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Collection Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints


Stereographs flourished from the early 1850s through the 1930s. During the Civil War, photographers produced thousands of stereo views ranging from camp scenes to dead soldiers on the battlefield.

This online collection includes glass stereograph negatives (original views and copies of other photos), as well as Library-created copy photos of original stereograph cards.

Stereo cameras used a single glass plate negative to capture both images. Prints from these negatives were intended to be looked at with a special viewer called a stereoscope, which created a three-dimensional ("3-D") image. (For information on resources for viewing digitized stereographs in 3-D, see "Viewing Online Stereographs in 3-D," in the "About the Stereographs" section of the online catalog.)

Below is a description of the various stereo formats that have been scanned:

Glass Plate Stereo Negatives (negative series LC-B815)

Negative series LC-B815 contains original glass plate stereo negatives. These negatives include two images, or both sides of the stereograph, on one plate of glass. In order to view these images in 3-D, however, the left and right halves must be transposed.

LC-DIG-cwpb-00174 (b&w copy scan of stereo negative)

Glass Plate Stereo Negatives--Halves (negative series LC-B811 and LC-BH822)

Negative series LC-B811 and LC-BH822 contain original and copy glass plate negatives. These stereo negatives have been cut in half. Sometimes both sides exist, sometimes only one side and/or a copy negative are present. When both sides exist, they will both display with the catalog record. The images are sequenced so that, when paired, they can be viewed in 3-D. Additional information about the digital files is available by selecting one of the digital images.

LC-DIG-cwpb-01553 (b&w copy scan of left half of stereograph)
LC-DIG-cwpb-01554 (b&w copy scan of right half of stereograph)

Copies of original stereograph cards

Copy negatives or color transparencies have been made for many original stereograph cards. Usually the entire card is photographed.

LC-USZC4-1850 (color film copy transparency of stereograph card)

In some cases, the image has been cropped to show only one side of the stereo.

LC-USZ62-90578 (b&w film copy neg. of left half of stereograph card)