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- About this Collection
- Ambrotypes and Tintypes in the Liljenquist Collection
- Background and Scope
- Revealing Details: Take a Closer Look at the Photographs
- Photographers Represented in the Liljenquist Collection
- Related Resources
- Rights And Restrictions
All images are digitized | All jpegs/tiffs display outside Library of Congress | View All
About this Collection
New Photos Added! View the most recent additions
Retrieve highlights from the collections that show some of its strengths:
View: Union Images
View: Confederate Images
View: Women & Children
Summary: More than 3,500 special portrait photographs, called ambrotypes and tintypes, and small card photos called cartes de visite represent both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War (1861-1865). The portraits often show weapons, hats, canteens, musical instruments, painted backdrops, and other details that enhance the research value of the collection. Other photo topics include flags, city views, veterans, and ships. Among the most rare images are sailors, African Americans in uniform, Lincoln campaign buttons, and portraits of soldiers with their families and friends.
Tom Liljenquist and his sons Jason, Brandon, and Christian built this collection in memory of President Abraham Lincoln and the estimated 620,000-850,000 Union and Confederate servicemen who died in the American Civil War. For many, these photographs are the last known record we have of who they were and what they looked like. See "From the Donor's Perspective--The Last Full Measure" for the full story.
The Liljenquist Family began donating their collection to the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division in 2010 and continues to add to it. In addition to the ambrotypes and tintypes, the collection also includes several manuscripts, patriotic envelopes, photographs on paper, and artifacts related to the Civil War.
View: Cartes de Visite
& Albumen Photos
View: Patriotic Envelopes,
Letters & Memorabilia
There are many ways to enjoy and learn about this collection:
For more ideas on using these photos with students, see the Library's Teaching With Primary Sources Journal, Winter 2012, Teacher Spotlight and the "Visual Arts" section of the article Teaching About the Civil War with Primary Sources Across Disciplines.
Glimpses of Soldiers' Lives
A set of essays offers glimpses of the lives of particular soldiers--what they ate and whom they missed, how far they marched in the mud, when they were wounded or captured or at last discharged. The biographies are accompanied by relevant photographs and drawings from Library of Congress collections that depict where individuals fought or were imprisoned.
An April 2011 exhibition of the collection, The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs from the Liljenquist Family Collection, commemorates the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. View the presentation by Christian Liljenquist at the dedication of the collection (Christian's portion of the presentation begins at 9:39 minutes into the proceedings).
View the video presentation, The Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs (published 2016).
You can also enjoy this collection in Flickr, where public comments provide additional information about images in the set called Civil War Faces.
A slideshow of staff favorites is another good way to sample the collection.
Note: These photographs can be published without requesting permission.