Collection: Civil War

On April 12, 1861, the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, beginning the American Civil War, a conflagration which raged for almost exactly four years before, on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The Civil War, as much as the American Revolution, was a defining event in American history, and this conflict has always figured large in the awareness of the American public. More than 150 years after the end of the war, there remains avid interest in the conflict.  

The Civil War took place at a time when two significant historical trends combined to make the relevance of prints particularly important. First was the development, in the nineteenth century, of a growing percentage of the American population which both was literate and had an interest in and the wealth to afford books, magazines, newspapers, and prints for the home. The other trend was the development of printmaking processes that allowed for the relatively inexpensive production of large numbers of printed pictures and maps.

We believe the study of contemporary printed images of the Civil War is crucial to gain insight into that traumatic event in our nation's history. Not only do these pictures show us today what those people, places and events looked like (although not by any means always accurately), but it is only through an awareness of these prints that we can gain any true understanding as to how Americans of the time saw the war.

9 Items
  • De Thulstrup, Thure "Battle of Kenesaw Mountain"
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  • Davidson, J.O. “Battle of Port Hudson. Passing the River Batteries.”
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  • Darley, F(elix) O(ctavius) C(arr), N.A. “On the March to the Sea”
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  • Laycock, J.F. "Bombardment of Fort Fisher. Jan.15th. 1865."
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  • Magnus, Charles "Satterlee U.S.A. General Hospital, West Philadelphia"
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  • Currier & Ives "Bombardment of Island 'Number Ten' in the Mississippi River"
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  • Ormsby, Waterman Lily "Maj. Gen. Geo. B. M'Clellan, Late Commanding United States Army"
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  • Holland, R. "Battle of the Weldon Rail-Road"
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    $875
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  • Kurz & Allison “Battle of Five Forks, Va.”
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