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.
General Douglas MacArthur led American troops in World Wars I and II before being fired by President Harry Truman during the Korean War.
P.T. Barnum -- huckster, con man, promoter, entertainer and founder of "The Greatest Show on Earth".
The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Earhart disappeared in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the world by airplane.
Engineer James Eads tamed the mighty Mississippi, turning New Orleans into the second largest port in the nation.
The founding father laid the groundwork for the nation's modern economy, including the banking system and Wall Street.
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.
A saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy.