Photographs of African Americans During the Civil War: A List of Images in the Civil War Photograph Collection
About the List: Introduction | Organization
of the List | Compilation
of the List | Content
of Entries | Reproductions
Jump to list section: African American
Soldiers | Naval Scenes | "Contrabands," "Freedmen," and
Refugees | African Americans in Military Camps and Sites of Military Activity | Other Images of African Americans | Related Subject Matter
This reference aid lists photographs in the
Civil War Photograph Collection that include
Researchers need to be aware of two facts about
American soldiers are
not well represented in P&P files.
Rather, most photographs
show African Americans as civilians attached to
the military, and as "contraband" and
identification of racial or ethnic characteristics
of people in a photograph on visual evidence
if not impossible.
While it is believed
from visual examination that the images on this
list show African Americans, there is
no way to prove (or
disprove) this belief.
Organization of the List
are grouped into broad subject categories,
based on what can be discerned
and the text
found on them:
- African American soldiers
- Naval scenes
- "Contrabands," "freedmen"
- African Americans in military camps and
sites of military activity
- Other Images
that do not show African Americans, but
subject matter (e.g., slave pens,
white officers of African American troops)
Compilation of the List
and a volunteer compiled this list
by surveying the Civil War Photograph LOTs--photographic
prints grouped by subject matter. In many
cases, the photographic prints correspond to
negatives in the Library's holdings. (For more
information see the Civil War Photographs Background
and Scope document in the Prints & Photographs
Online Catalog.) When the Civil War negatives
came available in the online catalog, staff
matched the entries for the prints to the corresponding
negatives, wherever possible, in order to include
in the list.
cases, no corresponding negative was found online;
in other cases, variant images were found in
this way. The more than 7,000 negatives have
not, themselves, been surveyed systematically
for additional images
Americans. Researchers are
encouraged to report to P&P reference staff
any images that are not listed so that amendments
can be made.
Since the compilation of this list, the Library of Congress has acquired additional collections that include photographs of African Americans during the Civil War, including soldiers: the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs and the Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs. Researchers should consult those online collections for additional images on this subject.
Content of the Entries
- A digital image is included with an entry
if one was found online. If multiple digital
images are available (e.g., for both the negative
and for the print), priority was given to a
high resolution scan of the negative or a scan
of a color copy transparency made of a print,
in preference to a scan of a black-and-white
of the print. The Prints & Photographs Online
Catalog may lead to additional versions.
- Wherever possible,
text appearing with the photographic print
- Citations to three
major works are noted as staff encounter
of images in them. The works are:
- Gardner, Alexander. Photographic
Sketch Book of the Civil War. Reprint.
New York: Dover, . [LC cal number:
E468.7.G19] (cited as Gardner's Photographic
- Image of War, 1861-1865.
6 vol. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1981-1984.
numbers] (cited as Image of War)
- Miller, Francis Trevelyan, ed. Photographic
History of the Civil War.
10 vol. New York: T. Yoseloff,  [LC
call number: E468.7.M64 1957] (cited as "Miller")
- The call number indicates where the Division's
photographic print is stored. If the entry includes
a digital image made from a corresponding negative,
number for the negative is
numbers are included for those
needing to order
quality copies. For further information about
obtaining copies, see the next section.
Reproductions and Rights
Each thumbnail digital image included
in the list is linked to display in the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog where larger
versions of the image are available. Users may
download the larger images themselves. The images
vary in quality and resolution. In general the
Civil War glass negatives were scanned at a
sufficient for most publication purposes.
The entries also cite reproduction numbers
from the Library
of Congress Duplication Services. If
contains only dashes,
no digital scan or negative exists and
photography of the original
will have to
be requested by citing
the call number.
There are no known restrictions on publication
of images included in this list. For more information,
see the Civil
War Photographs rights statement.
Jump to: African
American Soldiers | Naval
Scenes | "Contrabands," "Freedmen," and
Refugees | African Americans
in Military Camps and Sites of Military Activity | Other
Images of African Americans | Related
Prepared by: P&P Staff. Last revised: Dec. 2011.