Mathew Brady Photos on Flickr

This afternoon we posted the first batch of Mathew Brady Civil War photographs on our Flickr photostream.  These are at a higher resolution (300 dpi) than they are  elsewhere online.  We are planning to post all 6,066.

If looking at this selection sparks your curiosity, browse or search among all 6,000 now in the Archival Research Catalog: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes.  Click where it says, “Includes 6,066 items described in ARC” or “Search within this Series.”

This first set is just grouped as a selection. We have a few ideas for how we will begin organizing them into sets as we upload more, but would love to hear your suggestions for ways you might like to browse these photos (for example, by state, Confederate/Union, by battle, officers).

General David McMurtrie...

14 thoughts on “Mathew Brady Photos on Flickr

  1. Thanks for the feedback, Jason. I think many of the photos can be grouped by battle and this would be a good way to do it. The nice thing about Flickr sets is that the same photo can be in more than one set.

  2. 1. Recurring subjects, i.e. does a photo record battle aftermath, posed officers or enlisted troops, a casual camp scene, etc.?

    2. Gender. The search alone (which I suspect would yield a small percentage of photos that include women and then in medical support positions only) would illustrate how the role of women in the military has changed over time, when images from current wars are compared with Brady’s images.

    3. Dates when taken and of publication or public presentation.

    4. Venue of publication or public presentation of the image. This might help students explore and consider the original purpose for or impact of capturing various images.

  3. Kelly in Kansas, thanks for the helpful suggestions. I think we can definitely organize the photos this way. It’s nice to have the teacher’s perspective.

    Elise, these are really interesting ideas. I think the first two suggestions are definitely do-able. The Flickr team typically works from the online catalog description for each photo as their background info and the publication or presentation info doesn’t seem to be included based on the ones I’ve looked at so far. We could check with the Still Pictures staff to see if they have info like this readily available. We know there are lots of Brady enthusiasts and experts out there, so we would be happy to have them comment or tag the photos on Flickr and provide info about publishing/presentation and any source info that they have on that. The comments we have seen on our Brady photos on Flickr so far from people who know a lot about the Civil War are really exciting!

    – Jill (Admin)

  4. Location (as specific as possible as well as state)
    Names of individuals so far as known
    Subject matter (posed officers, dead troops after battle, etc.)
    Insofar as possible, geotag them.
    You could then have a series of maps–of the US, of states, of location within states–and permit users to run a mouse over the map and bring up the photos.

  5. We agree geotagging has a lot of potential here. It could be so cool! We have the resources to geotag a sample, but we really hope that the public and our researchers will be excited about doing some geotagging to help us out.

    – Jill

  6. It’s an awesome posting.
    It is also very useful for many people like me.
    Your writing is always fabulous.
    Wishing that u will deliver this type of post in future also.

  7. I was just googling civil war scenes and found your blog…I think geo-tagging would be amazing – especially with iPhone apps now being able to locate proximity to geo-tagged photos that are shared.

    1. We are glad you are interested in the benefits of geotagging! You will be happy to know that we have created over 40 topical sets for the Mathew Brady images on Flickr, and geotagged most of the images as accurately as possible. You can read a follow-up blog post about the status of the project here.

      Thanks for your interest, and enjoy the photos!


  8. Awesome work, the images are great.

    I’ve been working on a similar project, but I was leery about posting images on Flickr as there is really no security when it comes to posting stuff there from what I understand.

    I saw you posted the images with no copyright restrictions, but were you to restrict them, would that mean that images can only be viewed by individuals invited to do so, or is that open to everyone?

    The images I’m posting are new (nothing to do with Civil War, hence the need for protection).

    I know this question would probably be better suited to the Flickr community, but I saw this post and thought I’d ask someone who has gone through the posting and sorting process.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi W.J.,

      The photos we post on Flickr are all in the public domain, so we are not concerned with privacy when it comes to that photo stream (though we do ask people that use our photos to credit them to the U.S. National Archives).

      As for the differences in the privacy settings and how users view your content, I would suggest checking out this list of questions posted to the Flickr Help Forum:

      Good luck with your project!


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