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Treatment Focus: Conserving the Meade Album, a Civil War vet's life-long project

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    • Jess inpainting Meade Album
    • First page of Civil War Museum's Meade Album
    • Close-up of Jess inpainting Meade Album
    • George Meade, Jr. Photo from Meade Album

The George Meade Album of Union and Confederate Officers holds almost 1,400 carte-de-visite portraits of all the officers who served in the Army of the Potomac, the major Union army famous for fighting under General George G. Meade in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.  According to Andrew Coldren, Curator at the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia, which owns the album, the famous General Meade did not create the album (a common misconception); it was assembled by his son, also named George, who served on the General’s staff during the war. George is pictured at the center of the fourth image, above.

Collecting cartes was a popular pastime among Civil War officers, and George probably began gathering these images during the war and then worked throughout his life to complete the album, using his father’s connections to locate veterans or find information.  Underneath or next to each portrait are what Andrew believes must be George’s handwritten notes, which include the officer’s name and rank and indicate whether he was injured or killed in battle.  Toward the back of one volume, George began to add cartes of Confederate officers.  These portraits were most likely collected after the war’s end, when soldiers from both sides networked and held reunions.

To read more about the history and conservation treatment of the Meade Album, click here.