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Physical Description:
paper (overall material)
leather (overall material)
purple (overall color)
open: 33.2 cm x 23.2 cm x 3.2 cm; 13 1/16 in x 9 1/8 in x 1 1/4 in
closed: 11 7/8 in x 8 3/4 in x 1 1/2 in; 30.1625 cm x 22.225 cm x 3.81 cm
Object Name:
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Purple cartes-de-visite album, four to a page, with "United States" embossed on the cover. Twenty-two pages of portriats of Union generals, President Lincoln and his cabinet members by various photographers including Brady Studios and Alexander Gardner. Two pages of Confederate leaders, generals and soldiers. Each of the cartes-de-visites are hand-inscribed, in German, below the image with the sitter's name and sometimes title. Apparently, the album was compiled for someone in Europe during the Civil War. The album passed through generations until it ultimately was returned to the GAF corporation, by an heir who no longer wanted it, but was unsure as to where to send it, and recognized it value. It was returned to GAF, as the parent company was Anthony and Scoville who helped finance Brady's effort to document the Civil War.
The struggle between North and South was followed with great interest at home and abroad. Portraits of the leading players helped those far from the action imagine the individuals they read about in newspapers. This album was kept by Karl Schenk, who became president of Switzerland in 1865. It contains small portraits known as cartes-de-visite because they were about the size of calling cards people presented at the door when visiting fashionable residences. Introduced in the late 1850s, when a process was devised for making multiple prints from a single glass negative, they functioned mainly as collectables to be preserved in albums.
Currently not on view
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Civil War
Data Source:
National Museum of American History