By Kevin Williams
This is the cover of a book published by National Geographic in 1972, the year I was born. An Amish man with a very interesting story to tell (I’ll share more next month) showed me a copy of this title. The book is, as the title suggests, about rural america and it covers all sorts of “rural folk”, from gypsies to Melungeons to just average farmers. And, of course, the Amish are generally a rural people so they made the cut also. Apparently the Amish community was abuzz with excitement when this photographer and writer first came calling, but some soured on his stay as photography is controversial in the Amish church.
I’ll leave you to guess where the photo of the smiling Amish man was taken. Or perhaps someone has the book and let us know (I know where it was taken, I just like a good guessing game!:)
These Amish in this church settlement knew ahead of time that they would be photographed and they did permit it, which seems like that would have been very unusual back in 1972. But this is a special Amish community even to this day. I wish I had a copy of the book, I might have to start scouring Ebay.
As an aside, my 22-m0nth-old daughter, Aster, is getting very good at recognizing Amish people. She has looked at the above photo a couple of times and says “Amish people” each time. She definitely has a very advanced vocabulary for someone her age!