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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Our Heaven Born Banner: 1861

Our Heaven Born Banner: 1861

1861. "A pro-Union patriotic print based on Frederic Edwin Church's oil painting 'Our Banner in the Sky,' which in turn was inspired by the highly publicized Confederate insult to the flag at Fort Sumter in April 1861 and by a sermon by Henry Ward Beecher published shortly thereafter. The print shows a lone Zouave sentry watching from a promontory as the dawn breaks, his rifle and bayonet forming the staff of an American flag formed by the sky's light. In the distance is a fort, probably Sumter." Lithograph by Sarony, Major & Knapp. View full size.

 

Colors

It's lovely to see an image from 1861 using color so vividly. Usually when we think of Civil War era imagery, it's black and white, whether daguerreotypes or grim photos of the battlefield. At first glance I thought this might have been 20th century illustration, something from Collier's or the Saturday Evening Post. Of course color illustration existed in 1861; this just reminds me of what a long tradition early 20th century magazine illustration had.

Love how the stars are in the distant sky, we see them through the stripes.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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