Photography in Civil War America

Page from John Hay's cartes de visite album. Hay was personal secretary to President Lincoln and collected these photographs. James Wadsworth Family Papers, Library of Congress

Page from John Hay’s cartes de visite album. Hay was personal secretary to President Lincoln and collected these photographs. James Wadsworth Family Papers, Library of Congress

National Bodies: Cartes de Visite Portraits and the Politics of Photography in Civil War America tells the story of how portrait photographs helped imagine the nation during the American Civil War. Cartes de visite were the most popular form of portrait photography during the war and were touted as the most modern–and sentimental–of photographs. They were collected in photograph albums and circulated among friends, family, and soldiers. I argues that cartes de visite both secured and questioned the meaning of the a body politic amidst the very conflict that would be credited with creating the modern American nation. I’ve recently completed the manuscript; email me to request the proposal or sample chapters.