The Civil War In Pennsylvania, A Photographic History, Michael G. Kraus, David M. Neville, and Kenneth C. Turner, Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, 2012, 312 pp., profusely illustrated, bibliography, index, $35.00.
From the June 17, 1843 photograph of the shops at Numbers 46-52 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia to the July 1935 photograph of a veteran waving good-bye through a train window, The Civil War In Pennsylvania, A Photographic History is an amazing and remarkable book. The breadth of the images' subjects presented and the details offered within each image is astounding. The images are rare and their captions are informative. There is a wealth of material culture in this collection: Civilians and soldiers, architecture and armaments, broadsheets and books, coins, currency and camp life, industry and insignia, and a depth of information that is often rare among sesquicentennial offerings.
In five chapters with 44 sections, the authors have left very few history stones unturned. Preceding from colonial Pennsylvania confronting slavery and concluding with the Keystone State commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the authors provide a very detailed and very humane story of the the commonwealth and its people.
Every reader will have a list of their favorite and probably previous unseen images. From the antebellum period: the home of William Parker in Christiana, Lancaster County at which a slaveholder was killed and his son was wounded when they were attempting to capture their runaway slaves, and barefoot children at rest from working while skimming petroleum along the bank of Oil Creek . From the Gettsyburg Campaign: a very rare image of the Wrightsville bridge over the Susquehanna River before it was burned; the rebuilt Hanover Railroad Bridge that was destroyed by Confederate cavalry, and an untrimmed printed of the very famous three Confederate prisoners of war at Gettysburg. From 1863: John Hunt Morgan's raiders posing in a Western Penitentiary cell.
There is no page that readers will not linger over, reading every caption. The Ken Turner Collection, the Library of Philadelphia. the Library of Congress, the Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, the Krause-Messick Collection, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania collections, the Westmoreland Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania State Archives, Pennsylvania county historical collections and many other corporate and private collections are represented in The Civil War In Pennsylvania, A Photographic History. Thia immensity of images and the quality of the reproductions in other books would have a prohibitive retail price. Yet The Senator John Heinz History Center and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission have offered this astounding collection at a reasonable price.