Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Summary: Almost 1,000 special portrait photographs, called ambrotypes and tintypes, represent both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War (1861-1865). The photographs often show weapons, hats, canteens, musical instruments, painted backdrops, and other details that enhance the research value of the collection. Among the rarest images are sailors, African Americans in uniform, a Lincoln campaign button, 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 620,000 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.

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:


Persons partial to one side or the other will be pleased to learn that they can choose to view “Confederate Images” or “Union Images”! You can also enjoy this collection in Flickr, where public comments provide additional information about images in the set called Civil War Faces:


An LOC slideshow of staff favorites is another good way to sample the collection:


Note: These photographs can be republished without requesting permission.

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