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.
The converging forces, circumstances, personalities and events that propelled a group of English men and women west across the Atlantic in 1620.
Legendary bank robber John Dillinger garnered the admiration of many struggling Americans, but FBI took him down with a message: crime doesn't pay.
George Eastman introduced the Kodak and Brownie camera systems and transformed photography into something anybody could do.
In 1936, GM and Ford could not stop one of the worst battles of the American labor movement.
Football coach Knute Rockne of Notre Dame was a pivotal figure in the sudden rise of sports to a position of power in American culture.
A brilliant scientist, Oppenheimer was tasked with the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.
Robert Moses fueled some of the most ambitious -- and controversial -- public works projects ever conceived.
Quilting and the intimate clues it yields about the lives of 19th century women.