Washington DC Antique Photo Show

Maryland's Civil War Photographs cover

Over the weekend I went to the DC Antique Photo Show. Some awesome images were on display, and some equally awesome prices were associated with them. One vendor had some stereoviews of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania after the burning by McCausland’s troops in 1864. They ranged from $325-$450 apiece – these may well have been fair prices, but they’re not something you’d buy casually, nor would you just buy one of them unless you had a hole in your collection to fill. There was a really striking F.A. Rinehart portrait of a Native American brave that was unmarked so I didn’t even ask. A whole-plate daguerreotype by Mathew Brady was $3000, which was actually a relatively fair price for what it was, considering the condition (case was good, but the image was very degraded). So I ended up with a book- “Maryland’s Civil War Photographs – the Sesquicentennial Collection” by Ross Kelbaugh. I got the limited edition hardcover (#130 of 250) which Mr. Kelbaugh signed with a lovely dedication-

To Scott-
In appreciation for your interest in Maryland’s photographic legacy!
Ross Kelbaugh

The book is published by the Maryland Historical Society and presents an outstanding overview of life in Maryland before, during and after the war. Notable inclusions are numerous photographs of african-americans, both free and enslaved (according to the 1860 US Census, there were roughly equal numbers of free and enslaved blacks living in Maryland – 85,000 free and 87,000 enslaved). Military participants in the war are copiously documented, on both sides of the Union/Confederate divide, as is to be expected in a volume of this nature, but also worth noting are the views of civilian life. While some images, particularly the Gardner/Brady photos of battles such as Antietam, may be familiar, most of the photographs reproduced here are rare. It makes an outstanding volume for any Maryland history buff, Civil War fan, or antique image collector as a first-rate reference tome.

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