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Military Photographs: Finding Images in the Prints & Photographs Division at the Library of Congress

This guide provides an overview of military photographs from the Crimean War to the present. Most images show the American armed forces from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.


Group of soldiers seated, one standing, in front of a tent, a small dog is in one man's lap.
U.S. Army group of soldiers in front of tent. Between 1909 and 1940. National Photo Company Collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Prints & Photographs Division has a wide array of military photographs that show the people, activities, equipment, and facilities of armies, navies, air forces, and other armed services. The images exist in many different collections. Understanding the overall subject strengths as well as the best places to start your search will help you focus on the collections most likely to have images of interest.

The photographs span from the Crimean War through some of the United States' most recent conflicts, with the bulk dating from the American Civil War to the end of World War II. The majority of the photos show a military conflict or its aftermath, but some images show peacetime scenes. Photos taken in other countries, including wars in which the United States did not participate, are also available.