Helena Zinkham is Chief of the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. She tells us that the library has "acres" of material in its vast storehouses, most of which hasn't seen the light of day in a long time. Of the 130 million items in the library's collection, 14 million are photographs. Of those 14 million, maybe a million and a half have been digitally scanned.
These photos are from a collection of nearly 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs donated by the Liljenquist family as part of an effort to learn the stories of the soldiers, the stories that reach beyond the picture frame. They were first posted late last week.
Zinkham says the Library of Congress has been crowdsourcing for information on the web for about five years now and it's been very successful. She says she's learned interesting information already from people who've seen the photos online. One person wrote in to say that the type of gun seen in one of the photos would never have been brought to battle so that picture was probably taken in a photo studio instead of near a battlefield.
Personally, I just can't stop looking in the eyes of these soldiers.
Also in this program, and on a much, much lighter note, we sample some of the many Hulks of Twitter. You've heard of The Incredible Hulk but how about Lit Crit Hulk?
You can see Tech Report's slideshow of the Library of Congress's "Civil War Faces" here.