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

Selected Collections

The Prints & Photographs Division (P&P) has a large number of military photographs. Finding specific photographs is not always easy in a collection this large. Since the majority of the military photographs represent wars involving the United States, this guide concentrates on those wars. Relatively few photos in P&P were taken during peacetime or relate to other conflicts.

Each section of the guide covers a different war. The lists of collections are useful for starting your research and for locating general images from a war. For larger collections, a brief overview and tips on searching are included. For wars represented by numerous collections, especially World War I and World War II, only highlights are described with links to help with comprehensive browsing of available photographs.

The number of images digitized from each collection varies and will increase as more photographs are scanned. The earliest wars have more online images, and more images are downloadable, because the copyright to these photos has expired. Recent wars are often represented by a small selection of digitized images due to active copyright protection. Images under copyright and images with an unknown copyright status are accessible only as thumbnail images outside of the Library of Congress. To see images that are not digitized, please visit the Prints & Photographs reading room in person.

Stereograph negative of five Union soldiers next to cannon.
Washington, District of Columbia. Officers and men, 3d Regiment, Mass. Heavy Artillery. 1865. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.