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Military Images

Magazine on a Mission

You may have noticed content from our magazine in other Civil War publications. For example, The Civil War Monitor publishes an occasional series, Faces of War, based on images that have appeared in MI. The magazine of the Civil War Trust, Hallowed Ground, also includes an MI feature.

What is the sharing is all about? Aside from the obvious promotional efforts, there is a more substantial reason that is at the heart and soul of our magazine.

The reason is our mission—to showcase, interpret and preserve Civil War portrait photography. These unusual images are a relatively new to our eyes. For a century after the end of the war, the vast majority were hidden away in albums in attics and basements. A small number were published by veterans during their lifetimes in books and magazines—but they were relatively few compared to the overall number in existence.

Beginning the late 1950s and the 1960s, following Bruce Catton’s popular histories of the war, the centennial and the passing of the last living veterans, these singular portraits began to show up at flea markets, antique shops and other sales.

Today, they are highly collectible. And we’ve made it our mission to document as many as possible. We’ve been at this since 1979.

So, the next time you see a portrait of a Union or Confederate soldiers, remember them and their service. And also think about what MI is doing to keep their faces and stories alive.

Thank you!

Civil War Trust Interview

coddington-cavalrymen-350Ina Dixon of the Civil War Trust contacted me a couple weeks ago, and asked me to share my perspectives about Military Images magazine and its role in historic photography. An excerpt:

Over time, I’ve come to understand and appreciate that these rare soldier portraits humanize the terrible conflict that raged on our soil during the four bloodiest and most violent years in our nation’s history. When I see these photos, which were personal, intimate objects shared with family, friends and comrades at a time of war, I am reminded of these soldiers’ courage, and my own responsibilities as an American and a world citizen.

It is only in the last few decades, beginning with the centennial of the war in the 1960s, that these old photographic portraits have begun to move from the realm of vernacular photography to become part of the nation’s visual record. Harry Roach, who founded MI in 1979, was in the forefront of those who realized the growing importance of these photographs.

Read the full interview.

I am thrilled to have had the opportunity, and deeply grateful to Ina and the rest of the staff of CWT for the great work they do in preservation and education.