Important Civil War Photo Album to be Auctioned by Heritage Heritage Auction Galleries will present the Civil War-era photo album of diarist Mary Chestnut, images from which were featured in Ken Burns' television series The Civil War, in the upcoming auction
News-Antique.com - Nov 10,2007 - DALLAS, TEXAS: Heritage Auction Galleries will present the Civil War-era photo album of diarist Mary Chestnut, images from which were featured in Ken Burns' television series The Civil War, in their upcoming Grand Format auction, to be held December 1, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee.
"Mary was an intelligent chronicler of the Civil War," said Gary Hendershott, Director of Civil War Auctions for Dallas-based Heritage, "and she wrote of her associations with President Jefferson Davis, famous Confederate generals and civilians, and even of Abraham Lincoln. Her positions as a prominent socialite in her native South Carolina and wife of a Confederate general - who served as President Davis' personal aide and later rose to the rank of brigadier general - gave her rich insights."
Hendershott continued, "As she created her magnificent diary, she also collected a remarkable photograph album containing an amazing 211 carte de visite photographs of Confederate generals, politicians, and Chestnut family members. Many of the images are autographed by the sitters, with the identifications of the sitters and other entries added to the album in Mary's own hand. She started the collection after she was given one of the albums by South Carolina governor John Means."
"Chestnut would accumulate the photographs over the course of the war and often made reference to the albums in her diary," Hendershott said. "She once showed the album to a small boy, who, upon seeing the photograph of Abraham Lincoln, took the album from her hand and 'placed the book on the floor and struck old Abe in the face with his fist.' Many more references are of historical significance, such as the presentation of the carte de visite of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to Mary by Lee's own wife."
Captured by some of the most famous photographers of the era, such as Matthew Brady and the noted Quinby & Company of Charleston, South Carolina, important figures found in Chestnut's photo album include: Abraham Lincoln, shown beardless; Confederate President Jefferson Davis (signed); General Robert E. Lee (signed); James Buchanan; Henry Clay; Horace Greeley; abolitionists Henry Ward Beecher and Cassius M. Clay; Robert E. Lee's daughters, Agnes Lee and Mary Custis Lee; Lee's son, Major General George Washington Custis Lee; Mrs. Jefferson Davis; Edmund Ruffin, the man who fired the first shot at Fort Sumter at the beginning of the Civil War; William Montague Browne, the Confederate Secretary of State; Governor Francis Pickens of South Carolina; Governor James Adams of South Carolina; General James Jones, leader of the 'Minutemen' of South Carolina; Governor John L. Manning of South Carolina; Captain Francis J. Hartstene, Lieutenant John Randolph Hamilton, and Sidney. S. Lee, all of the Confederate States Navy; General P.G.T. Beauregard; Captain Langdon Cheves, designer of Battery Wagner; Colonel L. M. Keitt of the 23rd South Carolina Infantry and member of the Confederate Congress who was killed during the war; Mrs. Greenbow and her daughter who were imprisoned in the old Capitol, Washington, D.C.; Colonel Edward Mortimer Boykin of the 7th South Carolina