United States Civil War Portrait Album

The struggle between North and South was followed with great interest at home and abroad. Portraits of the leading players helped those far from the action imagine the individuals they read about in newspapers. This album was kept by Karl Schenk, who became president of Switzerland in 1865. It contains small portraits known as cartes-de-visite because they were about the size of calling cards people presented at the door when visiting fashionable residences. Introduced in the late 1850s, when a process was devised for making multiple prints from a single glass negative, they functioned mainly as collectables to be preserved in albums.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
leather (overall material)
purple (overall color)
open: 11 7/8 in x 17 5/8 in x 1 13/32 in; 30.1625 cm x 44.7675 cm x 3.556 cm
closed: 11 7/8 in x 8 3/4 in x 1 1/2 in; 30.1625 cm x 22.225 cm x 3.81 cm
place assembled
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Civil War
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Civil War
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.