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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Young Custer: 1865

Young Custer: 1865

"Major General George Armstrong Custer, officer of the Federal Army" circa 1865. Wet plate glass negative, studio of Mathew Brady. View full size.

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G. A. Custer...

My grandmother told us stories of her grandmother and great-aunts having known him socially in his Michigan years. They said he was pompous, that he "fancied himself a bit too much" and they didn't like him. We have two interesting photographs of him before his war years in a very old photo and autograph album, and his expression seems to back up what my grandmother was told.

Custer Impersonator

To my eyes, Custer is one of those people like Lincoln, Hitler, and Elvis, whose appearance is so distinctive and so often parodied, that whenever I see a picture of the real thing I tend to react to it the same way I would if it was an impersonator.

Print some facts about this

Print some facts about this guy already. He's not a hero of any discription description, was humiliated more than once and seems to have been reckless beyond reason.

[Hm. Someone at Toronto City Hall seems to have a Custer fetish. - Dave]

G&S & G.A.C.

He is the very model of a modern major general.

Custer's Hair

I'm not sure to Plains Indians that a blond vs. a strawberry blond/light red head wouldn't both yield a nickname that we might translate as "yellow hair." The freckles sure point towards a possible redhead. I will see if I can scan through some biographies. Thanks.


Custer was very much a blonde. He was of German heritage although by this time the family had been in American for about 200 years. During his western campaigns against the Cheyenne and the Sioux, they called him "Yellow Hair" and "Son of the Morning Star." Of course later photos don't show any sign of this sort of freckling so presumably those photos had been retouched.


Was good George a redhead, or a strawberry blonde. Must have been tough having skin that sensitive and then having an outdoor career.

Four Good Years

Custer's Civil War career is one of the most amazing of just about any officer on either side of the war. Graduated last in his West Point class in 1861 and four years later he was a Major General. In this picture he is at most 25 years old.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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