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April 26, 2018

The Brady Civil War Photos, Fold3, and the Indiana Room

The Brady Civil War Photos, Fold3, and the Indiana Room

By: Justin Davis

In addition to the United States Civil War profoundly impacting the development of the country, it was also one of the first conflicts that made good use of photojournalism to capture the historical importance of it.

Matthew Brady was a New York photographer during this time who spent his early years studying an early form of photography known as daguerreotype. When the Civil War broke out, he quickly began using his talents to organize an initiative to capture critical parts of the war by hiring photographers to follow the solders so that later generations could see what the conflict was like. By the end of the war, Brady fell into serious debt and sold the photo collection to the US Government for $25,000 dollars, just enough to pay off his bills. However, because of this, these priceless photos are archived at the Library of Congress and are available for researchers to use so that they can learn more about this transformative conflict.

That brings us to day. The Indiana Room of the Hamilton East Public Library offers patrons access to the Fold3 database, which not only contains the original photos, but restored versions alongside them with notations on the names of individuals who appear in them. It is a veritable treasure chest of valuable historic information that can help the viewer learn more about the civil war, those that fought in it, and the power photography has in preserving moments of historic importance.

You can visit Fold3 here.

From there, go to Browse then Civil War, and then click on Brady Civil War photos.