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Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of War, Volume 1

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Gardner, Alexander
date made
Object Name
photographs, album
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Volume I and Volume II of Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War was published in 1866. Each album contains fifty photographs of different scenes of the Civil War and is accompanied by text written by Gardner. These are rare books, each produced by hand. Just a few sets were sold as they were very costly to produce and, after the Civil War, many Americans were looking forward, trying to move on from the death and destruction of the war.
Alexander Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1821. Before coming to America in 1856, he was trained as a jeweler and a chemist, but was more interested in the fairly new invention of photography. After immigrating to New York, he worked for Mathew Brady in his photographic studios in New York and Washington, D.C. After disagreeing with Brady over the photographer's rights to receive credit for their pictures, he left that studio in and started his own business in 1862 in Washington, DC, where his most famous subject was Abraham Lincoln. Gardner not only took the last posed photograph of Lincoln in February of 1865, but also photographs of his funeral and the hanging of the conspirators in his assassination. Besides Lincoln, Gardener also took pictures of Supreme Court Justices, visiting delegates, and other government figures.
During the Civil War, Gardner became a photographer for the Army of the Potomac. He took pictures of not only non-battle scenes, such as military camps, but also the immediate aftermath of battles. He later combined his photographs of the war with those of his staff photographers, and wrote the two-volume book, Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, for which he became most famous. Gardner died in 1882 in Washington, D.C.
Currently not on view
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook