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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!

MI Introduces Digital Edition

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Pleased to announce that the digital edition of Military Images magazine is now available. Formatted identically to the print version, it is produced directly from the master pdf files sent to the printer. Now you can enjoy all the rare and wonderful images, features and departments in every issue of MI on your laptop, tablet or phone. Single issues are now available for purchase at $7.95 each, and the downloadable pdf is yours to keep. The MI digital edition is powered by Tinypass.

Access the MI digital edition now.

MI’s New Look Extends to Renewal Form

renewalThe redesign that debuted with the current issue of the magazine has impacted all other materials associated with the publication. This includes the renewal form, which is being mailed today to those who have expired subscriptions.

The renewal form is a challenge from a design perspective. There are a number of details to communicate, and clarity is essential. Before beginning the task, I prepared by collecting renewal forms and invitations to subscribe forms from other publications.

Armed with samples, I set about creating the new form shown here. The final version is divided into two sections. The upper two-thirds states the price and describes highlights of the new MI, which includes the redesigned magazine and web site. The bottom third is a detachable return slip which is returned with payment in a self-addressed stamped envelope included with the form.

The biggest change, aside from the new look, is the placement of the free (and optional) classified ad, a long-time tradition for renewing subscribers. The free ad is still available, but the large space on the front of the return slip to enter the ten words and contact information has been reduced to a green box at the very bottom of the form. Text in the green box instructs subscribers to use the back of the return slip to enter this information. They can also email militaryimages@gmail.com.

The Winter 2014 Issue Is Ready to Go to Press!

One of the editorial highlights of any publication is the moment you decide it is ready to go to press. The moment comes after weeks and months of planning, and a final few frenetic days of proofing pages, editing text and tweaking the design.

mi-editsThe ‘Moment’ for Military Images arrived last night when I put my red pen down, confident that the Winter 2014 issue (my first as editor and publisher) was completed.

And while my description may make it seem a solitary journey, it was anything but a lonesome adventure. My wife Anne has been great in every way, and her honest feedback along the way truly appreciated. Copy Editor Jack Hurov has been terrific. His work has sharpened the text and put MI on the path of a solid style guide that will be very useful for future issues. I am indebted to Senior Editor Mike McAfee for his great column, “Uniforms & History,” and for the number of times over the last few months that I’ve emailed him images with a request for his authoritative opinion, which he always gave quickly and decisively.

So many other friends of MI have rallied to support our efforts, and I’ve been overwhelmed with their generosity. Contributing Editors Ron Field, Steve Karnes, Scott Valentine and David W. Vaughan contacted me early on and shared their contributions and observations. They were not alone! Other contributors in this issue include Rick Carlile, David Cress, Shayne Davidson, Francis Guber, Janet & Bedford Hayes, Don Hopkins, Mike Hunt, Rich Jahn, Tom Liljenquist, Greg Mast, John Robella, Gary and Bill Stier, Bryan Watson and Buck Zaidel.

In the end, it is your passion, enthusiasm and energy that keeps MI alive. This thought is foremost in my mind this morning.

The work of course is not complete! Today, I’ll make pdfs of the pages and shipped them via DropBox to the printer. And planning is already underway for the Spring 2014 issue and beyond!

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.

Winter 2014 Cover is Featured on New Card

The design of a new promotional card that will be distributed at the Low Country Civil War Show and the DC Photo Show early next year went to the printer yesterday. I am very pleased with the design (front and back shown here). Thanks to Anne who pushed me to edit the text. (The first version was much wordier!) And also to David Wynn Vaughan for contributing the wonderful image of the Confederate officer on the front of the card. The federal cavalrymen on the back of the card is part of my collection.

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Announcement of the Sale of MI in the Civil War News

Civil War NewsTranscribed from the latest issue of the print edition:

Ron Coddington Is New Military Images Publisher

ARLINGTON, VA.—Historian David Neville, who owned and edited Military Images magazine since 2003, sold it to Ronald S. Coddington of Arlington in early August.

Coddington, who is familiar to Civil War News readers as the author of “Faces of War,” took over as publisher and editor immediately.

Noting the magazine’s long tradition of excellence in bringing to light rare military portrait photographs, Coddington said, “I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to guide MI to the next chapter in its life.”

He said, “The magazine continues to play a key role in preserving the visual record and stories of citizen soldiers in America, and is a key source for information about uniforms and other aspects of the military.”

Coddington said, “In the current digital age, with so much new material surfacing, it is more important than ever to have a publication that showcases and interprets these important images.”

Harry Roach founded the Military Images in 1979. He set a mission to document the photographic history of U.S. soldiers and sailors from the birth of photography in 1839 through World War I, although the vast majority of published images date from the Civil War Period.

Roach sold the magazine in 1999 to Phillip Katcher, from whom Neville purchased it four years later.

Regular contributors to MI include some of the most knowledgable collectors in the country, including Michael J. McAfee, John Sickles, Chris Nelson, David Wynn Vaughan, Ron Field and Ken Turner.

Coddington said he is excited to continue working with all of the MI contributors and invites new faces with a passion for military photograhy to participate.

He may be contacted at militaryimages@gmail.com or militaryimagesmagazine.com

Prototype for the Cover Redesign

Cover prototypeIn reviewing various magazine-related materials yesterday, I came across this phrase, “By photo collectors for photo collectors.” It caused me to reflect upon the essential strength of Military Images: The contributors who bring forth superb examples of nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs of soldiers and sailors, and the subscribers, many collectors themselves, who appreciate the quality and subject matter. It is this relationship that drives the magazine.

MI should have a design that recognizes this relationship, and meets the demanding aesthetics and sensibilities of contributors and subscribers. This includes a full-color cover—a first for the magazine, and long overdue. I spent some time last night working with the new logo and a few images from my collection.

In the end, I came up with the prototype shown here. The logo is in the upper left, but can be moved the the upper right depending upon the contents of each cover photo. I modified the logo slightly to accommodate the issue date, which is located just below the “I” in “MI.” In this example, the black box behind the “MI” has been removed because of the darkness of the background. If the background happened to be light, the black box would be added. I also decided not to display any headlines or other text that might take away from the power of the portrait. This follows the traditional look of the magazine, although there have been past issues that do include headlines and other promotional material. The headline-free design also recognizes the collector-subscriber relationship at the heart of the publication.

The MI Flag Is Transferred to Virginia

Post Office BoxYesterday, MI officially transferred its flag from Pennsylvania, where the magazine has lived for the last 34 years, to its new home in Arlington, Virginia. In the space of five hours, I formed a limited liability corporation (LLC), filed for and received a tax number, opened a bank account in the name of the magazine, and secured the post office box pictured here. It was surprisingly easy to make all of this happen.

Of the several individuals I worked with during the day, Suman Barua of Burke & Herbert Bank deserves special mention. In less than it takes to write this post, he explained in simple terms how to setup the LLC, acquire the tax number, and what documentation was required to set up the account. Had I not crossed paths with him, my day might have been more complicated. Thanks, Suman. And welcome to Virginia, MI!

BTW, the new address for Military Images is:
P.O. Box 50171
Arlington, VA 22205