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[Unidentified cadet in Virginia Military Institute uniform]


[Unidentified cadet in Virginia Military Institute uniform]



Case: Rinhart, no. 138 (reverse image).
Gift; Tom Liljenquist; 2012; (DLC/PP-2012:127).
More information about this collection is available at
Purchased from: Bill Turner, La Plata, Maryland, 2012.
Forms part of: Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs (Library of Congress).
Forms part of: Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress).

The daguerreotype is a photographic process invented by the Parisian inventor and entrepreneur Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) who was the first person to publicly announce a successful method of capturing images. His invention was an immediate hit, and France was soon gripped by ‘daguerreotypomania’. Daguerre released his formula and anyone was free to use it without paying a license fee – except in Britain, where he had secured a patent. Daguerreotypes required a subject to remain still for several minutes to ensure that the image would not blur.

More than 2,500 special portrait photographs, called ambrotypes and tintypes, and small card photos called cartes de visite represent both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Tom Liljenquist and his sons Jason, Brandon, and Christian built this collection in memory of President Abraham Lincoln and the estimated 620,000-850,000 Union and Confederate servicemen who died in the American Civil War. For many, these photographs are the last known record we have of who they were and what they looked like. See "From the Donor's Perspective--The Last Full Measure" for the full story. The Liljenquist Family began donating their collection to the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division in 2010, and continues to add to it. In addition to the ambrotypes and tintypes, the collection also includes several manuscripts, patriotic envelopes, photographs on paper, and artifacts related to the Civil War. The portraits often show weapons, hats, canteens, musical instruments, painted backdrops, and other details that enhance the research value of the collection. Other photo topics include flags, city views, veterans, and ships. Among the rarest images are sailors, African Americans in uniform, Lincoln campaign buttons, and portraits of soldiers with their families and friends. LOC Prints & Photographs Division holds thousands of images relating to the Civil War, found in many different collections.





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