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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
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About this Collection
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Summary: More than 6,000 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). 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.
There are many ways to enjoy and learn about this collection:
Two story maps, "Faces of the Civil War: Mapping the Liljenquist Collection" (published 2022), and Susie King Taylor: African American Nurse and Teacher in the Civil War" (published 2019)
Two primary source sets, "Civil War Photographs: New Technologies and New Uses" and Civil War Soldiers' Portraits: The Liljenquist Family Collection", with a teacher's guide
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. Additional essays are found in the research guide, "Civil War Men and Women: Glimpses of Their Lives Through Photography".
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 variety of Picture This blog posts and Teaching with the Library of Congress blog posts relating to the collection.