The Library of Congress (LOC) begin collecting the original negatives for the stereoviews in the 1940’s and continued collecting them for the next 20 years. During this period they collected thousands of images. Both 2D and 3D material as well as prints, engravings, sketches, water colors, etc. where collected. In addition to the glass negatives of the stereoviews many of the original cards where collected. A search of the digital archive’s in the Civil War section displays a total of 2,112 images. Of these, 2,037 are from glass plates. Not all of these glass plates remained intact. Since a single plate consisted of two negatives (for the left and right stereoview) many of these were cut in half and printed as 2D images. In some cases one half of the original stereoview was lost and what is left is a 2D image only. Of the 2,037 glass plate negatives more than 1,900 have both sides. We have included here a list of those images (plus a select few of the half negatives).
All images in the “Cards” area have been fully restored. Images in the Library Of Congress section are in the original condition that we received them in.
While you are looking at the Library of Congress collection you will notice that some are in such good condition that you will be surprised that they are nearly 150 years old. Most are in fair condition and require some degree of restoration and the rest are in such poor condition it is unlikely that they can be returned to a printable state. We have included all of them, the good and the bad. We wish to be complete in our list.
The images here are organized primarily by location and then by subject matter. For example, if you look for Virginia you will find a list of more than 1,100 images. These are then organized by city. A look at the city of Richmond displays images in categories such as ruins, soldiers, camp, fortifications, etc. Within these listings you will find a slide show that will allow you to see your selected image at an 1024 x 1024 resolution. This may be a single image (from the left side) or, if the negative had not been cut a pair of images. Note in the case of the paired images the image on the right will become the left image in the final print, this is due to the type of photography equipment in use at the time.
Some of the images are organized by theme. For example, while many of the Navy pictures indicated the city or location the image was taken, it did not seem logical that someone interested in these pictures would know to look there. Likewise, images that identified a specific individual by name are grouped in the People section.
Finally there is a collection entitled: Half. These images only one of the two sides exist. At some point we may attempt to restore them to 3D using simulation software. For now, they are a view of stereoviews that have been lost. If there is a particular item you are interested in, each image has an image number near the description area. Send us that number and we can let you know what the plans are for restoration.