Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of War, Volume 1

Volume I and Volume II of Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War was published in 1866. Each album contains fifty photographs of different scenes of the Civil War and is accompanied by text written by Gardner. These are rare books, each produced by hand. Just a few sets were sold as they were very costly to produce and, after the Civil War, many Americans were looking forward, trying to move on from the death and destruction of the war.
Alexander Gardner was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1821. Before coming to America in 1856, he was trained as a jeweler and a chemist, but was more interested in the fairly new invention of photography. After immigrating to New York, he worked for Mathew Brady in his photographic studios in New York and Washington, D.C. After disagreeing with Brady over the photographer's rights to receive credit for their pictures, he left that studio in and started his own business in 1862 in Washington, DC, where his most famous subject was Abraham Lincoln. Gardner not only took the last posed photograph of Lincoln in February of 1865, but also photographs of his funeral and the hanging of the conspirators in his assassination. Besides Lincoln, Gardener also took pictures of Supreme Court Justices, visiting delegates, and other government figures.
During the Civil War, Gardner became a photographer for the Army of the Potomac. He took pictures of not only non-battle scenes, such as military camps, but also the immediate aftermath of battles. He later combined his photographs of the war with those of his staff photographers, and wrote the two-volume book, Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, for which he became most famous. Gardner died in 1882 in Washington, D.C.
Currently not on view
Object Name
photographs, album
date made
Gardner, Alexander
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Gardner's Sketchbook
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
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.