Photojournalism: A Sign of the Times

While the many specific doings and happenings of 1880s-1920s America aren't well-known to the average American citizen, the term "Gilded Age" is widely known to describe this period. So what exactly does "Gilded Age" mean? Gilded is defined as "something covered in gold," so one would assume this means that 1880-1920 was a prosperous time for the country... which it was. Billionaires like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, William Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan, and many others became pioneers and tycoons of their respective industries; propelling American business and technology to heights that had never been seen before. Everything sounds perfect, until you delve a little deeper into how the average American truly lived during The Gilded Age. Industries weren't the only entities to see drastic technological growth; advancement in photography techniques led to photojournalism. Publications like Life Magazine and The New York Times used photography to truly show the disparity and differences between the lives of Americans... photos that would inspire reform for working class citizens all over the country, reform that is often overlooked when discussing the Gilded Age.