The full text of this article is available to Plus members only.
For full access to all of our articles, please Join or Log In.
Not a Plus Member?
Photo Detective: The Unknown Soldier
2/18/2011
Men flocked to studios -- makeshift or established -- to pose in their new uniforms or before a major battle, then proudly sent the images home to relatives anxious for news.
The Civil War did more than divide a nation -- it made photographs an integral part of our ancestors' lives. William Darrah's Cartes de Visite in Nineteenth-Century Photography (self-published) claims every Civil War soldier had at least one portrait taken -- an exaggeration, perhaps, but photography did become a craze. Thousands of photographers sought customers in hometowns and encampments. Men flocked to studios -- makeshift or established -- to pose in their new uniforms or before a major battle, then proudly sent the images home to relatives anxious for news. Today, some of these portraits are cherished in family collections.

Ambrotypes, paper photographs and tintypes were the images of choice during the war. The picture here is an ambrotype, which is a piece of glass coated with photo chemicals that created a "negative" image, then backed with a darker material to make it appear "positive."

Ambrotypes (and some tintypes) often were placed in velvet-lined cases with the image, a mat, a glass covering and a strip of brass that held it all together.

To continue reading this article
Share |
BOOKMARK PRINT
Did you enjoy this article?
Please share it!
Recent Blog Posts »
Recent Articles »

Free Genealogy Downloads


Deciphering Old Documents and Handwriting Premium Collection

Learn how to decode handwritten documents you once found unreadable, and magnify old cursive and print with your own Magnabrite.
 
Only available in Nov., this collection has a retail value of $126.92, but is yours this month only for $49.99!

 

©  F+W All rights reserved.