Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Copying Maps, Photographic Headquarters, Petersburg, Virginia

Attributed to Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)
March 1865
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 19 x 24.6 cm (7 1/2 x 9 11/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
Alexander Gardner, George N. Barnard, and numerous other Civil War photographers duplicated maps and important military documents using a copy camera set up like the one shown in this view. Leaning against the log cabin are a pair of contact printing frames tilted toward the sun. For large and small campaigns and even minor exploratory forages, officers in the North and the South needed accurate regional maps, which were in short supply at war’s start. Since hand-tracing or engraving existing maps proved too time consuming, army topographic engineers hired photographers to copy and print maps and other important documents in the field.
Inscription: Stamped in blue ink on verso: "B. & CO."
(sold, Christie's East, Lot 34, November 6, 1984); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

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.

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