civil war photographs

Library of Congress Acquires Collection of Civil War Images

The Library of Congress recently took ownership of more than 500 rare Civil War images when 87-year-old Robin Stanford delivered her stereograph images from her collection to the library.

“They’re just tremendously significant,” Bob Zeller, president of the Center for Civil War Photography, told the Washington Post. “These are not post-war … or after Union occupation. These are actual scenes of slavery in America.”

You can view the 77 of the images online now at the Library of Congress.

Here are a few of my favorites:





Using GIMP to Colorize Civil War Era Photos

by fifer1863 on October 14, 2014

Bringing Civil War Photos to Life with Color

As you know I am a huge fan of having students use primary sources in the classroom.  This is especially true when comes to using photographs from the Library of Congress.  I have blogged about using images in the past.  I have also crated videos on finding photos from the Library of Congress, Creating Then and Now Images and Using Them  with Google Earth.

The Civil War in Living Color!

Here is a new way that you and your students can work with photographs in your classroom.  As you know, photographs from the Civil War era are in black and white.  Well, while the image may be in black and white, the original subjects certainly were in full color!  The following is an image of John Burns who is the only civilian to fight in the Battle of Gettysburg.


And here is the same photo of John Burns that I have colorized.

John Burns Colorized


Using the free photo editing software GIMP, I have taken a once boring, black and white image and brought Mr. Burns to life with a little bit of color.  Using a process of adding layers and layer masks, you are able to bring the images to life.  Have your students research clothes, weapons, landscapes, etc.  Have them think about a picture and what color an object or person might be an why.  This gets them thinking about an image and then creating something entirely new based on their research.

How To Video:

Here is a video on how you can colorize your own Civil War photos:



If you try this, take a moment and let me know either here on the blog, on Facebook or via Twitter.


Center for Civil War Photography

by fifer1863 on June 12, 2013

Not sure why I haven’t mentioned this one before but The Center for Civil War Photography is a great place to find photos about the Civil War.  There are numerous websites that offer images of the Civil War, but The Center for Civil War Photography is different in one way because they also offer 3D images.  I especially like the analysis of Gardner’s Harvest of Death.

So, go grab a set of your red&blue 3D glasses and explore some really cool photos of the Civil War (requires a special browser plugin).  If you don’t have them, you can always explore the regular photos.  These images provide an excellent way for students to examine different aspects of the Civil War in great detail.  As I always say, getting students to act like historians.
Rose Woods Dead in 3D


Great Source for modern Gettysburg Photographs

July 1, 2010

As you know, I love looking at Civil War era photographs and I have discussed the site Virtual Civil War before.  Mike Lynaugh is a professional photographer who has created a collection of photographs of Civil War battlefields and reenactments know as Virtual Civil War. And on this the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, […]

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Making New Photos Look Old

March 7, 2010

Here is something cool you can do with your students. Have them take modern photos and make them look old. For example, here is a photo that I took of some friends of mine from Sykes Regulars. You can then take the photograph and put it into your favorite photo editor such as Photoshop, Paint […]

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Examining the Image of Lincoln at Gettysburg

November 19, 2009

Since I have posted on The Gettysburg Address in the past, I thought I would share this USA Today headline article about a “new” image of Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg being found at the Library of Congress. The story discusses how an amateur historian was looking at photographs of the famous Gettysburg Address and found […]

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Using Civil War Photos Part 2

August 22, 2009

Okay, so back in December I asked you to take a look at the following photograph so we could explore all of its hidden treasures. This photograph shows the same building from my December 8th post that showed wounded soldiers from the battles in the “Wilderness” at Fredericksburg, Virginia, May 1864. This Gardner photograph of […]

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Using Photos Part 1

August 8, 2009

So I thought that I would start a series on how to use photographs from the Civil War era in order to increase understanding. Looking at photographs can tell us a great deal about many different aspects of the war. Today we will discuss the following photograph from the Library of Congress website: This photo […]

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Gettysburg Photographs

June 25, 2009

Mike Lynaugh has put together a collection of original Civil War photographs on his website Virtual Civil War. This collection of Civil War photographs will allow your students to view some excellent photos or provide you with some primary sources to display for conversation starters within the classroom. The collection contains a good variety of […]

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Using Photos from the Library of Congress

March 30, 2009

As many of you know, the Library of Congress has a website called Selected Civil War Photographs. This page makes browsing the photographs easy because they have a Search feature, a Subject browse, or you can look at photos from each year of the War. There is also information about Understand and Working with the […]

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Finding Photos on Flickr

March 1, 2009

For those who are not familiar with it, Flickr is a way for users to share their photos online. Users can make them public or private depending on how they want to share them. The great part about Flickr is that users can tag their photos so they are searchable similar to bookmarks with […]

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