Civil War Photography

I just completed a class on Civil War Photography for the SAIL program at Collin College.

The first class presented the following topics:

  • In 1837 the first successful photographs was created by the daguerreotype process
  • The technology of wet plate photography used the reaction of silver oxides
  • Photographers took over a million ambrotypes (glass) and tintypes (metal)
  • The carte de visite (cdv) process used a glass, wet-plate negative that allowed for unlimited copies to be made on albumen paper
  • Stereographs were 3-D photographs taken with a twin-lens camera
  • Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy O’Sullivan were the most famous Civil War photographers

Please see Civil War Photography – Class One (pdf)

In the second class, we examined the range of topics and subjects photographed from soldiers to presidents. We also viewed 3-D photographs.



The following links feature images from the Civil War.

Please see Civil War Photography – Class Two (pdf)

About Allen Mesch

Allen is an author, educator, and historian. He has written six books: The Analyst; Teacher of Civil War Generals; Your Affectionate Father, Charles F. Smith; Charles A. Marvin - "One Year. Six Months, and Eleven Days", Preparing for Disunion, and Ebenezer Allen - Statesman, Entrepreneur, and Spy. He taught classes on the American Civil War at Collin College. He has visited more than 130 Civil War sites and given presentations at Civil War Roundtables.
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