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Prints and Photographs Division



Graphic Journalism and Illustration
Photojournalism Collections
Documentary Surveys
arrow graphicCivil War Photographs
Regional Architectural Surveys
Edward S. Curtis
Advertising and Propaganda
Pictures: Business and Art
Design Collections
Organizations' Records
Personal Papers



Civil War Photographs
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Camp of 31st Pennsylvania Infantry near Washington, D.C. Mathew Brady Studio. 1862, printed later. Prints and Photographs Division.

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The Civil War Photographs Collection (7,000 photographs, 1861-65) does not provide much coverage of women's involvement in this national conflict. But the inclusion of women in scenes of military camp life, in hospitals, and in a few images showing African American families fleeing northward does provide visual clues suggesting the profound ways in which the war affected women's lives and vice versa.

Photographs in this collection are often associated with the name of Mathew Brady, although Brady really acted more as an entrepreneur, planning the documentation effort, commissioning other photographers to make the images, and attempting to market the resulting photographic record to the American public.

For further information on the Civil War Photographs Collection, consult the “About the Collection” information in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog ( For rights information pertaining to the Civil War Photographs Collection, see

Searching the Collection

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View in the “Burnt District,” Richmond, Va., showing two women dressed in black approaching shell of four-story building, gutted by fire. 1865 April. Prints and Photographs Division.
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A growing proportion of the collection can be searched in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, where the collection has its own listing. Digital images accompany most records.

A smaller proportion of images also displays in the American Memory collection Selected Civil War Photographs.

For images not found online, onsite researchers can:

  • consult a reading room file, where the photographs have been grouped by broad subject into LOTs
  • consult the Divisional Catalog to locate LOT numbers by a variety of subject terms

Go to the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

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