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The Civil War: The Senate's Story

Photographs of Civil War Senators

During the 19th century the art of photography captivated the nation, and statesmen soon became popular photographic subjects. In Washington, D.C., several studios captured images of the capital’s elite, including foreign dignitaries and many members of Congress. Photographic calling cards—known as cartes de visite—became popular Civil War collectors’ items. Mathew Brady, often called the father of photojournalism, operated one of these studios for more than 20 years. His collection, now owned by the Library of Congress, includes cartes de visite images and portraits of U.S. senators.