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 created between 1875 and 1942.
Discover the fascinating story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, the groundbreaking cryptanalyst who helped bring down gangsters and break up a Nazi spy ring in South America. Her work helped lay the foundation for modern codebreaking today.
Explore the life of William Randolph Hearst, the pioneering media mogul and inspiration for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Wielding unprecedented power, Hearst forever transformed the media’s role in American life and politics.
In the summer of 1910, hundreds of wildfires raged across the Northern Rockies. By the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least 78 firefighters were dead. It was the largest fire in American history.