial moments.
Beyond his on-court accomplishments, Bryant looked great in a suit. We remember him for his “Mamba Mentality,” a mindset of the relentless pursuit of excellence and self-improvement. His dedication, discipline, and passion for the game inspired many athletes and individuals worldwide. After retiring from professional basketball in 2016, Bryant pursued various business ventures, including writing children’s books and starting his own production company. Tragically, he and his daughter, along with others, died in a helicopter crash. This month, celebrate his remarkable life with the Kobe Bryant collection.
Mount Vesuvius Erupts
August 24, 79AD
The Ancient Romans were somewhat accustomed to losing tens of thousands of bodies in battle, yet even they regarded this as an exceptional event. Hindsight is 20/20, because that pleasant noonday, all Pompeians noticed was a curious smoke pillar on the mountain. In an instant, it grew to obliterate their thriving city. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was a powerful explosion that sent ash and debris to cloak the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Multitudes of residents were frozen forever in timeless expressions of their stolen mortality. Their preserved remains and those of the cities they lived in have us mesmerized to this day.
The tragic event preserved the cities remarkably well, providing valuable archaeological insights into ancient Roman life and culture. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD remains one of history’s most renowned volcanic eruptions, and it remains the only active volcano on the European mainland, having erupted last in 1944. Witness eruptions and the locals who contend with them in this professionally curated archival Mount Vesuvius collection.
What are you planning this August? Whatever the project, Pond5 has everything you need to engage your audience, thanks to partners such as Reuters, Life, Global News, and other top agencies. We offer the world’s most extensive library of Editorial and archival footage. New content is added daily to the Pond5 Editorial collection, so keep checking back for new surprises.
Remember, we can clear editorial clips for commercial productions and indemnify them based on your specific needs. To discuss editorial content for use in your commercial project, contact us.