Timeless Clips for Your New Stories
Explore historical stock footage for December events as we surface archival gems from our vast editorial library—uncovering top-quality, timely inspiration for your marketing calendars, news, or documentary projects. This December, we remember Napoleon and John Lennon, catch the formation of UNICEF, learn about the first-ever radio transmission across the Atlantic, and spotlight Christmas through the years.
Napoleon Crowned Emperor
December 02, 1804
Reeling from the Reign of Terror, French society needed a hero—and Corsica had the person for the job. Here, Napoleon Bonaparte began his career as an army officer from a relatively humble family. Leveraging military brilliance and charisma, he conquered most of Europe and became the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in centuries.
On December 02, 1804, at Notre Dame Cathedral, 35-year-old Napoleon took the crown from Pope Pius VII. Before placing it on his head, he said to his brother, “If Daddy could only see us now.” The Napoleonic Wars brought glory and suffering, culminating in defeat at Waterloo in 1815.
His story is making news anew: told by acclaimed director Ridley Scott. Pond5’s editorial offering celebrates the mysteries of history as revealed on film, and we could not be more excited about this movie! It’s billed to win big in the upcoming award seasons, making it a trending topic for communications.
The World Loses John Lennon
December 8, 1980
It all started in a working-class neighborhood of Liverpool. He formed the Beatles with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr—a band taking a stand with exuberant music and good-natured rebellion against the rigid 1950s. The famous foursome’s fame grew in the US with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Screaming fans, musical innovation, and cultural influence went, um, hand in hand, with their success—from their first gig at Casbah Coffee Club to conquering the world.
After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon continued to make music that resonated deeply with his fans. His outspoken activism against war and inequality characterized his public persona. He lived with his wife and collaborator, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean, in New York’s Upper West Side. His peaceful life was tragically cut short by borderline psychotic fan Mark David Chapman. The fatal shot left an indelible mark on the hearts of millions of music lovers around the world. Remember him with this John Lennon curated media collection.
December 11, 1946
After World War II, the United Nations General Assembly established a temporary emergency program to address the needs of children affected by conflict. Named the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), it aimed to provide humanitarian aid and assistance, ensuring the health, education, and nutrition of children and mothers in war-torn and post-war countries.
As the food and medical crises of the late 1940s stabilized, UNICEF continued to offer relief in conflict regions. In the 1970s, prominent advocacy for children’s rights helped enforce the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. Today, UNICEF’s mission includes long-term development and assistance to enhance the well-being of children worldwide. They thrive on support from famous UNICEF ambassadors such as David Beckham and Audrey Hepburn, who herself had survived the Dutch famine of 1944-1945. Discover more in our curated UNICEF media collection.
First Radio Transmission Across the Atlantic Ocean
December 12, 1901
Bologna-born Guglielmo Marconi revolutionized communication by successfully sending a radio signal from Poldhu, Cornwall, England, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. The Morse code signal for the letter ‘s’ had traveled more than 2,000 miles, despite naysayers who’d warned that the Earth’s curvature would limit transmission to 200 miles or less. This result was pivotal to the history of telecommunications in that it proved wireless communications can occur over long distances.
Ironically, the naysayers were not wrong about the curvature. However, instead of following the land, radio signals had headed into space before being reflected by the ionosphere and bouncing back toward Canada. Armed with a happy accident, a groundbreaking achievement, and much more to learn, Marconi continued playing a leading role in radio discoveries and innovations over the next three decades. Such progress reflected the same early 20th-century spirit of invention that led to electrification, penicillin, automobiles, planes, and more. Retrace radio with this curated archival collection.
December 25, 2023
Steeped in tradition and charm, the history behind Christmas as we know it spans centuries. Its origins go back to pagan winter solstice celebrations when ancient northern hemisphere folk cheered on the sun’s return. Then, in a swift transformation from sun to Son, early Christians adopted this date to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Medieval traditions often blended both schools of thought. For example, the Yule Log was a selected oak log carefully chosen and burnt for the 12 days of Christmas, symbolizing the sun’s return and hope for a prosperous year ahead. These merry-makers also fixed feasts on the agenda.
Over time, Christmas trees, stockings, and Santa Claus caught on worldwide—as Rudolph discovered the joys of international travel. Today, people in both hemispheres enjoy this holiday, with Santa enjoying cookies and cookouts equally! Whether palm or pine, snow or shine, religious and secular families alike dedicate time to food, families, and friends in the spirit of love, joy, and giving. Get in the spirit to celebrate with this curated Vintage Christmas collection!
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