The Big Blue and White World

The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry memorial at Gettysburg.
The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry memorial at Gettysburg. (Photo by William Ames)

I’ve heard anecdotal evidence about how big the Penn State network is.

For instance, there’s a rumor that if you yell, “We Are!” in a crowded LAX airport, someone will invariably yell back, “Penn State.” I have never tried this. I’ve seen the scowls and piercing stares on some of those Transportation Security Administration agents, so I don’t intend to test this theory anytime soon.

However, I had my own brush with the big blue and white connection. A few days ago, I received an email from William Ames about a story I wrote on a new guide to the Gettysburg battlefield by historian Carol Reardon, the George Winfree Professor of American History at Penn State, and retired U.S. Army Col. Tom Vossler.

Ames, an information technology specialist at Penn State and a freelance photographer, immediately noticed something familiar about the book cover. The publisher — University of North Carolina Press — who contacted Ames earlier, used three of his photographs on the cover of A Field Guide to Gettysburg. He had no idea that the pictures would be used for a book co-written by a Penn State historian.

“UNC contacted me after finding stock photos on my web site,” said Ames. “It was a coincidence that I happened to be at Penn State as well, and they never mentioned that Carol Reardon taught at Penn State.”

For 27 years or so, Ames has taken pictures of “just about everything,” but he specializes in portraits, weddings, architecture and landscapes. His photos of Penn State campus are probably his most famous shots.

Ames spends a lot of time on various Civil War battlefields, including Gettysburg, so it makes sense that some of those photos would show up in his portfolio. He was kind enough to share another photo of the Gettysburg battlefield with our blog readers. The photo (above) is a picture of the memorial to the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry on Cemetery Ridge.

You can check out more of his photos at his website.

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