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The Shows (Feature 1221.240)
Picturing Utopia


What if, by means of forbidden photographs, you could go back in time and witness life in a turn of the century religious utopia? In her book, "Picturing Utopia, Bertha Shambaugh and the Amana Photographers," author Abigail Foerstner provides that opportunity and goes a step further by exposing the photographers who took them.

In the mid 1800's, German immigrants established a self-sufficient, communal and religious society in the villages in eastern Iowa we know as the Amana Colonies. Photography was forbidden because it was considered to be a worldly vanity in a society that wanted to be separate from the influences of the outside world in order to focus on a spiritual life.

A group of prominent members of Amana society felt that documenting their lifestyle in a rapidly changing world was more important than breaking the rule against taking pictures. The photographers took great care in capturing all types of photos from still lifes to local disasters. They left us a time capsule of a gentler way of life.






Picturing Utopia
pictures { Click to view the full image Click to view the full image
 
contacts { Abigail Foerstner
Phone: (847)256-6425
amf240@aol.com


State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City
Phone: (319)335-3916
Web Site

Museum of Amana History
P.O. Box 81, Amana, IA 52203
Phone: (319)622-3567
amherit@juno.com
Web Site

University of Iowa Press
100 Kuhl House, Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: orders (800)621-2736
Web Site
 
links { Museum of Amana History


University of Iowa Press


State Historical Society of Iowa