Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War from the George Eastman House Collection

May 8 – August 28, 2011

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of “Mr. Lincoln’s War,” Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War from the George Eastman House Collection will feature a selection of historical photographs of the Civil War by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner. The exhibition explores how photographers used the medium during this period to record the war, promote popular causes and commemorate those who sacrificed their lives.

This exhibition will include more than 100 facsimiles of seldom-seen items from the George Eastman House collection, including many images where the original object is too fragile to travel or be exhibited for the public. Selections of famous published works such as Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign and Gardner’s Sketchbook of the Civil War will be exhibited in addition to items only held at George Eastman House, such as pages from the album entitled The Lincoln Conspiracy and extremely rare photographs of the C.S.S. Alabama, a Confederate naval vessel.

Along with these materials, the exhibition will be supplemented with reproductions of portraits of civil war era figures, including Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Sojourner Truth, Tom Thumb, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, and Susan B. Anthony. The George Eastman House collection also abounds with portraits of soldiers, many of whose identities remain unknown, but whose images remind us of the endless number of soldiers who served during this war. Other facsimile photographs feature infamous prisons, sweeping battle fields, fortress interiors, and post-Civil War memorial sites. There are about a dozen images of Chattanooga in the exhibition.

 

C.W. Briggs Company. [Battle scene, Civil War] from the series American History, ca. 1865. Collection of George Eastman House.