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Picturing Utopia: Bertha Shambaugh and the Amana Photographers
by Abigail Foerstner
University of Iowa Press, 2005
eISBN: 978-1-60938-024-3 | Cloth: 978-0-87745-699-5 | Paper: 978-0-87745-958-3
Library of Congress Classification TR820.5.F64 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 779.99777653

More than a hundred years ago, Bertha Shambaugh set out to photograph the Amana Colonies, the utopian religious community twenty miles northwest of Iowa City. Following her example, several Amana members ignored their community's prohibition against photography and took up cameras to record the people and events around them. Picturing Utopia celebrates their artistic vision and offers a rare glimpse into a 19th-century religious utopia, providing an unbroken photographic record beginning with Shambaugh's work in the 1890s and continuing through the Colonies' transition to mainstream American life with the Great Change in 1932.Abigail Foerstner, whose great uncle was one of the Amana photographers included in this book, brings together this stunning collection of photographs along with the stories of the photographers who took them. Together the pictures and text fill in an untold chapter in American photographic history and provide an insider's view of life in Amana.
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