At one time no American parlor was complete without a stereograph viewer and a stack of dual-image cards. People toured the world in three dimensions through the viewer's lenses and reveled in scenes from their own regions. Stereoscopic vision changed the way people saw the world.

Using Iowa as a backdrop for exploring the golden age of this phenomenon, the authors of this richly illustrated book, which includes a handy stereo viewer, present an insider's look at nineteenth-century America. The remnants of this once popular pictorial tradition reveal an amazing record of the intricacies of yesterday's daily life.

Unparalleled as documents recording this era, these 220 stereographs draw the viewer into the everyday life of early Iowans—into countrysides, main streets, living rooms, and parades as well as the extraordinary devastation of train wrecks and tornadoes and the curiously spectacular Sioux City Corn Palace.

Iowa Stereographs offers lovely and intriguing views that have been sequestered for nearly a hundred years. This new perspective on Iowa and the Midwest, based on these three-dimensional images, will stimulate the imagination of historians who have yet to thoroughly explore this period in the state's history.

“The photographs in this book are time machines that transport us back not only in time but in space. There is magic indeed in being able to see the world in three dimensions.”—John E. Carter
“Iowa surely exemplifies America. And Iowa Stereographs equally exemplifies how to write photographic history.”—T. K. Treadwell
“This amazing book invites us to encounter an America of more than one hundred years ago, filled with buildings that still look familiar and people who could be ourselves. The past breathes in these pages.”—Linda K. Kerber

Chapter 1. Stereoscopic Vision
Chapter 2. Photographers of the West
Chapter 3. In the Studio and Out in the Field
Chapter 4. Iowa Views
From the Highest Point
Shaping the Landscape
Enterprising Spirits
News of the Day
The Grinnell Tornado
Democracy Prevails
For the Common Good
Ties That Bind
A Home of Our Own
Times to Remember
Travel Souvenirs
The Corn Palace
Map of Iowa
Directory of Iowa Stereo Photographers
Out-of-State Stereo Photographers

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Publication Details

Publication Date
392 pages
220 photos, 12 drawings, 1 viewer