Civil War Photograph Album, ca. 1861-65 (James Wadsworth Family Papers)
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Civil War Photograph Album, ca. 1861-65, James Wadsworth Family Papers

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Cartes de visite, miniature portraits used as calling cards, were extremely popular during the American Civil War. These photographic calling cards, approximately 2½ x 4 inches in size, had been invented in France in the early 1850s, and their popularity quickly spread throughout Europe and eventually to the United States, where the corollary development of the photograph album spurred a collecting craze in the 1860s that became known as Cartomania.1 In addition to assembling albums of family photographs, the public sought to collect images of celebrities and views of favorite places and sites. John Hay (1838-1905), a personal secretary to President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) who later had a successful diplomatic and political career of his own, is thought to have assembled the cards in this album. Many of the two hundred individuals represented in Hay's album, including numerous army and navy officers, politicians, and cultural figures, were undoubtedly visitors to the Lincoln White House. Others, such as Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) and generals Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) and James Longstreet (1821-1904), were unlikely to have called at the Executive Mansion.

 Most of the portraits in Hay's album are signed, greatly increasing their value. It was common practice during the war to acquire such portraits through gift or purchase, mail them to the individuals represented, and hope for their return--signed. Thus on the back of many of the cartes are notes requesting that the sitter affix his signature at the bottom of the carte, high enough to be seen when in an album. It was also customary for many photographers, including both Mathew B. Brady (1823-1896) and Alexander Gardner (1821-1882) whose work is well documented in this album, to keep stocks of autographed cartes for sale to souvenir album collectors. Hay was acquainted with both Brady and Gardner and went to the latter's studio with Lincoln for the president's sitting and separately to have his own photograph taken. He could quite possibly have purchased cartes from Gardner and others to supplement those he acquired directly from the sitters.

 Hay thoughtfully arranged his collection of cartes in a decorative, leather-bound album patented by Altemus & Company of Philadelphia on 21 July 1863. Like many such albums, this one has gold-stamped decoration on the cover and spine, engraved circular ivory bosses at each corner of the cover, and two brass foredge clasps. The text block consists of a title page, a blank index page, twenty-five album pages, and a back flyleaf. Each album page holds eight cartes--four on the front and four on the back--inserted in recessed pockets. Since the cartes were placed back-to-back in the album, sometimes the ink instructions to one sitter bled from the back of one carte onto the verso of another. The text block edges are gilt, as are the edges of the openings for each photograph. The openings have been numbered 1 through 200, possibly by the same hand who wrote on the first page "Do not touch the pictures with the fingers." Of particular interest to book conservators is the album's "hinged-back" spine, ingeniously engineered to permit flexible movement of the heavy, stiff-paged text block. The pages of the album are attached to the spine by leather hinges that are slotted and have metal pins inserted. Each pin alternately picks up hinges for the page in front of it and in back of it, forming a continuous attachment of leaves. As the pages are turned, they rotate on the pin.

 This digital reproduction of the album allows viewers the opportunity to page through the cartes as if they were perusing the volume in Hay's home. These "album page views" enable readers to consider Hay's selection and arrangement of the photographs. For example, Hay began the album with Lincoln followed by his vice presidents and members of his Cabinet. Elsewhere in the album there are groupings of politicians and military officers, with images of cultural and literary figures toward the end of the book. By selecting the "View these cartes" option from any of the album pages, readers may see the images as they would appear outside the album. Both the front and verso of each carte is fully displayed, revealing studio logos, addresses, and other imprint information on the approximately twenty photographers and/or photographic firms represented in the album. One especially elaborate imprint is for Alexander Gardner's studios, which features an image of the United States Capitol and its grounds, complete with strolling figures on the esplanade.

 The Hay album became the property of the Wadsworth family through Hay's daughter Alice, who married James W. Wadsworth, Jr. It was subsequently donated to the Library as part of the Wadsworth Family Papers.








Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873
Ames, Oakes, 1804-1873
Anderson, Robert, 1805-1871
Arnold, Isaac Newton, 1815-1884
Astor, John Jacob, 1822-1890
Augur, Christopher Columbus, 1821-1898
Averell, William Woods, 1832-1900
Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss, 1818-1894
Barlow, Francis C. (Francis Channing), 1834-1896
Barnes, Joseph K., 1817-1883
Barry, William F. (William Farquhar), 1818-1879
Bates, Edward, 1793-1869
Beauregard, G. T. (Gustave Toutant), 1818-1893
Beecher, Henry Ward, 1813-1887
Bidwell, John, 1819-1900
Bingham, John Armor, 1815-1900
Blaine, James Gillespie, 1830-1893
Blair, Frank P. (Frank Preston), 1821-1875
Blair, Montgomery, 1813-1883
Blow, Henry T. (Henry Taylor), 1817-1875
Booth, Edwin, 1833-1893
Botts, John Minor, 1802-1869
Boutwell, George S. (George Sewall), 1818-1905
Brooks, James, 1810-1873
Broomall, John M. (John Martin), 1816-1894
Brown, B. Gratz (Benjamin Gratz), 1826-1885
Browning, Orville Hickman, 1806-1881
Buckalew, Charles Rollin, 1821-1899
Buell, Don Carlos, 1818-1898
Bull, Ole, 1810-1880
Burnside, Ambrose Everett, 1824-1881
Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893
Butterfield, Daniel, 1831-1901
Cameron, Simon, 1799-1889
Carroll, Samuel Sprigg, 1832-1893
Casey, Silas, 1807-1882
Chandler, Zachariah, 1813-1879
Chase, Salmon P. (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873
Clark, Daniel, 1809-1891
Clarke, Freeman, 1809-1887
Clay, Brutus Junius, 1808-1878
Cochrane, John, 1813-1898
Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885
Collamer, Jacob, 1791-1865
Conkling, Roscoe, 1829-1888
Conness, John, 1821-1909
Couch, Darius Nash, 1822-1897
Cox, Samuel Sullivan, 1824-1889
Crawford, Samuel Wylie, 1829-1892
Creswell, John A. J. (John Angel James), 1828-1891
Curtin, Andrew Gregg, 1815-1894
Custer, George Armstrong, 1839-1876
Dahlgren, John Adolphus Bernard, 1809-1870
Davis, Garrett, 1801-1872
Davis, Henry Winter, 1817-1865
Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889
Dawes, Henry L. (Henry Laurens), 1816-1903
Deming, Henry Champion, 1815-1872
Dennison, William, 1815-1882
Dix, John A. (John Adams), 1798-1879
Doolittle, James R. (James Rood), 1815-1897
Eliot, Thomas D. (Thomas Dawes), 1808-1870
Farnsworth, J. F. (John Franklin), 1820-1897
Farragut, David Glasgow, 1801-1870
Fenton, Reuben E. (Reuben Eaton), 1819-1885
Fessenden, William Pitt, 1806-1869
Foot, Solomon, 1802-1866
Forney, John W. (John Wien), 1817-1881
Foster, Lafayette S. (Lafayette Sabine), 1806-1880
Franklin, W. B. (William Buel), 1823-1903
Fremont, John Charles, 1830-1890
Fry, James B. (James Barnet), 1827-1894
Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881
Geary, John White, 1819-1873
Gibbon, John, 1827-1896
Gillmore, Quincy Adams, 1825-1888
Gooch, Daniel W. (Daniel Wheelwright), 1820-1891
Gordon, John Brown, 1832-1904
Granger, Gordon, 1822-1876
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885
Griffin, Charles, 1825-1867
Grimes, James W. (James Wilson), 1816-1872
Grinnell, Josiah Bushnell, 1821-1891
Griswold, John A. (John Augustus), 1818-1872
Hale, John P. (John Parker), 1806-1873
Halleck, H. W. (Henry Wager), 1815-1872
Hamlin, Hannibal, 1809-1891
Hancock, Winfield Scott, 1824-1886
Harlan, James, 1820-1899
Heintzelman, Samuel Peter, 1805-1880
Henderson, John B. (John Brooks), 1826-1913
Hendricks, Thomas A. (Thomas Andrews), 1819-1885
Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878
Hitchcock, Ethan Allen, 1798-1870
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894
Holt, Joseph, 1807-1894
Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879
Hooper, Samuel, 1808-1875
Howard, O. O. (Oliver Otis), 1830-1909
Howard, William Alanson, 1813-1880
Howe, Timothy O. (Timothy Otis), 1816-1883
Humphreys, A. A. (Andrew Atkinson), 1810-1883
Hunter, David, 1802-1886
Ingalls, Rufus, 1818-1893
Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875
Johnson, Reverdy, 1796-1876
Johnston, Joseph E. (Joseph Eggleston), 1807-1891
Julian, George Washington, 1817-1899
Kasson, John A. (John Adam), 1822-1910
Kautz, August V. (Augustus Valentine), 1826-1896
Kelley, William D. (William Darrah), 1814-1890
Keyes, Erasmus D. (Erasmus Darwin), 1810-1895
Kilpatrick, Judson, 1836-1881
Lane, Henry Smith, 1811-1881
Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866
LeBlond, Francis Celeste, 1821-1902
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882
Longstreet, James, 1821-1904
Maynard, Horace, 1814-1882
McClellan, Ellen Marcy, 1838-1907
McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885
McCulloch, Hugh, 1808-1895
McDougall, J. A. (James Alexander), 1817-1867
Meade, George Gordon, 1815-1872
Meigs, Montgomery C. (Montgomery Cunningham), 1816-1892
Merritt, Wesley, 1834-1910
Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925
Moorhead, J. K. (James Kennedy), 1806-1884
Morgan, Edwin D. (Edwin Denison), 1811-1883
Morrill, Justin S. (Justin Smith), 1810-1898
Morrill, Lot M. (Lot Myrick), 1812-1883
Morton, Oliver P. (Oliver Perry), 1823-1877
Murdoch, James Edward, 1811-1893
Myers, Leonard, 1827-1905
Nye, James W. (James Warren), 1814-1876
Odell, Moses Fowler, 1818-1866
Oglesby, Richard J. (Richard James), 1824-1899
Ord, Edward Otho Cresap, 1818-1883
Parke, John Grubb, 1827-1900
Patterson, James W. (James Willis), 1823-1893
Pendleton, George H. (George Hunt), 1825-1889
Pleasonton, Alfred, 1824-1897
Pomeroy, Samuel Clarke, 1816-1891
Pomeroy, Theodore Medad, 1824-1905
Pope, John, 1822-1892
Porter, David D. (David Dixon), 1813-1891
Porter, Fitz-John, 1822-1901
Pruyn, John VanSchaick Lansing, 1811-1877
Ramsey, Alexander, 1815-1903
Randall, Alexander Williams, 1819-1872
Rosecrans, William S. (William Starke), 1819-1898
Rousseau, Lovell Harrison, 1818-1869
Saulsbury, Willard, 1820-1892
Schenck, Robert Cumming, 1809-1890
Schofield, John McAllister, 1831-1906
Schurz, Carl, 1829-1906
Scofield, Glenni W. (Glenni William), 1817-1891
Scott, Winfield, 1786-1866
Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872
Shellabarger, Samuel, 1817-1896
Sheridan, Philip Henry, 1831-1888
Sherman, John, 1823-1900
Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
Sickles, Daniel Edgar, 1825-1924
Sigel, Franz, 1824-1902
Slocum, Henry Warner, 1826-1894
Smith, Green Clay, 1826-1895
Smith, Joseph, 1790-1877
Spalding, Rufus P. (Rufus Paine), 1798-1886
Speed, James, 1812-1887
Spinner, Francis Elias, 1802-1890
Sprague, William, 1831-1915
Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869
Stebbins, Henry G. (Henry George), 1811-1881
Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, 1812-1883
Stevens, Thaddeus, 1792-1868
Stoneman, George, 1822-1894
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874
Terry, Alfred Howe, 1827-1890
Thomas, George Henry, 1816-1870
Trumbull, Lyman, 1813-1896
Usher, John Palmer, 1816-1889
Van Valkenburgh, R. B. (Robert Bruce), 1821-1888
Voorhees, Daniel W. (Daniel Wolsey), 1827-1897
Wade, B. F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1800-1878
Wadsworth, James S. (James Samuel), 1807-1864
Wallace, Lew, 1827-1905
Warren, Gouverneur Kemble, 1830-1882
Washburne, E. B. (Elihu Benjamin), 1816-1887
Webb, Alexander Stewart, 1835-1911
Welles, Gideon, 1802-1878
Wentworth, John, 1815-1888
Wilson, Henry, 1812-1875
Wilson, James F. (James Falconer), 1828-1895
Windom, William, 1827-1891
Wood, Fernando, 1812-1881
Worden, John Lorimer, 1818-1897
Wright, Horatio Gouverneur, 1820-1899
Yates, Richard, 1815-1873


Civil War Photograph Album, ca. 1861-65, James Wadsworth Family Papers  Civil War Photograph Album, ca. 1861-65, James Wadsworth Family Papers  Civil War Photograph Album, ca. 1861-65, James Wadsworth Family Papers

Civil War Photograph Album, ca. 1861-65, James Wadsworth Family Papers

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