Do you have questions about the Amish? Check out these links for more information. Additional information can be found in the Anabaptist and Pietist Studies Guide linked above.
Amish culture typically does not permit posing for photographs, with many groups feeling that it promotes vanity and individualism. To respect his Amish subjects, Hughes often took photos with a telephoto lens to avoid getting too close. This method allowed Hughes to take a variety of photographs over the years and capture Amish life and culture in not just Lancaster County, but also in New York, Indiana, Florida, and other parts of Pennsylvania.
In 2014, East Petersburg, Pennsylvania photographer Dennis L. Hughes donated his collection of over 18,000 images of Amish life and culture to the College’s Hess Archives and Special Collections. The collection features images of Amish communities throughout the United States with a special emphasis on the Amish of Lancaster County. Amish Life in Focus showcases a selection of recently digitized materials from the Hughes collection and an oral history interview with Hughes. Curated by Emily Erdlen ’23 and Archivist Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh, the exhibition was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Sample images, the exhibit panels, and the oral history video can be viewed online at https://jayscholar.etown.edu/exhibit/hughes-photographs-of-the-amish/.
Relatively new to exhibition viewing? Consider these questions when viewing Amish Life in Focus. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to view the images in this exhibit!
Thank you to Eric Schubert '23 for his help preparing this guide.
Oral history interview with Dennis Hughes conducted by Archivist Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh, Emily Erdlen '23, and Eric Schubert '23 on October 6, 2021 in Elizabethtown College's High Library. The interview is also available on YouTube.