Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Prints and Photographs Reading Room (Prints and Photographs Division)
  Home >> Collection Guides & Finding Aids >>
   Collection Overviews

[Antietam, Md. A cavalry orderly]

Civil War Photograph Collection

Civil War photographs by Mathew Brady's staff and others

Prints and Photographs Division

Collection digitized?: More than 7,000 are available in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. For further information, see "About the Civil War Photographs" in the online catalog.

The best known pictorial records of the American Civil War are the photographs commissioned by Mathew Brady (1823?-1896), a leading portrait photographer of New York and Washington. At the outbreak of the war, Brady sent photographers into the field to record the progress of the conflict in various regions. Although taking few of the photographs himself, Brady employed twenty photographers at the height of his operations. Brady's staff included at one time or another, Alexander and James Gardner who left Brady to work for the Army in 1863, James F. Gibson, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Thomas C. Roche.

ln 1943 the Library of Congress purchased a collection which brings together 10,000 original and copy glass plate negatives attributed to Brady's staff or made by independent field photographers. These images of camp life, artillery, fortifications, railroads, ships, bridges, towns, battlefields, officers, and men in the ranks were published in a series of illustrated works on the Civil War, among them Photographic History of the Civil War (New York: Review of Reviews Co., 1912. 10 v. E468.7.M64 1912), edited by Francis Trevelyan Miller. In addition to the so-called Brady Collection, the Prints and Photographs Division maintains photographs by other Confederate and Union photographers, such as Haas and Peale, whose work is discussed in Milton Kaplan's article, "The Case of the Disappearing Photographers," in the U.S. Library of Congress Quarterly Journal, v. 24, January 1967, p. 40-45; reprinted in A Century of Photographs, 1846-1946, Selected from the Collections of the Library of Congress (Washington: Library of Congress, 1980. TR6.U62.D572), compiled by Renata V. Shaw.

More than 7,000 negatives and prints can be viewed in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. For further information, see "About the Civil War Photographs" in the online catalog.

Note: Information for this entry was compiled in the late 1970's for inclusion in: Special Collections in the Library of Congress: A Selective Guide. Compiled by Annette Melville. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1980. The entry has not been revised, except to include information about digitized images, online catalog records, and further information available online.


Related Publications and Guides


U.S. Library of Congress. Reference Department. Guide to the Special Collections of Prints & Photographs in the Library of Congress (Washington: 1955. NE53.W3A52), compiled by Paul Vanderbilt. no. 78-80, 317, 557.

Milhollen, Hirst D., "Mathew B. Brady Collection," Library of Congress Quarterly Journal, v. 1. April/June 1944: 15-19; reprinted in A Century of Photographs, 1846-1946, Selected from the Collection of the Library of Congress (Washington: Library of Congress, 1980. TR6.U62.D572), compiled by Renata V. Shaw.

U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865: A Catalog of Copy Negatives Made from Originals Selected from the Mathew B. Brady Collection in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress (Washington: 1961. 74 p. E468.7.U57; reprint, Washington: 1977), compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge.

U.S. Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. Viewpoints, a Selection from the Pictorial Collections of the Library of congress; a Picture Book by Alan Fern, Milton Kaplan, and the staff of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress (Washington: 1975. 223 p. illus. E178.5.U54 1974; reprint. New York, Arno Press: 1976. E178.5.U54 1976), no. 75, 77, 79-82, 84-85.


Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Collection Guides & Finding Aids >>
   Collection Overviews
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  October 22, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian