Defining Ourselves

How do you define your family? We often think about families in terms of blood relations, but our families can also contain members we choose for ourselves. Would you include pictures of political and spiritual leaders in a family photo album, like Arabella Chapman did? Would you, like Geo F. Mahoney, mail a copy of your personal journal to a close friend? If you were trying to keep your “significant other” secret or communicate your love for a friend, how would you express affection in a photo, like several of the couples in postcards displayed do here? As you look through the materials assembled here, you might ask yourself, “Who do I take pride in and cherish as my own?” How has the power to define who we are and choose who we love changed the American family over time?