About the Author
David Ottenstein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1960 and grew up in the Northeastern United States, primarily in the central Pennsylvania town of State College. David graduated from Yale University in 1982 with a BA in American Studies with a concentration in photography. He has worked for thirty-five years as a freelance editorial and commercial photographer, specializing in architecture and interiors. For the past eighteen years, David has also pursued fine-art/documentary photography, exploring interiors of abandoned and decaying buildings in the Northeast and the vanishing agrarian landscape of the Midwest. The Western Americana Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University has been acquiring David's work on an ongoing basis. His photographs are also represented in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of American Art, Kansas City, MO; the Grinnell College Permanent Collection; the Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, IA; the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; and the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, among others. David and his wife have two adult children and live in New Haven, Connecticut, a long, but interesting drive from Iowa.
Alan Trachtenberg is Neil Gray, Jr., professor emeritus of English and American Studies at Yale University, where he has taught since 1969. His teaching fields include realism and modernism in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American Literature. He has taught courses in the history of photography, American fiction and poetry, the relationship between technology and the arts, and major figures in American culture, including both visual and literary artists. His interest in cultural and historical perspectives is evident in his books, which include Brooklyn Bridge: Fact and Symbol, Shades of Hiawatha, winner of the 2005 Francis Parkman Prize, Reading American Photographs, and The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age. He has written widely on American photography and American culture and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Jonathan G. Andelson is Rosenfield Professor of Social Science (Anthropology) at Grinnell College in Iowa. He was born in Chicago, earned his bachelor's degree from Grinnell in 1970 and his master's and doctorate from the University of Michigan, all in anthropology. He joined the faculty at Grinnell in 1974. Since 1971, his main research interest has been the Amana Colonies, a German-American religious community located fifty miles east of Grinnell and one of largest and longest lasting intentional communities in the United States. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on Amana and other intentional communities. His other academic interests include prairie regional studies, Midwestern agriculture, religion, Native Americans, and relations between humans and the environment. He is the founding director of the Grinnell's Center for Prairie Studies, which sponsors interdisciplinary learning on campus and in the Grinnell community focused on the region, sustainability, and notions of place. He is the convener of the Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance and past president of the Communal Studies Association.