Civil War Research at the Minnesota Historical Society
Photographs, Other Images, and Three-Dimensional Objects
Our holdings include copies of original prints made by Eastern studios such as Brady and by local photographers, most notably the Whitney Gallery.
You can find these images through the Visual Resources Database.
The Whitney Collection (Reserve Album 37) contains studio portraits in the style known as "carte-de-visite": small portraits, usually 4 x 2 1/2 inches, popular in the middle of the 19th century as calling cards and souvenirs. This collection includes images of many Minnesota soldiers made at the Whitney Gallery in St. Paul. Its inventory is arranged by regiment, company, and name of individual. You can find duplicates of these images in the portrait collection via the portrait catalog under the name of the individual.
The Visual Reousrces Database also includes images of prominent figures of the period:
- President Abraham Lincoln
- General Ulysses S. Grant
- General William Tecumseh Sherman
- General Philip Sheridan
- Alexander Ramsey, Henry Sibley, Ignatius Donnelly and other Minnesotans
The Society's Fine Arts Collection contains other Civil War images as well as graphic depictions of the Dakota Conflict. The paintings of Minnesota regiments that hang in the State Capitol and some of the other images are available as poster reproductions. Others are available as copy photographic prints, slides, or color transparencies.
A search of the library catalog will turn up many of the three-dimensional objects in the Museum Collections Department. For example, if you search for the name William Watts Folwell, you will find a listing of his personal papers (see Manuscripts section) and also descriptions of parts of his service uniform and field equipment.
To see Museum Collections objects, contact the department at (651) 296-8071. The staff can provide information on items that do not appear in the library catalog.
Don't hesitate to ask the reference staff for help. If you have in-depth questions about our Civil War collections, contact our specialist, Hampton Smith, at:
phone: (651) 297-7435