Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lincoln Inauguration photos found at Library of Congress

On Wednesday, the Library of Congress (LOC) announced that three photographic negatives that had been labeled as being either the Grand Review of the Armies or the inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant were in fact of the crowd that gathered at the U.S. Capitol for President Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1865.

Carol Marie Johnson, a curator of photography at the Library of Congress was prompted to examine the negatives after a LOC patron alerted her to the fact that these visually similar photos had radically different identifications in the Library's online Civil War photographic negative collection.

Johnson discovered the misidentification on Friday, January 4th while checking old logbooks and finding an annotation “Lincoln?” in the margin. Only two other photos of Lincoln’s second inauguration were previously known, but after a careful review, Johnson was able to confirm that these three negatives were the same event.

“These negatives add to our knowledge of this special event,” said Johnson. “They show what that wet Saturday looked like with the massing of the crowd. They also convey the excitement of the people.”The LOC Prints and Photographs Division has updated the catalog records.

To view the full set of photos, visit the Prints and Photographs Reading Room. Here are the photo links:

I can only imagine how excited Johnson must have felt when she uncovered the labeling error. I think that it’s pretty cool. This is a perfect example of a web savvy user and a receptive curator who unearthed on a great discovery.

No comments: