Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Relics of Andersonville Prison

Photography Studio:
Brady & Co. (American, active 1840s–1880s)
Date:
June 1866
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image:22.1 x 18.9cm (8 11/16 x 7 7/16in.) Mount: 13 9/16 × 10 9/16 in. (34.5 × 26.9 cm)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Joseph M. Cohen Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.98
Not on view
Clara Barton, the first president of the American Red Cross, began her philanthropic career by distributing supplies for the relief of wounded soldiers during the Civil War. At its close, she organized the first bureau of records in Washington, D.C., to aid in the search for missing men. In connection with this work, Barton identified and marked the graves of more than 12,000 soldiers in the National Cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia. The site of the most notorious Confederate prison, Andersonville was one of the most deadly places in the war. Of the more than 40,000 Union soldiers imprisoned, 13,000 died of starvation and disease-a ratio of one in three.

To support her effort for proper burial of the Andersonville dead, and to raise money for veteran relief in general, Barton displayed and sold souvenirs of Andersonville. As early as 1866, the year this photograph was copyrighted by Brady, Barton discovered that veterans had already begun to collect relics of the war. Carefully identified by descriptive labels and placed on a crudely built stepped display, the artifacts are a heinous spectacle, a brutal tableau composed for the camera to attract alms from survivors. The largest item for sale was a portion of the infamous Dead Line, a wooden fence that prisoners were prohibited from crossing on pain of death.
Inscription: Printed on mount recto BC: "M.B. Brady & Co. Entered according to Act of Congress by M.B. Brady & Co., in the year 1866, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court // for the District of Columbia Washington, D.C."
[Rinhart Galleries]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, November 18, 1982

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 41a".

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 41b," October 3, 2005–January 8, 2006.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.

Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Police Pictures: The Photograph as Evidence," October 1, 1997–January 31, 1998.

Grey Art Gallery, New York University. "Police Pictures: The Photograph as Evidence," May 19, 1998–July 18, 1998.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," April 2, 2013–September 2, 2013.

Gibbes Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," September 27, 2013–January 5, 2014.

New Orleans Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," January 31, 2014–May 4, 2014.

Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. pl. 107.

Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 109.



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