In Photos: These 20 Rare Photos Define the Hippie Movement

At the beginning of the 1960s, few predicted that a massive youth culture revolution was about to occur.

In the 1950s, one of the very few major counter-cultural forces in America was the beatniks, a group of jazz and poetry-loving anti-establishment outcasts. They were marginalized to the corners of society, and largely ignored by mainstream culture, except when they were being blamed for bringing drugs into whatever community they touched.

However, the relatively small beatnik movement soon spawned the cultural tidal wave that was the hippies. A loose confederation of young people who loved folk and rock music, experimented with mind-altering drugs, opposed the war in Vietnam, and shunned mainstream capitalism, the hippies advocated for big concepts like “peace” and “love” — and defined 1960s culture in the process.

Many of these hippies left their suburban communities to conglomerate with like-minded people in hotbeds of bohemian culture like New York’s West Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhoods. They then joined together to build communities built upon free artistic expression, myriad spiritual traditions from around the world, and many other modes of living not in line with mainstream American values.

Communities like these sometimes came together in even larger gatherings, events that helped define a generation, including landmark music festivals like Monterey Pop, Altamont, and Woodstock.

At festivals like these, iconic artists such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and The Grateful Dead made history and left their mark on pop culture in ways that are still relevant today.

The Merry Pranksters — author Ken Kesey’s collective of LSD disciples — atop their bus, Further, getting ready to take LSD across America. Date and location unspecified.

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Hippies dance during a “love-in” in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 1968.

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At Woodstock, a man eats lunch on the hood of the school bus. 1969.

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The Merry Pranksters arrive at Woodstock with a school bus full of LSD. 1969.

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Ken Kesey poses for a photo with a young flower child. La Honda, California. 1971.

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A Merry Prankster called “The Hermit” touches up the paint on the magic bus, Further. San Francisco, California. 1966.

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Merry Prankster and author Stewart Brand sets up instruments on top of the group’s magic bus. San Francisco, California. 1966.

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A couple waits for the start of the Monterey Pop Festival in California. 1967.

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Altamont Free Concert. 1969.

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Hippie family living in a painted bus. Date unspecified.

Wikimedia Commons

A young hippie sits cross-legged in a New York City park. 1969.

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Hippies passing a joint at a commune. Date unspecified.

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Music fans gather in Hyde Park to see the Rolling Stones in concert. 1969.

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A Hells Angel relaxes on the scaffolding during the Isle of Wight music festival. 1970.

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Hippies relaxing on the beach. Date unspecified.

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

A female dancer, decorated in fluorescent body paint and with feathers in her hair, attends an event at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom. 1967.

Ted Streshinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Hippies gathered around a large tree at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Date unspecified.

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Concert-goers lend a helping hand to push a stalled VW microbus at the Ozark Music Festival in Sedalia, Missouri. 1974.

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American political and social activists Abbie Hoffman and Anita Kushner sit cross-legged on either side of Linn House (center), a “Boo-Hoo” leader of the Neo-American Church, devoted to the use of psychedelic drugs. He performed their wedding ceremony in Central Park, New York. 1967.

Burton Berinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

A female demonstrator offers a flower to a military policeman during an anti-war protest at the Pentagon. 1967.

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