|Dates||1857-2006, bulk 1861-1865|
|Size||11 linear feet, 27 oversize folders, 44 framed items|
|Repository||Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605|
|Provenance||These materials are gathered together because they are all related to the American Civil War. They were acquired through a variety of means over the years. Those items with accession numbers beginning with “72” were originally part of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Collection. The items with accession numbers beginning with a number other than “72” were either donated to or purchased by Chicago Public Library.|
|Citation||When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: American Civil War Photographs and Images and Grand Army of the Republic Photographs and Images, [Accession #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library|
|Processed by||Johanna Russ, December 2017. Some preliminary processing done by Amber Creger, 2005, and Special Collections staff.|
Near the end of 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. Within a few months, ten more states had seceded. The American Civil War officially began April 12, 1861, at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Illinois participated on the Union side by sending hundreds of thousands of troops into battle. Many military and political leaders trace their roots to Illinois. The war lasted nearly four years, ending on April 9, 1865, when the Confederacy surrendered. A few days later, on April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
Not long after the war ended, veterans began forming organizations. One of the longest-lasting was the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), begun in April 1866 in Decatur, Illinois. Posts were established in different places, grouped under state-level departments, in turn grouped under a national commandery-in-chief. The GAR disbanded in 1956 when the last veteran died.
In Chicago, the GAR Memorial Hall Association shared space with Chicago Public Library (CPL). In 1883, the Library Board chose the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street as the location for its future building. At the time, the site was vacant and known as Dearborn Park, named for its proximity to the site of Fort Dearborn. Because of this proximity, many people believed the land was reserved for the GAR. Ultimately, legal action determined the library could have the land, but it had to make room for the GAR, which wanted a memorial hall for its members. CPL gave the GAR extensive rooms and signed a fifty year lease that expired in 1947. At that time, the Library took over caring for the GAR’s significant collection of art, artifacts, papers, weapons and more. With the GAR’s material as a base, the library has continued to build its Civil War collection over the years, with a focus on the Illinois experience.
Scope and Content
Images in this collection predominantly relate to the American Civil War—its battles, rank and file soldiers, leaders, veterans, politics and symbolism. A large portion of this material focuses on soldiers and leaders from Illinois, with a wider focus on soldiers from the American Midwest. Many formats are represented, from early photographic formats like tintypes to postcards to oil paintings. For more information on the printing process of an item, please contact Special Collections.
The collection is arranged in five series: Individuals; Two or more individuals; Commemoration; Scenes of active duty; and Illustrated documents and symbolic or political art. Please see the index at the end of the guide for assistance in finding people and subjects.
Series 1: Individuals
This series features images of individual people, often soldiers or military and political leaders. One of the most prevalent formats in this series is the photographic carte-de-visite, which was somewhat like a Victorian trading card. The series is arranged alphabetically by last name of individual and then by accession number. Unidentified people are listed at the end, numerically by accession number.
Accession numbers 72.988.3.1-72.988.3.60 are found or were originally found in the 77th Illinois Infantry photograph album. It is possible this album belonged to Milgrove Parmenter (seen in photo 72.988.3.14). The 77th was formed with men living in and around Peoria, Illinois, in 1862 under the command of David Grier. The 77th fought at Vicksburg, New Orleans and other areas in the Gulf region. They mustered out in July 1865 in Mobile, Alabama.
Accession numbers 72.986.1-72.986.50 are found in the Officers of the 11th Illinois photograph album. The 11th was organized in 1861 in Cairo, Illinois, under the command of W.H.L. Wallace. The unit fought at Fort Donelson and Shiloh in Tennessee and Vicksburg in Mississippi. The men mustered out in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1865.
Accession numbers 72.915.1-72.915.24 are found in an unnamed album with unknown provenance. The images in this album are mostly of Civil War leaders. Those photographs of rank and file soldiers most often depict men from Massachusetts regiments.
Items with accession numbers beginning with 80.1-80.34, along with 89.11.42 and 89.11.45, belonged to Captain Israel Parsons (I.P.) Rumsey, one of the original officers of Company B of the 1st Illinois Light Infantry, called Taylor’s Battery because it was organized by Captain Ezra Taylor. Rumsey was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and later lived in Lake Forest, Illinois. Company B mustered in on July 21, 1861 and fought in sixteen battles including Shiloh, Vicksburg and Atlanta. The photographs in this series that depict groups of soldiers were taken in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1862. See also Reunions of Taylor’s Battery, 18th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Donelson, February 14, 1880; 25th Anniversary of the Battle of Belmont, November 6, 1886 (call number: E505.8 1st B.U55 1890).
Series 2: Two or more individuals
This series features groups of people or pages from albums with multiple individual portraits on one page. Items in this series are arranged numerically by accession number. Please refer to the index for assistance in finding individuals.
First appearing in this series are images from two formally arranged and published albums: The Army of the Cumberland Album and Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign. Images from these albums appear in subsequent series as well.
It is possible that the Army of the Cumberland Album (accession numbers 72.438.1-72.438.38) belonged to Albert Dickinson, a soldier in Taylor’s Battery who survived the war and went on to become a prominent businessman in Chicago. The album includes 38 pages of photographs that feature scenes from the unit’s time in Southeast Tennessee, around Chattanooga, and Northern Alabama. Images depict members of the unit’s leadership and medical staff, as well as scenes of camp and scenes from the unit’s marching between camps.
Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign features the photography of George N. Barnard who took pictures in the field as Official Photographer of the Military Division of the Mississippi. 61 images were published by the Press of Wynkoop & Hallenbeck, New York, in 1866. The full title explains the contents: Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, Embracing Scenes of the Occupation of Nashville, the Great Battles around Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, the Campaign of Atlanta, March to the Sea, and the Great Raid through the Carolinas. A digitized version can be found on Chicago Public Library’s website.
Series 3: Commemoration
This series contains images of people, places, events and monuments that commemorate people and events related to the American Civil War. It is further subdivided into four subseries: Subseries A: Buildings and Interior Spaces; Subseries B: Funerals; Subseries C: Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and veteran groups; Subseries D: Monuments, historic markers and statues to battles, leaders and military units. Within each subseries, items are arranged numerically by accession number.
Subseries A: Buildings and Interior Spaces
Of note are images of buildings in which Abraham Lincoln or his family lived and died.
Subseries B: Funerals
This subseries highlights funerals and mourning rituals for Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and William McKinley.
Subseries C: Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and veteran groups
Includes images from an Iron Brigade reunion at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Subseries D: Monuments, historic markers and statues to battles, leaders and military units
Includes images of statues of Abraham Lincoln and of monuments to various regiments at battlefield sites such as Shiloh, Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge and Gettysburg.
Series 4: Scenes of active duty
This series features photographs taken contemporaneously during the Civil War, or images created later but depicting events during the Civil War. The items are further subdivided into seven subseries: Subseries A: Battlefields; Subseries B: Bridges; Subseries C: Camp; Subseries D: Marching; Subseries E: Scenes in Northern States; Subseries F: Prisons; Subseries G: Ships and steam engines. Within each subseries, images are arranged numerically by accession number.
Subseries A: Battlefields
Includes scenes from various battlefields around the country such as Shiloh, Atlanta, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Gettysburg and sites in Maryland and Virginia. Please refer to the index for assistance in locating specific sites.
Subseries B: Bridges
Highlights the construction, destruction and defense of bridges and railroad bridges.
Subseries C: Camp
Includes images of soldiers and officers in camp.
Subseries D: Marching
Features images of scenery and cities seen while troops were moving between camps and battle sites.
Subseries E: Scenes in Northern States
This small series includes images, primarily from Illinois and New York set between 1860 and 1865.
Subseries F: Prisons
Includes images of Andersonville, Libby and other Civil War prisons, both Union and Confederate.
Subseries G: Ships and steam engines
Features images of naval ships and one railroad engine.
Series 5: Illustrated documents and symbolic or political art
This series includes illustrated documents such as famous speeches or rosters of particular military units, as well as symbolic and political artwork. One subseries is separated, Subseries A: Adalbert J. Volck. Images are arranged numerically by accession number.
Visit each of our teachers’ web sites to see what is happening in our classrooms. This is a great resource for the students’ homework. Communication to our teachers can be done via email through their web sites.
Mrs. Flanagan sites.google.com/site/mflanaganses/
Mrs. Sue Malone - Aide
Mrs. Gina Facciolo http://mrsfacciolok.weebly.com
Mrs. Lorrie Strange kindergartenmrsstrange.weebly.com/
Miss Desiree McDevitt sites.google.com/site/missmcdevittroom1/
Aides: Ms. Eileen Laich (Tues/Thurs)
Mrs. Kelly Beck (Mon/Wed/Fri)
Mrs. Joyce McDonaldsites.google.com/site/mrsmcdonald1a/home/homework
Mrs. Margaret Convery mrsconvery2a.weebly.com/
Miss. Colleen Matkowski http://3asaintephrem.weebly.com
Ms. Lyndsay Dotzman http://3bhomeworksite.weebly.com/
Mrs. Joanne Marx https://sites.google.com/saintephremschool.com/stephremschoolmrsmarxgrade4
Mrs. MaryAnn Lasky sites.google.com/a/saintephremschool.com/mrs-lasky-4th-grade
Mrs. Agnes Seitz sites.google.com/site/mrsseitzsfifthgrade/
Mrs. Jane Gindele https://sites.google.com/site/stephremschoolrm5a
Mrs. Nicole Duda sites.google.com/saintephremschool.com/mrsdudaclassroom/home
Mrs. Mary Battson mrsbattson6a.weebly.com/
Sister Amanda Russell, IHM sites.google.com/a/saintephremschool.com/sr-amanda-s-homework-site/
Mr. Michael Hughes sites.google.com/site/mrhughesclass7a/
Mrs. Elizabeth Needham sites.google.com/site/mrsneedhamselaclass/
Mrs. Shea Andress https://sites.google.com/a/saintephremschool.com/ms-andress-8a/
Science 6-8: Mrs. Cherie Scholl sites.google.com/site/schollscience/home
Spanish: Ms. Maricel Martinez https://sites.google.com/saintephremschool.com/saintephremschoolworldlanguage/home
Phys. Ed: Mrs. Doreen Corlies www.physedses.weebly.com/
Library: Mrs. Kerri Schiavo sites.google.com/a/saintephremschool.com/stelibrary/home
Computer: Mrs. Jeanne Brousseau https://goo.gl/AC6uX1
Music: Mrs. Mary Ann Schauder http://maryannschaudermusic.weebly.com
Tutoring: Sister Dorothy Thomas
Catapult: Math -Dee Capella - firstname.lastname@example.org
215-394-0600 ext: 9469
Reading - Beth Bedard- email@example.com
215-394-0600 ext: 946
Counselor: Mrs. Jennifer Reid, NC
Psychologist: Mrs. Goldman
Speech: Mrs. Godshalk