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Items from the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Collection make frequent appearances on this blog; the wonders of the internet mean that millions of photographs and other reproductions are available for viewing anywhere and anytime. It’s a great resource and an amazing way to lose an hour or three, so when better to mention it to you than over a holiday weekend?

Unidentified soldier of the 12th Illinois Volunteers, "The First Scotch Regiment" in greatcoat and tamoshanter cap (Library of Congress)

If you missed the media blitz earlier this year, take some time to check out the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs. The family donated their collection of Civil War images, mostly of soldiers, to the library in 2010. An exhibition in 2011 made the images available to a wider audience. The Liljenquists continue to add to the collection, and the library in turn adds to the digital images available.

Third Lieutenant John Alphonso Beall of Company D, 14th Texas Cavalry Regiment, with Spencer carbine (Library of Congress)

The main page for the collection gets you started and includes several different paths to viewing the images (including the entire collection and just the most recent additions). There’s a lovely piece by one of the Liljenquist sons, Brandon, about the origins of the collection and the decision to donate it to the Library of Congress.

Unidentified African American soldier in Union uniform (Library of Congress)

We’re about one year into the four-year span of the Civil War’s sesquicentennial. Whether you’re already weary of commemorations or just getting revved up to learn more, take a few moments to peruse the faces of the men who made up the armies. These (often very young) men also made the effort to create a keepsake for family and friends still at home, but despite that effort, many of them remain nameless today. If you recognize anyone or can provide a clue about photographers or settings, the Library of Congress would appreciate your help. We’d love to hear what you think about the collection in the comments!

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