Most Amish today will not pose for a photograph. Considering it a violation of the Second Commandment, which prohibits the making of "graven images," the Amish believe any physical representation of themselves (whether a photograph, a painting, or film) promotes individualism and vanity, taking away from the values of community and humility by which they govern their lives. Occasionally, Amish people did have their photos taken, as you can see with the couple in the first image who likely went to a studio for their portrait in 1875. But by the time photography became popular in America in the mid-19th century and photographers and researchers armed with cameras began appearing in Amish communities, most Amish objected to appearing in or posing for photographs entirely.
The images in this gallery were all taken between 1875 and 1942.
The story of Chicago's dramatic transformation from a swampy frontier town to a massive metropolis in the nineteenth century.
"The Wizard of Menlo Park," Inventor Thomas Edison, built the first practical light bulb and revolutionized the world.
The little-known story of a black independent film industry that produced nearly 500 feature films for African American audiences.
A revealing portrait of one of America's most paradoxical leaders.
A peanut farmer who rose to become America's 39th president. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
Politics, culture, race relations, and technology in a year of change.
The 1968 Democratic National Convention saw a clash of political visions on the convention floor and violence outside on the streets of Chicago.
Murderer, martyr, hero - John Brown's violent crusade against slavery would divide the nation and spark the Civil War.