Just 22 years after the birth of photography, enterprising photographers rushed to Civil War battlefields and produced America's first documentary images of war. Working with cumbersome wet plates, they produced grim, shocking pictures that the New York Times described as revealing "the terrible reality and earnestness of war." The American people were both drawn to the images for their apparent realism and repulsed by the horrors they depicted. Seeing Civil War photographs was so much like visiting the battlefield, wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes, "that all the emotions excited by the stained and sordid scene... came back to us, and we buried them in the recesses of our cabinet as we would have buried the mutilated remains of the dead they too vividly represented."
Thousands of Civil War images, original 19th-century photographs from such renowned photographers as Timothy O'Sullivan and Alexander Gardner, lay perfectly preserved in the attic of the Medford Historical Society in Medford, Massachusetts until 1990. This gallery presents a small sample of this pristine collection.
A peanut farmer who rose to become America's 39th president. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The African American jazz composer and bandleader performed regularly at Harlem's Cotton Club, leaving a legacy in music.
From Joseph Smith's discovery of gold tablets to persecution, migration, and settlement in Utah, the film explores the history of the most American of religions.
Creating Miami Beach from a narrow spit of Florida swampland, Carl Fisher made a fortune until a devastating hurricane and the stock market crash of 1929 wiped him out.
Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin's bullet, Kennedy's presidency long defied objective appraisal. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
An African American minister whose dream of ending racism galvanized millions of Americans in the civil rights movement.
Robert Moses fueled some of the most ambitious -- and controversial -- public works projects ever conceived.
Malcolm X, a man who both terrified and inspired, expressed the anger and struggle of black people for freedom in the 1960s.