Gardner's Publication
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  Conservation Work

Cornell University Library’s
Seven-Millionth Volume

Gardner’s Publication
Title Page
Conservation Work

Alexander Gardner’s Publication

Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War (Washington: Philp & Solomons, 1865–66) was published in two editions, one in 1865 and the other in 1866, both editions consisting of two volumes of fifty albumen print photographs, each with a descriptive caption, generally believed to have been written by Gardner himself. The Cornell University copy is from the first edition, containing one hundred unnumbered plates.

Historians estimate that no more than 200 copies of the Sketch Book were produced. The small print run is due primarily to the difficulty of mass-producing photographically illustrated books in the 1860s, before the advent of simple, reliable photomechanical processes. The original photographic prints were pasted onto boards, which were then bound together with letterpress-printed text. The set of two volumes sold for $150, a price that reflects the laborious production methods necessary for this work. 200 sets were ultimately published, but many did not sell. The high price most likely accounts for the project’s financial failure.

Read More About It

A reprint of this edition is available for casual perusal: Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War, Dover Publications, 1959.


Alexander Gardner. Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War (Washington: Philp & Solomons, 1865-66) .

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