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Ken Burns on PBS
The Civil War. A film by Ken Burns
Images of the Civil War
The Film, Past and Present
The War
The Filmmakers
In the Classroom
Images of the Civil War
Archival images played an essential role in the creation of The Civil War. Throughout the film, Ken Burns uses these images to draw us into the story, showing us the people, places and events captured by Civil War photographers' glass-plate negatives.

Explore the work of these photographers through this special feature developed in partnership with The Library of Congress. Examine the story told by each detail in an image, experiment with storytelling or browse through a collection of nearly 200 images arranged by topic.

Within this Feature:

There are three sections within this feature. The first two two sections, Telling Details and Telling A Story are interactive and require the Flash plugin from Macromedia. The third section will work without the plugin.

Telling Details Telling A Story Image Browser
Telling Details
Explore the details within each archival image. Click on the highlights in each image to learn more about the places, battles and daily life of the Civil War.
Telling A Story
In The Civil War, Ken Burns used archival images as an important storytelling tool. Try telling a story by mixing archival images, narration and music. Then email your "movie" to a friend.
Image Browser
Browse through over 200 archival images arranged by topic. Then continue your exploration of the archival images of the Civil War held by the Library of Congress by using our search form to explore the Library's complete online collection.

Background on the Archival Images:

In late September 1862, Mathew Brady opened an exhibition entitled "The Dead of Antietam" at his New York gallery. The photographs were made by Brady's assistants, Alexander Gardner and James F. Gibson. Nothing like them had ever been seen in America.

"The dead of the battle-field come up to us very rarely, even in dreams," wrote a reporter for The New York Times.

"We see the list in the morning paper at breakfast, but dismiss its recollection with the coffee. There is a confused mass of names, but they are all strangers; we forget the horrible significance that dwells amid the jumble of type...We recognize the battle-field as a reality, but it stands as a remote one. It is like a funeral next door. It attracts your attention, but it does not enlist your sympathy. But it is very different when the hearse stops at your front door and the corpse is carried over your own threshold...Mr. Brady has done something to bring to us the terrible reality and earnestness of the War. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along [our] streets, he has done something very like it."

Explore the The Images of the Civil War and feel the impact of the images captured by Brady and other Civil War photographers.

Copyright 2002 WETA. All rights reserved.