March 29, 2013 Collector of Civil War Photographs to Focus on African Americans in Book Discussion

Ronald S. Coddington Publishes Third Volume on Civil War Soldiers

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A renowned collector of Civil War photographs and a prodigious researcher, Ronald S. Coddington combines compelling archival images with biographical stories that reveal the human side of the war. The third volume in his series on Civil War soldiers contains previously unpublished photographs of African American Civil War participants – many of whom fought to secure their freedom.

Coddington will discuss and sign this new book, “African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) on Monday, April 8, at noon, in the Mary Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is co-sponsored by the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

During the Civil War, 200,000 African American men enlisted in the Union army or navy. Some of them were free men and some escaped from slavery; others were released by sympathetic owners to serve the war effort. “African American Faces of the Civil War” tells the story of the conflict through the images of men of color who served in roles that ranged from servants and laborers to enlisted men and junior officers.

Coddington discovers these portraits – cartes de visite, ambrotypes and tintypes – in museums, archives and private collections. He has pieced together each individual’s life and fate based upon personal documents, military records and pension files. These stories tell of ordinary men who became fighters, of the prejudice they faced and of the challenges they endured.

Ronald S. Coddington is an assistant managing editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in USA Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the San Jose Mercury News. He is a contributing writer to The New York Times Disunion series and writes a monthly column for The Civil War News. He is also the author of “Faces of the Civil War” and “Faces of the Confederacy,” both published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

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PR 13-055
ISSN 0731-3527