Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War

George Eastman House Collection
On display: April 10 – August 2, 2015
Opening reception: April 10, 2015

The American Civil War divided a country and created a nation. It was the first modern war and the most detrimental for Americans, yielding more American fatalities and greater domestic suffering than any other war. Yet it paved the way to a new political, economic and social landscape for the United States.

As we recognize the sesquicentennial of “Mr. Lincoln’s War”, Between the States: Photographs of the Ameri­can Civil War presents a selection of historical facsimile photographs of Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner. The exhibition emphasizes rare items in the George Eastman House collection and explores how photography was used during this period to record the war, promote popular causes, and commemorate those who sacrificed their lives. Between the States was curated by Jamie Allen, Eastman House’s assistant curator of photographs.

Alexander Gardner (American, 1821-1882). HOME OF A REBEL SHARPSHOOTER, GETTYSBURG from Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War, Vol. I, 1866. July, 1863. Albumen print. George Eastman House. Purchased from Philip Jay Medicus.

Wood & Gibson (American). INSPECTION OF TROOPS AT CUMBERLANDING, PAMUNKEY, VIRGINIA from Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War, vol. II, 1866, May, 1862. George Eastman House.

Wood & Gibson (American). BATTERY NO. 4, NEAR YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA from Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War, vol. I, 1866, May, 1862. George Eastman House.

Gardner & Gibson (American). VIEW ON THE BATTLEFIELD OF ANTIETAM, 1862. Albumen print. George Eastman House. Gift of H. C. Randolph.

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, 1840 -1882). PONTOON BRIDGE ACROSS THE RAPPAHANNOCK from Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War, vol. II, 1866, May, 1863. George Eastman House. Gift of Mrs. Alden Scott Boyer.

Between the States includes portraits of such Civil War era figures as Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Sojourner Truth, Tom Thumb, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. The collection also abounds with portraits of soldiers, many of whom remain unidentified, but whose images remind us of the endless number of soldiers who served during this war. Other photographs feature infamous prisons, sweeping battlefields, fortress interiors, and post-Civil War memorial sites. 

Pictured Above: Unidentified Artist. THE APOTHEOSIS OF LINCOLN, ca. 1870. Albumen print (carte-de-visite). George Eastman House. Gift of Ruth L. Works.

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