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Grandma Sells Trove of Rare Civil War-Era Photos to the Library of Congress

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A 87-year-old grandmother in Texas has sold a rare and valuable collection of more than 500 Civil War-era photographs to the Library of Congress after building her personal collection for four decades.

The Washington Post reports that Robin Stanford of Houston had gathered together a treasure trove of historical images — some of which may be the only known images to show the things that they depict.

The photos contain images of slaves, plantations, battlefields, and a nation in mourning after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Each item in the collection is a stereo photo, with two shots of the scene arranged side-by-side for viewing through a special stereo viewer.

Stanford says she had been planning to pass the collection on to her son, but his recent death caused her to lose motivation in collecting and decide to sell the archive. The purchase price has not been announced.

Here’s a short segment by the Washington Post about Stanford and the photographs she sold:

Here’s a sampling of the images found in the collection:

Photograph shows a view of Charleston harbor from the battery with a ship at anchor in the distance. One man leans against the fence post while another is seated on a bench.
Photograph shows a view of Charleston harbor from the battery with a ship at anchor in the distance. One man leans against the fence post while another is seated on a bench.

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Rockville Plantation no. 6.
Rockville Plantation no. 6.
Sumter after bombardment.
Sumter after bombardment.
Photograph shows the exterior walls of Fort Sumter damaged by Confederate bombardment. Four men stand near a boat in the foreground.
Photograph shows the exterior walls of Fort Sumter damaged by Confederate bombardment. Four men stand near a boat in the foreground.
Photograph shows activity on Meeting Street in Charleston, with the Classic Revival style Charleston Hotel on the left.
Photograph shows activity on Meeting Street in Charleston, with the Classic Revival style Charleston Hotel on the left.

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 Photograph shows a procession following Abraham Lincoln's funeral car on the streets of Philadelphia, April 22, 1865.
Photograph shows a procession following Abraham Lincoln’s funeral car on the streets of Philadelphia, April 22, 1865.

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Southern artillery militia, Charleston
Southern artillery militia, Charleston

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Photograph shows a street view Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois draped in mourning on the day of his funeral. A horse stands near a wooden plank from the street to the sidewalk.
Photograph shows a street view Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois draped in mourning on the day of his funeral. A horse stands near a wooden plank from the street to the sidewalk.
Photograph shows a group of citizens entering the grounds of the Illinois state house to view the body of Abraham Lincoln on May 3 or 4, 1865. Two soldiers stand near the specially built arch. The African American man with the cane near the head of the line is Reverend Henry Brown.
Photograph shows a group of citizens entering the grounds of the Illinois state house to view the body of Abraham Lincoln on May 3 or 4, 1865. Two soldiers stand near the specially built arch. The African American man with the cane near the head of the line is Reverend Henry Brown.

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Photograph shows the public receiving tomb of Abraham Lincoln at Oak Ridge Cemetery. One man is seated in the foreground and another man stands at the entrance to the vault along with two soldiers in uniform.
Photograph shows the public receiving tomb of Abraham Lincoln at Oak Ridge Cemetery. One man is seated in the foreground and another man stands at the entrance to the vault along with two soldiers in uniform.
Down Broadway, from below Wall St.
Down Broadway, from below Wall St.

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Many of the photographs have already been digitized and published online by the Library of Congress, and the rest will be digitized in the coming days. To find the photos on the LOC website, simply do a search for “robin stanford collection.”

(via Washington Post via American Photo)

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