Press contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public contact: Carol Johnson (202) 707-9336
Public contact: Cheryl Regan (202) 707-3610
Information on the Liljenquist family gift.
View the exhibition online.

December 15, 2010 (REVISED January 20, 2011)

Liljenquist Family Civil War Photo Exhibition Opens April 12, 2011

Portrait photographs of the young men who fought in the Civil War, as well as their wives and children—poignant faces that gaze across time—are the subject of a major exhibition at the Library of Congress that will open on April 12, 2011. Nearly 400 ambrotype and tintype photographs showing both Union and Confederate soldiers will be on display.

"The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs from the Liljenquist Family Collection" will be free and open to the public from April 12 to August 13, 2011, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in the second-floor South Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The exhibition commemorates the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, which started on April 12, 1861, and will serve as a memorial to those who gave their lives during the devastating conflict by displaying images of 360 Union soldiers—one for every 1,000 who died—and 52 Confederate soldiers—one for every 5,000.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of HISTORY (external link)  the Liljenquist family, and Union Pacific Corp.

The Civil War portraits depict ordinary enlisted men, their loved ones—wives, sisters and children—and some rare images of African American soldiers. Details in the photographs often show firearms, hats, canteens and musical instruments.

A sampling of the photographs in the exhibition includes a girl in mourning, an African American Union soldier, and a Confederate soldier, with canteen and cup. To view the entire Liljenquist Family Collection, visit the Prints and Photographs Division online at www.loc.gov/rr/print/caption/captionliljenquist.html.

Also images can be seen through Flickr Commons, where viewers can assist in identifying individuals and photographers based on such clues as painted backdrops and regimental insignia. To view the photos at Flickr Commons, visit www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/sets/72157625520211184/.

In spring 2010, the Library of Congress acquired the exceptional collection of nearly 700 Civil War photographs from the Liljenquist Family of McLean, Va. Tom Liljenquist and his sons—Jason, 19; Brandon, 17; and Christian, 13—generously donated the collection to the Library as a gift to the nation in order to ensure broad public access and long-term preservation.

The Liljenquists became interested in Civil War history after finding bullets and other signs of an encampment near their home in Virginia. As they began to investigate other artifacts from the war, they were especially attracted to the images captured in the photographic formats called ambrotypes (on glass) and tintypes (on metal). On the Library’s website, Brandon Liljenquist describes further his family’s reasons for collecting the photographs and donating them to the Library. Visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/633_lilj_measure.html.

HISTORY and HISTORY HD are leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event-driven specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. The HISTORY website, located at www.history.com (external link), is a leading online resource for all things history, featuring more than 20,000 videos, images, audio clips, articles and interactive features that allow visitors to dig deeper into a broad range of thousands of historical topics.

Union Pacific’s roots to the Civil War era run deep. The company was founded in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, leading to the construction of America’s transcontinental railroad. Today, Union Pacific remains an industry leader, linking 23 states in the western U.S. with safe, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible freight transportation.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

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PR 10-266
12/15/10
ISSN 0731-3527

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