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Glossary Terms

Terms Description
Abolitionism , Abolition Movement advocating the immediate end of slavery. The abolitionist movement began in earnest in the United States in the 1820s and expanded under the influence of the Second Great Awakening, a Christian religious movement that emphasized the equality of all men and women in the eyes of God. Most leading abolitionists lived in New England, which had a long history of anti-slavery activity, but the movement also thrived in Philadelphia and parts of Ohio and Indiana.
Acrylic paint Paint made with pigment (color) suspended in acrylic polymer (a synthetic medium), rather than in natural oils, such as linseed, used in oil paints. It is a modern medium that came into use in the 1950s. Unlike oil paint, it is fast drying and water soluble.
Additive Sculpture Three-dimensional art made by building up material (such as clay) to produce forms, instead of carving it away.
Albumen print
Type of photograph that is printed on paper coated with silver salts (the substance that turns dark when it is exposed to light in a camera) suspended in egg whites (albumen). Albumen prints were more popular than daguerreotypes, which they replaced, because multiple copies could be printed and they were less expensive. Albumen prints were often toned with a gold wash, which gives them a yellowish color.
Allegory, Allegorical
Symbolic representation of an idea, concept, or truth. In art, allegories are often expressed through symbolic fictional figures, such as “Columbia,” a woman who represents America; or Father Time, an old man with an hourglass and scythe.
Type of photograph made between 1850 and 1860 in which a negative was attached to a piece of glass with black paper or cloth behind it. Against the black background, the tones of the resulting
Antebellum Latin for “before the war.” It refers to the period between 1820 and 1860 in American history.
Anti-slavery Term encompassing a range of ideas opposing slavery. It included abolitionism, or the idea that slavery should be ended immediately. But it also included other positions, including colonization and gradual emancipation. Some anti-slavery figures (like Abraham Lincoln) opposed slavery as a moral wrong, but did not seek to end it where it already existed, mostly because they believed that slavery was protected by the Constitution. Others had no moral concerns about slavery, but opposed the expansion of the institution because they believed that wage laborers could not compete in a slave-based economy.
John Antrobus
Sculptor and painter of portraits, landscapes, and genre scenes (showing everyday life). Antrobus was born in England but came to Philadelphia in 1850. During his travels through the American West and Mexico, he worked as a portraitist before opening a studio in New Orleans. He served briefly with the Confederate Army during the Civil War before moving to Chicago. Antrobus sculpted both Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas and was the first artist to paint a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant (in 1863).
Army of the Potomac Largest and most important Union army in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War, led at various times by Generals Irvin McDowell, George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George Meade. From 1864–1865, General Ulysses S. Grant, then Commander-in-Chief of all Union forces, made his headquarters with this Army, though General Meade remained the official commander. The army’s size and significance to the war meant that it received a great deal of attention in newspapers and magazines of the day. Artist Winslow Homer lived and traveled with the army at various times when he worked for Harper’s Weekly as an illustrator.
Army of Northern Virginia Primary army of the Confederacy and often the adversary of the Union Army of the Potomac. Generals P. G. T. Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston were its first leaders; after 1862 and to the end of the war, the popular General Robert E. Lee commanded it. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered his army to Union General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant in the small town of Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the Civil War.
Arsenal Collection of weapons or military equipment. The term arsenal also refers to the location where weapons or equipment for military use is stored.
Art history Discipline that seeks to understand how artworks were made, what history they reflect, and how they have been understood.
Assassination Surprise murder of a person. The term is typically used when individuals in the public eye, such as political leaders, are murdered.
Edward Atkinson American political leader and economist who began his political career as a Republican supporter of the Free Soil movement. Atkinson fought slavery before the Civil War by helping escaped slaves and raising money for John Brown. After the Civil War, in 1886, Atkinson campaigned for future President Grover Cleveland and worked against imperialism (the movement to expand a nation’s territorial rule by annexing territory outside of the main country) after the Spanish-American War.
Baker & Co Lithography firm associated with Louis Kurz.
Thomas Ball American sculptor who gained recognition for his small busts before creating more monumental sculptures. Notable works include one of the first statues portraying Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator (1876), paid for by donations from freed slaves and African American Union veterans, which stands in Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Park. Ball also created a heroic equestrian statue of George Washington for the Boston Public Garden (1860–1864). He joined an expatriate community in Italy, where he received many commissions for portrait busts, cemetery memorials, and heroic bronze statues.
George N. Barnard Photographer known for his work in daguerreotypes, portraiture, and stereographs. Barnard devoted much of his time to portraiture after joining the studio of acclaimed photographer Mathew Brady. He produced many group portraits of soldiers in the early years of the Civil War. Barnard was employed by the Department of the Army and traveled with General William T. Sherman, an assignment that would yield the 61 albumen prints that compose Barnard’s Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign. In the post-war years, he operated studios in South Carolina and Chicago, the latter of which was destroyed in the 1871 Chicago Fire.
Battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg Fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this battle was a turning point in the Civil War. Union forces stopped Confederate General Robert E. Lee's second (and last) attempt to invade the North. The Union emerged victorious, but the battle was the war's bloodiest, with fifty-one thousand casualties (twenty-three thousand Union and twenty-eight thousand Confederate). President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "Gettysburg Address" in November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg.
John Bell Politician who served as United States Congressman from Tennessee and Secretary of War under President Harrison. On the eve of the Civil War in 1860, Bell and other people from Border States formed the Constitutional Union Party. Under its moderate, vague platform, the Constitutional Unionists stood for supporting the Constitution but preserving the Union through being pro-slavery but anti-secession. Bell lost the election, receiving the lowest percentage of the popular vote and only winning the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. During the Civil War, Bell gave his support to the Confederacy.
Frank Henry Temple Bellew American illustrator who specialized in political cartoons and comic illustrations. Before, during, and after the Civil War, Bellew’s illustrations appeared in newspapers and illustrated magazines such as Vanity Fair and Harper’s Weekly. He is perhaps most famous for his humorous cartoon “Long Abraham Lincoln a Little Longer” and his image depicting “Uncle Sam” from the March 13, 1852, issue of the New York Lantern. His Uncle Sam illustration is the first depiction of that character.
Albert Bierstadt German-American painter and member of the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Bierstadt spent time in New England and the American West and is well known for his large landscapes that highlight the scale and drama of their setting. A member of the National Academy of Design, he worked in New York City and had a successful career until near the end of his life when his paintings temporarily fell out of style.
Hammatt Billings American artist, designer, and architect. Billings lived in Boston for the majority of his life, and designed several public buildings and monuments in the New England region. He became famous for his work as an illustrator. He illustrated over 100 books, including works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. His illustrations of Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, were particularly well-regarded, and helped launch his successful career.
T. B. Bishop American photographer whose image of an escaped slave was turned into an illustration for the popular illustrated magazine Harper's Weekly.
David Gilmour Blythe Sculptor, illustrator, poet, and painter best known for his satirical genre painting (showing everyday life). His work focused mainly on the American court system and the condition of poor young street urchins. Blythe also produced many politically-charged canvases supporting his Unionist views in the years leading up to and during the Civil War.
John Wilkes Booth American stage actor who assassinated President Lincoln. Booth was active in the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party during the 1850s. He supported slavery and acted as a Confederate spy during the Civil War. In 1864, Booth planned to kidnap Lincoln and bring him to the Confederate government in Richmond, Virginia. But after the fall of Richmond to Union forces, Booth changed his mind, deciding instead to assassinate Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, and Secretary of State William Seward. On April 14, 1865, Booth shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre and then fled. Union soldiers found and killed Booth on April 26, 1865.
Border States Slaveholding states that did not secede from the Union during the Civil War. Geographically, these states formed a border between the Union and the Confederacy, and included Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and later, West Virginia (which had seceded from Virginia in 1861). Of these, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were particularly important to Union war policy as each of these states had geographic features like rivers that the Union needed to control the movement of people and supplies. Most of the Border States had substantial numbers of pro-secession citizens who joined the Confederate army.
John Guzton de la Mothe Borglum American sculptor and engineer best known for his Mount Rushmore National Memorial comprising monumental portraits of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt carved out of the mountain. Borglum began his career as painter but was dissatisfied with medium. He later studied at Académie Julian in Paris, where he was influenced by the bold sculptor Auguste Rodin. Borglum believed that American art should be grand in scale, like the nation itself. He received commissions for several monumental sculptures during his career, including a six-ton head of Lincoln and the 190-foot wide Confederate Memorial in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Mathew Brady American photographer, perhaps best known for his photographs of the Civil War. Brady studied under many teachers, including Samuel F. B. Morse, the artist and inventor who introduced photography to America. Brady opened a photography studio in New York City in 1844 and in Washington, D.C. in 1856. During the Civil War, he supervised a group of traveling photographers who documented the war. These images depicted the bloody reality of the battlefield. They convinced Americans that photography could be used for more than portraiture. Congress purchased his photographic negatives in 1875.
John Breckinridge Democratic politician from Kentucky who served as a Congressman from Kentucky. He was Vice President of the United States under James Buchanan before running for president in 1860 as a Southern Rights Democrat. Breckinridge lost the election, winning only Deep South states. During the war, Breckinridge held the rank of Major General in the Confederate army and briefly served as the Confederate Secretary of War.
Alfred Thompson Bricher American specialist in landscape, focusing on marine and costal paintings. Largely self-taught, Bricher studied the works of artists he met while sketching New England. Bricher had a relationship with L. Prang and Company, to which he supplied paintings that were turned into popular, inexpensive chromolithographs. During his career, Bricher worked in watercolor and oil paint and traveled through New England, the Mississippi River Valley, and Canada. His style moved from the precise detailed realism of his early career to a looser brush style that evokes romantic themes of loss and the power of nature.
Newton Briggs Photographer who created portraits of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin used as campaign ephemera.
John Brown Radical abolitionist leader who participated in the Underground Railroad and other anti-slavery causes. As early as 1847, Brown began to plan a war to free slaves. In 1855 he moved to the Kansas territory with his sons, where he fought and killed proslavery settlers. In 1859, he led a raid on a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, hoping to start a slave rebellion. After the raid failed, Brown was captured, put on trial, and executed for his actions. Brown was praised as a martyr by abolitionists, although the majority of people thought he was an extremist.
Broadside A large printed poster used for advertising or for political campaigns. Broadsides were often inexpensively and quickly made, and intended to send a message rather than be a work of art.
Bronze Metal sculpture made by pouring a molten alloy (metallic mixture) of copper and tin into a mold. The mold is removed when the metal has cooled, leaving the bronze sculpture. Bronzes are designed by artists but made at foundries.
Bust Sculpture portraying only the top half of a person’s body: their head, shoulders, and typically their upper torso.
John Chester Buttre New York City-based engraver who was responsible for publishing The American Portrait Gallery, a collection of biographies and images of notable American public figures. Buttre was partner in the firm of Rice & Buttre. He created sentimental images of Civil War which sold well.
John J. Cade Canadian-born engraver of portraits who worked for New York publishers. In 1890 he was living in Brooklyn, New York. Cade worked with illustrator Felix Octavius Carr Darley.
Canvas In art, the rough fabric on which oil paintings are made.
Caricature Representation in which a person’s traits are exaggerated or distorted. These are usually made for comic or satirical effect.
Carte-de-visite French term for “visiting card.” These small (usually 2 1/2 x 4 inches) photographs mounted on cardboard were so named because they resembled visiting or business cards. Exchanged among family members and friends, these first appeared in the 1850s and replaced the daguerreotype in popularity because they were less expensive, could be made in multiples, and could be mailed or inserted into albums.
Dennis Malone Carter Irish-American painter of historical scenes and portraits. Carter worked in New Orleans before moving to New York City. He exhibited his paintings in art centers like New York and Philadelphia, and mainly became known for his paintings of historical scenes.
William Sylvester Carter African American painter. Carter was born in Chicago and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During the 1930s, he was involved with the Works Progress Administration, a jobs program that helped artists and other workers weather the Great Depression.
Cast Copy of three-dimensional form, made by pouring or pressing substances such as molten metal, plaster, or clay into a mold created from that form. The term is also used to describe the act of making a cast.
Catafalque Elaborate, temporary decorative structure under which a coffin is placed during a visitation period or funeral ceremony.
Cavalry saber Type of curved sword with a single edge, commonly carried by cavalry units, or those trained to fight on horseback. The cavalry saber was a standard-issue weapon for Union cavalry troops during the Civil War, but used less often by Confederates. The usefulness of cavalry sabers had decreased as new innovations in modern rifles developed, however, and cavalrymen carried them more for decorative or intimidation purposes than for actual fighting.
Alonzo Chappel American illustrator and painter of portraits, landscapes, and historical scenes. Chappel briefly studied at the National Academy of Design in New York. Focusing on portrait painting early in his career, Chappel became famous for providing illustrations for books about American and European history. Many of his illustrations included important events and people in American History through the Civil War. During and after the Civil War, Chappel painted Civil War battle scenes and leaders, like President Lincoln.
Frederic Edwin Church American landscape painter who studied under Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School of painting. Elected to the National Academy of design at age twenty-two, Church began his career by painting large, romantic landscapes featuring New England and the Hudson River. Influenced by scientific writings and art theory, Church became an explorer who used his drawings and sketches as a basis for studio paintings. Church traveled to South America, the Arctic Circle, Europe, Jamaica, and the Middle East. Church had an international reputation as America’s foremost landscape painter.
Civilian A person who is a citizen and not a member of a branch of the military.
Civil Rights Movement Civil rights are literally “the rights citizens enjoy by law.” The modern United States Civil Rights Movement occurred between 1954 and 1968 and sought to achieve the equal rights African Americans had been denied after the Civil War. Organized efforts like voter drives and the use of non-violent techniques to desegregate public space helped to draw national attention to the injustice of segregation, which was particularly widespread in the South. These efforts led to new laws that ensured equal voting rights for African Americans and banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin.
Classically , Classical Ideas, objects, or forms that are often associated with ancient Greece and Rome; but the term can be applied to the achievements of other cultures as well. The term also refers to established models considered to have lasting significance and value or that conform to established standards.
Samuel Colman, Jr. American landscape painter influenced by the Hudson River school, America’s first native landscape painting movement. In his early career, Colman studied at the National Academy of Design and painted scenes of New England. Colman became a master of the newly popular technique of watercolor painting. After the Civil War, Colman had a diverse career: painting the American West, Europe, and North Africa, learning to create etchings, and working in design. In addition to watercolor, Colman worked increasingly in drawing and pastel. Later in life, Colman wrote and published essays on art and worked to place his collections in various museums.
Colonization Movement , Colonizationists , Colonization Movement led by the American Colonization Society (A.C.S.), which was founded in 1816. In the antebellum period, the movement sought to gradually end slavery and relocate freed African Americans outside of the United States. Members were mainly white people who were opposed to slavery but doubted that the races could live peacefully together. Some African Americans joined the colonizationists, mostly because they feared being ill-treated in the United States. In 1822, the A.C.S. created the West African colony of Liberia to receive freed slaves. Abolitionists opposed colonization as immoral, insisting that the government should end slavery immediately and acknowledge equal rights for African Americans.
Commissioned officer Member of the military who holds a commission, or rank. In the Union army, the commissioned ranks included first and second lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier general, major general, and lieutenant general. In the Confederate army, the ranks were the same except that there was only one form of general. The officer received this commission and authority directly from the government. A non-commissioned officer refers to an enlisted member of the military who has been delegated authority by a commissioned officer. Non-commissioned officers in both armies included sergeant, corporal, and the lowest rank: private.
Compositions , Composition Way in which the elements (such as lines, colors, and shapes) in a work of art are arranged.
Compromise of 1850 Series of five bills passed by Congress in 1850 intended to solve a national crisis over whether slavery should expand into the West. It brought California into the Union as a free state, organized the New Mexico and Utah territories under popular sovereignty, banned the slave trade (but not slavery) in Washington, D.C., created a stronger fugitive slave law, and settled the boundaries of Texas. While this compromise was thought to be a final solution to the dispute over slavery in the American territories, it lasted only a short time as the same issues arose again with the organization of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories in 1854.
Confederate States of America, Confederacy , Confederate

Government of eleven slave states that seceded from the United States of America. The first six member states (South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) founded the Confederacy on February 4, 1861. Texas joined very shortly thereafter. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was its president. When Confederate forces fired upon Union troops stationed at Fort Sumter on April 12–13, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand militia men to put down what he referred to as an “insurrection.” At that point, four additional states—North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas—also seceded in protest of the Union’s coercive measures.

Constitutional Unionists Political party organized during the presidential campaign of 1860 in response to the Democratic Party’s split into Southern and Northern factions. Members mostly came from the border slave states; they were hostile to free soil ideas, but equally uncomfortable with the secessionist ideas of the radical Southern wing of the Democratic Party. They adopted a moderate, vague platform that emphasized the need to preserve the Union and the Constitution. They nominated John Bell of Kentucky to run for president in the 1860 election, but only gained electoral votes in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The party dissolved shortly afterward.
Contour An edge or outline in a work of art.
Contrabands , Contraband Term used by the Union army to describe runaway slaves who came under the army’s protection. It was coined by General Benjamin Butler, who in 1861 refused the request of Confederate slaveholders to return slaves who had run away to Union military lines. Before the war, law dictated that runaways had to be surrendered to their owners upon claim, but Butler argued that slaves were like any other enemy property and could be confiscated as “contraband” according to the laws of war. Butler was no abolitionist, but his policy was the first official attempt to weaken slavery in the South.
Contraband camps Temporary shelters run by the Union army throughout the occupied South and free states where refugee slaves (including the families of black soldiers) sought protection, food, and work.
George Cope American landscape and trompe l’oeil painter. Cope was trained as a landscape painter, but later transitioned to trompe l’oeil painting, producing highly realistic still-lifes inspired by his passion for the outdoors and hunting. Cope spent most of his life and career in the Brandywine River Valley of Pennsylvania, though traveled as far as the Pacific Northwest.
John M. Copley American author of the 1893 book A Sketch of the Battle of Franklin, Tenn.; with Reminiscences of Camp Douglas. Copley was a Confederate member of the 49th Tennessee Infantry.
Cotton Cash crop of the antebellum South that was produced almost entirely by slave labor. Before 1800, the South’s large farmers (planters) grew long-staple cotton, which was relatively cheap to clean by hand before sale. But long-staple cotton would only grow in coastal regions. With the invention of the cotton gin in 1796, planters throughout the South began planting short staple cotton. The gin cleaned seeds from short staple cotton—which was expensive to clean by hand but grew in virtually any climate in the South. The gin thus prompted the spread of cotton and slavery westward, making the planter class enormously wealthy and influential.
Crimean War War fought from 1853 to 1856 between Russia and the combined forces of the Ottoman Empire, England, France, and Sardinia. The war ended Russia’s dominance in Southeastern Europe. It was incredibly bloody, resulting in some five-hundred thousand deaths due to battle, disease, and exposure. Many aspects of this conflict anticipated the American Civil War, including the use of the telegraph and railroad to facilitate military movements, the use of rifled muskets, the advent of iron-clad ships, the daily reporting of newspaper correspondents from the scenes of battle, and (though to a smaller degree), the use of photography to document warfare.
Eyre Crowe British painter and writer, known for genre scenes (paintings of everyday life) and historical subjects. Crowe studied in Paris. While working for British author William Makepeace Thackeray, Crowe visited the United States in 1852–1853. His visits to Richmond, Virginia in 1853 and 1856 inspired his paintings showing the brutal reality of slavery in America.
John Steuart Curry American artist who created paintings, prints, drawings, and murals, that portrayed the American rural heartland as a wellspring of national identity. A Kansas native, Curry studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before focusing on several decorative mural commissions and Kansas scenes, including a large mural depicting John Brown at the Kansas statehouse. Curry's designs proved controversial because they included what many Kansans regarded as unflattering depictions of their state. Although honored in his later years, the furor over the murals is said to have hastened Curry's death from a heart attack, at the age of forty-eight.
Currier and Ives New York firm started by Nathaniel Currier and James Ives, later carried on by their sons. Specializing in affordable, hand-colored prints called lithographs, Currier and Ives employed numerous artists over the firm’s fifty-year history. Its prints covered thousands of different subjects, including famous people, famous events, landscapes, humor, and sports. These images appealed to the interests and feelings of middle-class Americans and were purchased by people all over the country. During the Civil War, Currier and Ives produced images about recent events, bringing images of the war into Americans’ homes.
Daguerreotypes , Daguerreotype Early type of photograph invented by the Frenchman Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851). Each image is one-of-a-kind and made on a polished silver-coated metal plate. Daguerreotypes were often called “the mirror with a memory” because their surface is so reflective. For protection, daguerreotypes were packaged behind glass inside a decorative case. Shortly after daguerreotypes were made public by the French government in 1836, they were introduced in America. They were wildly popular in the 1840s and 1850s since they were more affordable than having a portrait painted
Aaron E. Darling Artist who painted the Chicago abolitionist couple John and Mary Jones in c.1865.
Felix Octavius Carr Darley Artist who painted the Chicago abolitionist couple John and Mary Jones in c.1865
Jefferson F. Davis Democratic politician and Mexican War veteran who served as U.S. Senator and Secretary of War before becoming President of the Confederacy in 1861. Davis was born in Kentucky and educated at West Point; he served briefly in the U.S. Army before becoming a cotton planter in Mississippi. Though a strong supporter of slavery and slaveholders’ rights, he opposed secession. Nonetheless, when Mississippi seceded, he left the Senate to serve in the Confederate army. To his dismay, he was elected president of the Confederate constitutional convention. After the war, he was indicted for treason and imprisoned, but never put on trial.
Details , Detail Individual features, or a small portion of a larger whole.
Deep South Geographic region of the Southern United States including South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas, also known as the Lower South or Deep South. These states had the highest slave populations in the South and their economies were heavily reliant on cotton cultivation (as well as sugar and rice). During the Civil War, each of the states seceded from the Union prior to the bombardment of Fort Sumter (April 12–13, 1861).
Democratic Party , Democrat Party of opposition during the Civil War. Democrats believed in states’ rights, a strict interpretation of the United States Constitution, and a small federal government. Before the war, the party supported popular sovereignty in the Western territories. Southern Democrats abandoned the national party during the election season of 1860. During the secession crisis, Northern Democrats sought to restore the Union through compromise rather than military force, but the Confederacy rejected these attempts. After the attack at Fort Sumter (April 12–13, 1861), many Northern Democrats supported war on the Confederacy, but others opposed it, the draft, and emancipation.
Democratic , Democracy System of government through which citizens elect their rulers, based on ancient Greek philosophy and practice. The United States is a representative (or indirect) democracy, meaning that eligible adult citizens elect politicians to make decisions on their behalf. Democratic principles are based on the idea that political power lies with the people, but many democratic systems have historically limited the right to vote. In the United States during the Civil War, for instance, only white men could vote.
Stephen A. Douglas Democratic lawyer and politician from Illinois who served in the state legislature before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1847. As a Democratic leader, Douglas championed the policy of popular sovereignty (in which territories decided their slaveholding or free status). He is well known for his debates with Abraham Lincoln, his Republican challenger for the Senate in 1858. Though he won that election, Douglas lost to his rival in the presidential election of 1860. After the war began, he supported Lincoln and urged his party to follow suit. Two months later, he died from typhoid fever in Chicago.
Frederick Douglass Former slave, author, and publisher who campaigned for the abolition of slavery. Douglass published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written By Himself, in 1845. Mentored by anti-slavery leader William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass developed his own philosophy of abolition, arguing that the Constitution could "be wielded in behalf of emancipation.” His newspapers, The North Star and Frederick Douglass’s Paper, led abolitionist thought in the antebellum period. He met with Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and recruited Northern blacks for the Union Army. After the war, he continued fighting for African American civil rights.
Dred Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision of 1857 that declared that Dred Scott (and all African Americans) were not citizens of the United States and did not have rights as such. Dred Scott was the slave of an army surgeon named Dr. Emerson who had traveled with Scott to free states and territories. After Emerson’s death in 1846, Scott sued Emerson’s heirs claiming that his time in free areas made him a free man. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled that neither federal nor territorial governments could outlaw slavery in the territories, therefore making free soil and popular sovereignty unconstitutional.
Election of 1860

Historic presidential election. Four men ran in the race: Abraham Lincoln of Illinois for the Republican Party, Stephen Douglas of Illinois for the Democratic Party, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky for the Southern Rights Democratic Party, and John Bell of Kentucky for the Constitutional Unionists party. Abraham Lincoln won the election by a majority of the Electoral College, but without a majority of the overall popular vote. All of his support came from free states. Breckenridge dominated the Deep South states, Bell gained limited support in the border slave states, and Douglas was overwhelmingly defeated throughout the country.

Electoral College Procedure established by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 whereby the states elect the President of the United States. It was a compromise between those who advocated election of the president by Congress and those who wanted election by popular vote. In the Electoral College, every state gets one vote for each of their senators (always two) and representatives in Congress (a minimum of one, with additional representatives determined by the size of a state’s population). In the Election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the presidency with 180 electoral votes, but did not receive a majority of the popular vote.
George H. Ellsbury American artist and lithographer. Ellsbury worked for Harper’s Weekly as a sketch artist during the Civil War. He also created city views of the American Midwest between 1866 and 1874, before moving to Minnesota and the western territories.
Emancipation Proclamation Executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, stating that as of January 1, 1863, "all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious southern states (those that had seceded) "are, and henceforward shall be free." The Emancipation Proclamation applied only to the rebelling Confederacy, leaving slavery legal in the Border States and parts of the Confederacy under Union control. Nonetheless, slaves who were able to flee Confederate territory were guaranteed freedom under Union protection. While the order did not end slavery, it added moral force to the Union cause and allowed African American men to join the Union armies.
Emancipating, Emancipation Freeing a person from the controlling influence of another person, or from legal, social, or political restrictions. In the United States, it is often used to refer specifically to the abolition of slavery.
Engraving , Engraved , Engraver , Engravers , Engravings , Engrave Printmaking technique where the artist uses a tool called a burin to create lines in a wood or metal surface. After the design is drawn, the plate is inked and the image is transferred under pressure from the woodblock or metal plate to paper.
Ephemera , Ephemeral Visual and documentary materials—pamphlets, ribbons, buttons, printed matter—that are generally not intended to last. Items produced for political campaigns—including Abraham Lincoln’s—are often considered to be ephemera. As historical material, ephemera are very valuable because they help us understand what audiences in the past saw and used.
Equestrian Relating to horses. Equestrian portraits of Civil War officers show seated, uniformed figures sitting on active or athletic-looking horses. This kind of image is often seen in art history; kings and emperors were often shown this way to suggest their power as leaders.
Etching , Etcher Printmaking technique where the artist coats a metal plate in wax, and then removes wax from parts of the plate to create the design. Acid is then applied to the plate. This acid acts on the metal to create a permanent design. The plate is inked and the design is transferred under pressure from the plate to paper.
Exposure time In photography, the amount of time that the shutter of the camera is open, determining how much light enters into the camera and falls on the light-sensitive surface (like a metal or glass plate or film in pre-digital photography). The surface is then processed to create a photograph. During the Civil War, photography was still new and exposure times needed to be longer to get a visible image. This made it difficult to take pictures of action, such as battle, because the subjects had to be still for the entire time the shutter was open.
Cornelia Adele Fassett Portraitist who worked in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Fassett worked with her husband, photographer Samuel M. Fassett, and painted portraits of prominent Illinois men, including Abraham Lincoln in 1860. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1875 where she received many political commissions, including portraits of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield. Fassett is known for these portraits as well as her painting The Florida Case before the Electoral Commission of 1879 in the United States Senate art collection and features roughly 260 Washington politicians.
Samuel Fassett American photographer active before, during, and after the Civil War. Fassett worked in Chicago and Washington, D.C. In Washington, he was a photographer to the Supervising Architect of the Treasury. Fassett is best known for taking one of the earliest photographs of Abraham Lincoln before he became president. He was married to American painter Cornelia Adele Fassett, who painted a portrait of Lincoln after her husband’s image.
Shirley Firestone Painter who depicted Harriet Tubman in 1964.
Edwin Forbes Illustrator and artist. Forbes produced images for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper from 1861–1865 and traveled as a sketch artist with the Army of the Potomac, covering events of the war. He depicted scenes of everyday life as well as battle scenes, such as the Second Battle of Bull Run and Hooker’s Charge on Antietam. Forbes went on to produce many etchings and paintings from his Brooklyn studio, inspired by his war-time images.
Foreground , Background In artworks that portray scenes or spaces, the foreground is the area, usually at the bottom of the picture, which appears closest to the viewer. The background is the area that appears farthest away and is higher up on the picture plane.
Foot officer Infantry soldier with a military rank during the Civil War who fought on foot. Foot soldiers carried different types of swords and weapons than did cavalry soldiers (who fought on horseback) during the war, since they were trained to fight in different situations.
Fort Sumter Fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina that was the site of the first military action in the Civil War. The fort was bombarded by the newly formed Confederacy between April 12 and 13, 1861. On April 14, Major Robert Anderson lowered the American flag and surrendered the fort. This event led to widespread support for war in both the North and the South. Following the battle, Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand men to enlist in the armed services to help suppress the rebellion, which led four more states to join the Confederacy.
Foundry , Foundries Factory that produces cast goods by pouring molten metal (such as iron, aluminum, or bronze) into a mold. A foundry is needed to produce goods like bronze sculptures or artillery, such as cannons.
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper Popular publication during the Civil War that featured fiction, news, and illustrations of battlefield life. Frank Leslie is the pseudonym (fake name) adopted by English illustrator and newspaper editor Henry Carter. Carter worked for the Illustrated London News and circus man P. T. Barnum before moving to America and founding his first publication using the name Frank Leslie. After the war, Leslie married Miriam Follin, a writer who worked for his paper. Following Leslie’s death, Miriam changed her name to “Frank Leslie” and took over as editor. A paper with the name Frank Leslie on its masthead was in publication from 1852–1922.
Free laborers, Free labor Philosophy that stressed economic opportunity and a man’s ability to move across social class and geographic boundaries. Those who believed in free labor thought that man should be free to earn the fruit of his own labor, gain independence, and prosper within a democratic society. Most free labor thinkers opposed slavery to some extent, and the idea itself was central to both the Free Soil movement and the Republican Party.
Free Soil Type of anti-slavery political philosophy that declared that western territories of the United States should be free of slavery. Unlike abolitionists, many white “free soilers” were unconcerned with Southern slaves. Instead, they feared slavery’s impact on white workers, believing that the system of slavery made it harder for free workers to compete. Some free soilers were also racist and opposed living near African Americans. Others, like Abraham Lincoln, opposed slavery on moral grounds, but believed that Congress could not end slavery where it already existed and could only limit it in states where it had not yet been established.
Daniel Chester French Leading American monumental sculptor. French studied for two years in Italy before returning to the United States to open studios in Boston and Washington, D.C. He earned commissions for portraiture and public monuments, where he combined classical symbolism with realism in his sculptures. French is perhaps best known for the massive seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (1911–1922).
Fugitive Slave Act , Fugitive Slave Law Part of the Compromise of 1850 that enhanced the Constitution’s 1787 fugitive slave clause by creating a system of federal enforcement to manage slaveholder claims on runaway slaves. Before the war, such claims were handled by state officials, and many free states passed personal liberty laws to protect free blacks from being falsely claimed as runaways; these laws, however, also helped abolitionists hide actual fugitive slaves. The new act put federal marshals in charge of runaway slave claims in an attempt to override state laws. Nonetheless, many free states refused to help implement the Act, making it difficult to enforce.
R. Furan Painter who depicted Harriet Tubman in 1963
Alexander Gardner Scottish-American scientist and photographer who worked with photographer Mathew Brady. Gardner served as the manager of Brady’s Washington, D.C. gallery until the outbreak of the Civil War. Gardner produced published more than 3000 images from the war, taken by himself and others he hired to help him. One hundred of these appear in the landmark publication Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War. The collection, however, was a commercial failure. After the war Gardner traveled to the West and continued photographing.
William Lloyd Garrison Abolitionist and publisher who founded the anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator in 1831. Garrison rejected colonization and believed that African Americans were equals of white citizens and should granted political rights in American society. He co-founded the Anti-Slavery Society and in 1854 publicly burned copies of the U.S. Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Act because they protected slavery. During the Civil War he supported the Union, but criticized President Lincoln for not making abolition the main objective of the war. After the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment banning slavery, Garrison fought for temperance and women’s suffrage.
Genre painting , Genres , Genre Refers to the type of subject matter being depicted. Landscapes, still lifes, and portraits are different genres in art. “Genre” can also specifically refer to art that depicts scenes of everyday life.
Sanford Robinson Gifford American landscape painter and native of Hudson, New York. Influenced by Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of painting, Gifford studied at the National Academy of Design, but taught himself to paint landscapes by studying Cole’s paintings and by sketching mountain scenes. He developed an individual style by making natural light the main subject of his paintings. Gifford traveled widely throughout his career, painting scenes from Europe, the Near East, the American West, the Canadian Pacific region, and Alaska. Gifford also served in the Union army, although his art makes few references to his experience of the war.
Gouache Opaque paint similar to watercolor. Gouache is made by grinding pigments in water and then adding a gum or resin to bind it together. The paint has a matte finish.
J. Graff Painter who depicted the Chicago Zouaves, a famous Civil War drill team, during their visit to Utica, New York.
Grand Army of the Republic An organization for honorably discharged veterans of the Union army founded in Illinois in 1866. Its hundreds of thousands of members helped needy and disabled veterans, lobbied for the passage of pension laws and government benefits for veterans, encouraged friendship between veterans, and promoted public allegiance to the United States Government; it also served as a grass roots organizing arm of the Republican Party. The G.A.R. helped make Decoration Day (Memorial Day) a national holiday and was responsible for making the pledge of allegiance a part of the school day.
Ulysses Grant Union military leader during the Civil War. Grant attended West Point and fought in the Mexican-American War prior to his Civil War service. After fighting in the Mississippi Valley and winning victories at Shiloh and Vicksburg, Grant moved to the East to act as General in Chief of the United States Army in March 1864. His relentless campaign ground down Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia for the next year, culminating in Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. He was later elected eighteenth President of the United States from 1869 to 1877.
Group portrait Picture that features more than one person and communicates something about them. Because it was important to include certain people in a group portrait, artists and publishers sometimes added individuals who hadn’t actually posed for the artist, or left out some of those who did.
Great Seal of the United States , Seal of the United States , Great Seal National coat of arms for the United States. The design, created on June 20, 1782, portrays a bald eagle holding a shield representing the original thirteen states. The blue band above represents Congress and the stars represent the U.S. on the world stage. The Latin language motto E Pluribus Unum means “out of many, one.” The olive branch symbolizes peace; thirteen arrows symbolize war. On the reverse, a pyramid symbolizes strength and duration. Over it is an eye, symbolizing God. There are two other mottoes: Annuit Coeptis, meaning “He [God] has favored our undertakings,” and Novus Ordo Seclorum, meaning “a new order of the ages.”
Harpers Ferry Site of radical abolitionist John Brown’s October 17, 1859, raid, where he and twenty-two men (white and black) captured a federal armory and arsenal as well as a rifle works. Brown hoped to inspire a slave uprising in the surrounding area, but instead he and most of his men were captured by a local militia led by Robert E. Lee, future General of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Many of the raiders died, and Brown was put on trial and then hanged for his actions. Brown’s fiery statements during his trial were inspirational to Northern abolitionists and outraged Southerners.
Harper’s Weekly Popular Northern, New York-based, illustrated magazine (1857–1916) and important news source about the Civil War. It consisted of news, popular interest stories, illustrations, and war-related features. Harper’s employed illustrators and artists such as Edwin Forbes and Winslow Homer to make images, sometimes while traveling with the Northern armies.
George P. A. Healy American painter of portraits and historic scenes. Healy studied in France and created works for European royalty before he returned to America. Healy was one of the most well-known and popular portrait painters of his time. Between 1855 and 1867, Healy lived in Chicago and painted important political figures like Abraham Lincoln as well as famous authors and musicians. After the Civil War, Healy traveled throughout Europe painting commissions before returning to Chicago in 1892.
Edward Herline German-American lithographer and engraver. Herline was active in Philadelphia starting in the 1850s, working with several print publishers, including Loux & Co. He was known for his artistic skill in creating microscopic details in his views. Herline produced a wide range of lithographs including city views, book illustrations, maps, and images for advertisements.
A. Hill Lithographer who created images for Ballou’s Magazine, a nineteenth-century periodical published in Boston, Massachusetts.
Samuel Hollyer British-American printmaker who worked in lithography, etching, and engraving. Hollyer studied in London before immigrating to America in 1851. Hollyer worked for book publishers in New York City and was known for portraits, landscapes, and other illustrations before, during, and after the Civil War.
Homefront , Homefronts Term used to describe the area of a nation or region at war that is removed from battlegrounds and occupied by civilians. During the Civil War, there were Northern and Southern homefronts.
Winslow Homer American painter and artist of the Civil War period. Homer used his art to document contemporary American outdoor life and to explore humankind’s spiritual and physical relationship to nature. He had been trained in commercial illustration in Boston before the war. During the conflict he was attached to the Union’s Army of the Potomac and made drawings of what he saw. Many of these were published in the popular magazine Harper’s Weekly. After the war, Homer became more interested in painting, using both watercolors and oils. He painted children, farm life, sports, and the sea.
Berry Horton African American artist who worked in Chicago. Horton made figure drawings and painted.
Hudson River School Group of American landscape painters in the nineteenth century (about 1825 to the 1870s) who worked to capture the beauty and wonder of the American wilderness and nature as it was disappearing. Many of the painters worked in or around New York’s Hudson River Valley, frequently in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, though later generations painted outside of America as well. This group is seen as the first uniquely American art movement since their outlook and approach to making art differed from the dominant European artistic traditions.
H. W. Immke Illinois-based photographer. Immke emigrated from Germany to Peru, Illinois, in 1855 where he studied farming before moving to Chicago in 1866. There, he worked with Samuel M. Fassett, who had one of the best equipped photography studios of the Civil War era. Immke established his own studio in Princeton, Illinois, later that year and operated a very successful business through 1923. He specialized in portraits, with over four hundred images of early Bureau County Illinois settlers in his collection; he also produced landscapes and genre scenes (portrayals of daily life).
Industrialization , Industrialized Movement towards an economy dominated by manufacturing rather than agriculture. An industrial economy relies on a factory system, large-scale machine-based production of goods, and greater specialization of labor. Industrialization changed the American landscape, leading to artistic and cultural responses like the Hudson River School of painting and the development of parks in urban areas—an interest in nature that was seen as disappearing. By the mid-nineteenth century, the northern United States had undergone much more industrialization than had the South, a factor that contributed to the Union victory over the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Idealism , Ideal , Idealized , Idealize , State of being or conception that is grander or more perfect than in real life. In art, this may mean making a sitter look more beautiful or a leader more powerful. Much art and literature, especially before 1900, tended to idealize its subjects
Illustrated newspapers Combination of newspaper and illustrated magazine (such as Harper’s Weekly, Leslie’s Illustrated News, etc.) that appeared in the United States in the 1850s. In an era before television and the internet, these offered a very visual experience of current events. The technology did not exist to publish photographs in such publications at the time. Instead, a drawing was made from a photograph, and then a print was made from the drawing. This was how images based on photographs appeared. Publications also hired sketch artists to go out into the field; their drawings were also turned into illustrations.
Infantry Military unit of soldiers who are armed and trained to fight on foot.
William S. Jewett American painter who focused on portraits, landscapes, and genre paintings (scenes of everyday life). He studied at New York City’s prestigious National Academy of Design before being drawn to California by the promise of wealth during the Gold Rush. Although his mining career failed, Jewett discovered that his artistic talents were in high demand among California’s newly rich, who prized his status as an established New York painter. Jewett became one of California’s leading artists.
Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 Law that declared that popular sovereignty, rather than the Missouri Compromise line of 36° 30´ latitude, would determine whether Kansas and Nebraska would be free or slave states. (Popular sovereignty meant that residents of each territory should decide whether slavery would be permitted, rather than the federal government.) After the bill passed, pro-slavery settlers in Kansas fought anti-slavery settlers in a series of violent clashes where approximately fifty people died. This era in Kansas history is sometimes referred to as “Bleeding Kansas” or the “Border War.” Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1861.
Charles Keck American sculptor known for his realistic style. Born in New York City, and a student of the American Academy of Design, Keck apprenticed under celebrated sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens before becoming his assistant. Keck’s gift for realistic depiction is seen in his 1945 bronze sculpture The Young Lincoln.
Kepi , Kepis Traditional wool cap worn by Civil War foot soldiers. It had a short visor and a low, flat crown. Both the Union and Confederate armies wore kepis, but Union soldiers wore blue and Confederates wore grey.
Louis Kurz, Kurz & Allison Austrian-born lithographer and mural painter who primarily worked in Chicago after immigrating to America in 1848. Kurz was known for his book Chicago Illustrated, a series of lithographs featuring views of the city and its buildings. After 1878 Kurz became a partner in an art publishing firm with Alexander Allison. Their company, Kurz & Allison, created chromolithographs (color-printed lithographs) on a variety of subjects, including Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The firm continued until Kurz’s death in 1921.
Landscape An outdoor space, or view of an outdoor space. Landscapes in art are often more than just neutral portrayals of the land. They can reflect ideas, attitudes, and beliefs, and may even refer to well known stories from the past. Landscapes are also the settings for myths, biblical stories, and historical events. At the time of the Civil War, landscape paintings were often used to communicate ideas about American expansion, patriotism, and other ideas relevant to the time.
William Thomas Law American photographer who had a studio in New York. Lawrence trained as a jeweler, but began to make daguerreotypes (an early type of photograph) in the early 1840s. He was well-regarded amongst his peers for his commitment to experimenting with new techniques in early photography. He was profiled in the new publication The Photographic Art Journal in 1851 as a leader in his field.
Robert E. Lee Confederate military leader during the Civil War. Lee graduated second in his class from West Point in 1829 and served in the U.S. Army until the secession of his home state of Virginia in 1861. Lee then resigned from the U.S. Army to join the Confederate cause. In May 1862, Lee took command of the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia. He won victories at Manassas and Chancellorsville, and eventually became General in Chief of all Confederate armies on February 6, 1865. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the Civil War.
Life mask Cast or model of a person’s face and/or hands made directly from that person’s body. A life mask is made from a living subject and a “death mask” from the face of a deceased person. Typically grease is applied to the face or hands, which are then covered with plaster that hardens to form a mold. Abraham Lincoln was the subject of two life masks. Sculptors often made or used these to aid them in creating portraits. Sometimes the masks were used to make metal or plaster casts.
Abraham Lincoln Sixteenth President of the United States. Lincoln was an Illinois lawyer and politician before serving as a U.S. Representative from 1848 to 1850. He lost the 1858 election for U.S. Senate to Democrat Stephen Douglas, but their debates gave Lincoln a national reputation. In 1860, Lincoln won the Presidency, a victory that Southern radicals used as justification for secession. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, which led to the eventual abolition of slavery. Re-elected in 1864, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth shortly after the war’s end.
Lithographer , Chromolithographer , Chromolithograph, Lithograph , Lithography , Chromolithography Type of print made using a process of “drawing upon stone,” where a lithographer creates an image on a polished stone with a greasy crayon or pencil. The image is prepared by a chemical process so that the grease contained in it becomes permanently fixed to the stone. The stone is sponged with water, and printer’s ink, containing oils, is rolled over the surface. Because oil and water repel each other, the ink remains in areas with grease. The image is then transferred to paper using a special press. Chromolithography, a multicolored printing process, uses a different stone for each color of ink.
Loux & Co Philadelphia lithography firm, active in the nineteenth century, specialized in maps and views of cities. Loux & Co. worked with artists like Edward Herline.
Louis O. Lussier Canadian-American portrait painter. Lussier Studied in San Francisco and worked in California with partner Andrew P. Hill before relocating to Illinois after the Civil War.
March to the Sea Military campaign (also known as the Savannah Campaign) led by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman between November 15 and December 21, 1864. Sherman marched with 62,000 Union soldiers between Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, confiscating or destroying much of the Southern civilian property in their path. This march is an early example of modern “total war,” as it strove to destroy both the Confederacy’s civilian morale and its ability to re-supply itself.
Martyl Born, Suzanne Schweig Langsdorf. American painter, muralist, and lithographer who trained in art history and archaeology. Langsdorf studied at Washington University in St. Louis. She was given her art signature name, “Martyl,” by her mother, who was also an artist. Martyl paints landscapes in both the abstract and realist tradition. She taught art at the University of Chicago from 1965 to 1970.
Martyr , martyred Person who suffers, makes great sacrifices, or is killed while standing for his or her beliefs.
Constant Mayer French-born genre (everyday scenes) and portrait painter. Mayer studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris before immigrating to America. Mayer’s works were popular in the States and abroad. Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Philip Sheridan are among the noteworthy individuals who had their portraits painted by Mayer.
Medium The material or materials an artwork is made of, such as oil paint on canvas or bronze for sculpture. During the Civil War more and more media were becoming available and affordable, including photography and various kinds of prints.
Susan Torrey Merritt Amateur artist from Weymouth, Massachusetts who is noted for her collage painting Antislavery Picnic at Weymouth Landing, Massachusetts.
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Patriotic organization founded by Philadelphia Union military officers immediately after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. M.O.L.L.U.S. was established to defend the Union after the war, as there were rumors following Lincoln’s death of a conspiracy to destroy the federal government through assassination of its leaders. Officers in M.O.L.L.U.S. served as an honor guard at Lincoln’s funeral.
Samuel J. Miller Photographer who created daguerreotypes (an early form of photography) in Akron, Ohio. Miller’s sitters included anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass
Missouri Compromise

First major legislative compromise about slavery in the nineteenth century. In 1819, Missouri sought to join the Union as a slave state. Northerners opposed to slavery’s expansion westward tried to force Missouri to adopt an emancipation plan as a condition for admission; Southerners angrily opposed this. A compromise bill was forged in 1820, when Maine was admitted as a free state alongside slaveholding Missouri. In addition, slavery was prohibited from territory located north of the 36° 30’ latitude (except Missouri). The precedent of admitting slave and free states in tandem held until the Compromise of 1850.

Modeling In sculpture, the method of adding or shaping material (clay, wax, plaster) to form an artwork. In painting and drawing, modeling is the method of making things look three dimensional by shading their edges, for example.
Thomas Moran Born in England but raised in Philadelphia, Moran was the last of the nineteenth-century American landscape painters known as the Hudson River school. After a brief apprenticeship as an engraver, he studied painting, traveling to England in 1862 and Europe in 1866. In 1872 the United States Congress purchased his painting Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, a work that resulted from his participation in the first government-sponsored expedition to Yellowstone. Moran’s illustrations helped convince the government to preserve the region as a national park. Over Moran’s long and commercially successful career he painted the American West, Italy, Cuba, Mexico, and New York.
William Sidney Mount American portraitist and America’s first major genre (everyday scene) painter. Mount studied briefly at the National Academy of Design but was mainly self-taught. By drawing his subject matter from daily life, Mount rejected the high-culture demand for grand historical scenes modeled after European examples. Mount’s images were reproduced as engravings and color lithographs based on his paintings—a common practice before the age of photography. These prints popularized his art and encouraged other artists to pursue genre subjects. Hailed by critics of the era as an original American artist, Mount created works that reflect daily life and the politics of his time.
Charles J. Mulligan Talented American sculptor who trained under renowned sculptor Lorado Taft. Mulligan studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Mulligan also taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before leaving to focus on commissioned work, such as his acclaimed 1903 portrayal of the martyred Lincoln, Lincoln the Orator.
Mural Painting (typically large scale) created directly on a wall or on canvas mounted to a wall.
Private Albert E. Myers Amateur painter and Union soldier from Pennsylvania. Myers painted an image of Camp Douglas in Chicago (a prison-of-war camp for captured Confederate soldiers, and a training and detention camp for Union soldiers) while he was stationed there during the Civil War.
Myriopticon Toy version of nineteenth-century stage spectacles. They were meant to imitate shows that featured large-scale pictures of famous events or dramatic landscapes. Children looked into the box of the myriopticon and moved knobs to change from one picture to another. The toy often came with posters, tickets, and a booklet from which to read a story to accompany the pictures.
Gus Nall African American representational and abstract painter. Nall studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and later taught art. He was active in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s.
Thomas Nast Popular political cartoonist. Born in Germany, Nast immigrated to America in 1846. He began his career as reportorial artist and freelance illustrator in the years leading up to the Civil War. As an ardent supporter of the Union cause, Nast created many recruitment posters and newspaper promotions for the war effort. He joined Harper’s Weekly in 1862 and quickly gained fame as a political cartoonist and satirist, working to expose corruption in government in the post-Civil War years. Nast died in Ecuador after contracting malaria while serving there as Consul General, as appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Naturalism , Naturalistic Artistic approach in which artists attempt to make their subjects look as they do in the real world. Such artworks are said to be "naturalistic."
New York State Emancipation Act of 1827 Legislation formally banning slavery in New York State. After the Revolutionary War, New York gradually enacted laws that restricted the growth of slavery. Importing new slaves became illegal in 1810, for example. The 1827 act grew out of legislation passed in 1817 that set July 4, 1827, as the date when the following additional measures for enslaved African Americans would go into effect: those born in New York before July 4, 1799 would be freed immediately; all males born after that date would be freed at the age of 28; and all females would be freed at the age of 25.
Oil painting , Oil on canvas Painting made from pigment (color), such as ground minerals, suspended in oil. Oil paintings can have a glowing quality and are admired for their jewel-like colors. They typically require a long time to dry.
Ordnance Military weapons including anything that is shot out of a gun, such as bullets or cannonballs.
Timothy O'Sullivan Photographer who worked with Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner. O’Sullivan began his career in photography as an apprentice to Mathew Brady. He left Brady’s studio to work independently as a Civil War photographer for two years before joining the studio of Alexander Gardner, whom he helped to provide images for Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War. After the war, O’Sullivan accompanied and made photographs for many government geographical surveys of the United States before being appointed as chief photographer for the United States Treasury in 1880.
P. S. Duval and Son Philadelphia lithography firm founded by French-American lithographer Peter S. Duval. Duval was brought to America from France by Cephas G. Childs to work in his Philadelphia firm. Duval was one of America’s most prestigious makers of chromolithographs (lithographs printed in multiple colors). After a fire in 1856, Duval’s son Stephen joined the firm. The firm was famous for being an innovative lithographic leader that printed well-made, colorful city views, historic scenes, and portraits on a variety of subjects.
Pattern Created by the repetition of elements (shapes or lines, for example) in a predictable combination.
Paul D. Philippoteaux French painter and artist known for creating cycloramas (massive oil on canvas paintings that were displayed with real props for a three-dimensional effect). Philippoteaux was commissioned to paint a “Battle of Gettysburg” cyclorama in 1882. He created several paintings in the post-Civil War era depicting its battles and military leaders.
Photographs , Photograph , An image created by a photographer using a camera. Photography is a scientific and artistic process that uses light to create a permanent image. During the Civil War era, a photographer used a lens to focus light on a light-sensitive surface (like a specially prepared metal or glass plate or film) for a specific length of time. In pre-digital photography, surface was then processed (or "developed") with chemicals to reveal an image. Types of photographs included albumen prints, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, and tintypes.
Picturesque Pleasing to look at or resembling art; literally means “like a picture.” In the nineteenth century, the term was also understood to mean an established set of aesthetic ideals that were developed in England and often used in American landscape painting, like those produced by the Hudson River School.
Pigment Substance that gives color to paint, ink, or other art media. Oil paints, for example, are made from powdered pigment suspended in oil. Pigments may be made from natural substances, such as minerals and plants, or may be synthetic.
Political representation The United States Constitution provides that each state’s citizens be represented in Congress by people they elect. Each state receives two Senators, but in the House the number of representatives varies according to a state’s population, as determined by census every ten years. During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Southern slaveholding states refused to join the Union unless they could include their slave populations in this calculation. Without this measure, they would have been overwhelmingly outnumbered by free state representatives. After debate, the convention compromised by allowing states to count three-fifths of their slave populations toward representation in the House.
Polychrome Artwork or building that has many colors.
Pontoon bridge Temporary floating bridge made by placing small boats called pontoons next to each other. The pontoons are tied together but not to the land, so the bridge can move with the current of the river or stream. During the Civil War, moving the bridge parts over land was done by wagon, and required many men and horses. The Union army became exceptionally skilled at building pontoon bridges, even across the swamps of the Deep South.
Popular sovereignty Political principle coined by Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan during his 1848 Presidential campaign, and later championed by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois. The principle stated that settlers of each territory, not the federal government, should determine whether or not slavery would be permitted there. Popular sovereignty was a compromise to resolve Congressional conflict over whether or not United States territories should be admitted to the Union as free or slave states. Though the Democratic Party endorsed the idea, it was rejected by many northerners in favor of Free Soil ideas, and the pro-slavery South grew increasingly hostile toward it.
Popular vote Total number of votes directly cast by eligible voters for a candidate in an election. In the United States presidential election system, the popular vote in each state determines which candidate receives that state’s votes in the Electoral College. The Electoral College is a voting body created by the U.S. Constitution that elects the President and Vice President using appointed electors. The number of electors for each state is equal to the state’s number of federal representatives and senators. These electors are obligated to cast their votes for the ticket who won the popular vote in their respective states.
Portraits , Portrait , Portraiture Representation or depiction of a person in two or three dimensions (e.g. a painting or a sculpture). Sometimes an artist will make a portrait of himself or herself (called a self-portrait).
Hiram Powers One of the most influential American sculptors of the nineteenth century. Powers developed a passion for sculpture as a young man while studying in Cincinnati under Prussian artist Frederick Eckstein. Powers began his career doing portrait busts of friends and later politicians. He is best known for The Greek Slave (1843), which was championed as a symbol of morality, especially during its tour of the United States amid rising abolitionist tensions. He spent much of his life within the artistic expatriate community in Florence, Italy, and received many commissions throughout his later career, notably some for the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Ramon B. Price African American artist and curator. Price was born in Chicago and educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Indiana University at Bloomington. Mentored by Margaret Burroughs, co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, Price became a painter and a sculptor who focused his career on teaching. Price educated high school and college students before becoming chief curator at the DuSable Museum.
Printing , Print /td> A mechanically reproduced image, usually on paper, but sometimes on another type of surface, like fabric. Printmaking encompasses a range of processes, put prints are generally produced by inking a piece of wood, metal, or polished stone that has a design or drawing on it. Pressure is applied when the inked surface comes into contact with the material being printed on; this transfers the design to the final printed surface.
Alexander Phimister Proctor Painter, etcher, and sculptor known for his unsentimental representations of the American West and his sculptures of historical and symbolic subjects. Proctor began his career as a wood engraver, and later gained international recognition for his 35 sculptures of western animals, commissioned for the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893. Throughout his career, his subjects ranged from animals inspired by his frequent hunting trips to political icons, such as General Robert E. Lee and William T. Sherman; he also sculpted figures that represent American ideals, such as the Pioneer Mother.
Rebellion Act of public resistance—often violent—to a government or ruler. In the Civil War, the North saw the secession of the South as an act of rebellion, while Southerners saw the formation of the Confederacy as within their States’ rights.
Rebel One who opposes or takes arms against his or her government. During the Civil War, Northerners applied this term to supporters of the Confederacy, particularly to soldiers and armies. Southerners also adopted the name as a badge of honor, associating it with the colonial rebels of the American Revolution.
Louis T. Rebisso Italian-born sculptor who created monumental works in the United States. Rebisso was forced to leave Italy for political reasons while in his twenties. He immigrated to Boston and later settled in Cincinnati, the city with which he is linked. He worked as professor of sculpture at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. The artist is well known for his bronze Ulysses S. Grant Memorial (1891) in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
Reconstruction Period after the Civil War during which the Confederacy was reintegrated into the Union between 1865 and 1877. The era was turbulent, as former slaves fought for citizenship rights while white Southerners violently resisted change. By 1877, whites again controlled their states, after which they systematically oppressed black citizens politically and economically.
E. G. Renesch Creator of patriotic images and recruiting posters around the time of WWI, some of which included Abraham Lincoln and others that showed African-Americans in uniform.
Representation An image or artistic likeness of a person, place, thing, or concept.
Republican Party, Republican, Republicans Political party formed in 1854 by antislavery former members of the Whig, Free Soil, and Democratic Parties. Republicans ran their first candidate for president in 1856. At that time, they pledged to stop the spread of slavery, maintain the Missouri Compromise, admit Kansas to the Union as a free state, and oppose the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case. The party was mainly composed of Northerners and it sought the support of Westerners, farmers, and Eastern manufacturers. Abraham Lincoln ran for president as a Republican and won the election in 1860.
John Rogers Renowned artist who sculpted scenes of everyday life, families, and Civil War soldiers. Rogers primarily made statuettes, referred to as Rogers Groups, which were mass produced as plaster casts and sold to and displayed in households across the country. He also received commissions for several larger-scale pieces, such as a sculpture of General John A. Reynolds in Philadelphia.
Romanticism , Romantic Approach or movement in art that stresses strong emotion and imagination. Romanticism was dominant in the arts between about 1780 and 1840, but is also present in art made since then.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens Foremost American sculptor of his era. Saint-Gaudens began his career as apprentice to a stone-cutter at age thirteen. He studied at the college Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design, both in New York. He collaborated with other American painters and architects on several projects, while also creating important independent sculptures and reliefs. Some of his most famous works include his public monuments to President Lincoln and Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Saint-Gaudens also designed decorative arts, coins and medals, busts, and relief portraits.
Sanitary Fair Events held in Northern cities during the Civil War to raise money to support Union soldiers. The fairs were organized through the United States Sanitary Commission, formed in response to the Army Medical Bureau’s inability to maintain clean, medically safe environments for soldiers, particularly the wounded. Women played an important role in founding the commission and organizing the fairs. The first event, the Northwestern Soldiers’ Fair, was held in Chicago in October and November 1863. Donated items were exhibited and purchased to benefit the Union military. The atmosphere of these fairs was festive, with lots of displays, vendors, music, and speeches.
Harlan K. Saunders Artist who served in the Civil War, fighting with the 36th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Saunders painted General John A. Logan after the war.
Scrimshaw Art consisting of images carved onto ivory or ivory-like materials. Initially the term referred to art made by American whalers who carved or scratched designs onto the bones or teeth of whales or the tusks of walruses. Much of this art was made during the whaling period (between the 1820s and the 1870s). Seamen often produced their designs using sharp implements and ink or lampblack (produced from soot from oil lamps, for example) wiped into the scratched lines to make the intricate drawings visible.
Sculpture Three-dimensional work of art. Sculptures can be free-standing or made in relief (raised forms on a background surface). Sometimes, a sculpture is described according to the material from which it is made (e.g., a bronze, a marble, etc.).
Secession , secessionist , secessionists , seceded , secede To break away from a larger group or union. Secession has been a common feature of the modern political and cultural world (after 1800) when groups of all kinds sought identity and independence. In the context of the Civil War, the Confederacy argued that a state could secede if it believed the federal government failed to meet its Constitutional duties. Because the states had voluntarily entered the federal government, they could likewise exit the Union should they see fit to do so. In 1860–1861, slaveholding states believed that Congress’ failure to protect slavery in the territories justified secession.
Robert Gould Shaw Colonel in the Union Army who led the African American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Shaw was a member of a prominent Boston abolitionist family, and he attended Harvard in the years before the Civil War. Shaw was killed on July 18, 1863 while leading his troops in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina, and was buried at the battle site in a mass grave with his soldiers.
Philip Sheridan Union military leader during the Civil War. Sheridan rose quickly through the ranks of the Union Army during the war, becoming a Major General in 1863. In 1864, he became famous for the destruction of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, an area rich in resources and foodstuffs needed by the Confederacy. After the war, Sheridan was military governor of Texas and Louisiana before leading military forces against Indian tribes in the Great Plains. Sheridan became Commanding General of the United States Army in 1883 until his death in 1888.
William Tecumseh Sherman Union military leader during the Civil War famous for his “March to the Sea,” a total war campaign through Georgia and South Carolina that severely damaged the Confederacy. Sherman graduated from West Point in 1840 and served in the military until 1853. After careers in banking and military education, he re-joined the U.S. Army as a colonel in 1861. He was promoted to Major General after several successful battles. He accepted the Confederate surrender of all troops in Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas on April 26, 1865. From 1869 to 1883, Sherman served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army.
Sitter , sitters Person in a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other work of art who is likely to have posed for the artist. “Sitting for a portrait” means to pose for one.
Sketch Drawing or painting that is quickly made and captures the major details of a subject. A sketch is not intended to be a finished work.
Slave Power Conspiracy Idea that slaveholders held too much power in the federal government and used that power to limit the freedoms of fellow citizens. In particular, proponents of the idea pointed to the ways that abolitionists were prevented from petitioning against slavery by slavery’s sympathizers in Congress, or that slaveholders had dominated the presidency by virtue of the three-fifths compromise, (of the first fifteen presidents, ten had owned slaves) or unfairly influenced the Supreme Court, as in the Dred Scott Decision of 1856. The idea became central to the Republican Party’s platform, and to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign in 1860.
Slavery System in which people are considered property, held against their will, and forced to work. By the Civil War, slavery was fundamental to the economy, culture, and society of the South, and the slave population numbered four million. Under this system, children born to enslaved mothers were also enslaved. Slavery was thought suitable only for people of African descent, both because, historically, the slave trade had been based on kidnapping African peoples, and because most white Americans believed themselves superior to darker skinned peoples. Slaves built the South’s wealth through their uncompensated forced labor, growing cotton and other crops.
Southern Rights Democrats Faction of the Democratic Party made up of Southerners who left the national party just before the Election of 1860. This group openly discussed seceding from the Union and ran on a platform that rejected popular sovereignty, demanded legal protection for slavery in the Western territories, and advocated that the United States reopen the slave trade with Africa (which had ended in 1808). In 1860 John Breckinridge ran for president as a Southern Rights Democrat, receiving seventy-two electoral votes all from the Deep South states, and coming in second to Republican winner Abraham Lincoln, who received 180 electoral votes.
Lilly Martin Spencer Born in England but raised in Ohio, Spencer focused on genre paintings of American middle-class home life. Spencer showed talent at a young age and trained with American artists around Cincinnati before moving to New York. She was an honorary member of National Academy of Design, the highest recognition the institution then permitted women. Spencer was active in the art world while also marrying and raising children. Spencer gained fame in Europe and America through her humorous images of domestic life, many of which were reproduced as prints. Spencer continued to paint until her death at the age of eighty
Staple crop, Staple crops Type of agricultural product that is in constant demand and is the main raw material produced in a region. Examples of staple crops in the South include cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. In the pre-Civil War United States, cotton was the largest export staple crop
Stereograph , Stereo view Two nearly identical photographs mounted on a card. When examined through a special viewer (a stereoscope), they give the impression of three-dimensional depth. The principles of stereographic photography were known since the beginning of photography. Stereographic images were made with cameras that had two separate lenses positioned an “eye’s distance” apart. The effect works because, like human eyes, the stereoscope merges two images recorded from slightly different positions into one.
Stereotype Oversimplified conception, opinion, or belief about a person or group. Stereotypes live on because they are repeated, but they are often cruel and inaccurate. The term also is used for the act of stereotyping a person or group.
Still Life Artwork showing objects that are inanimate (don’t move) and arranged in a composition. Still-life paintings often feature common everyday items like food, flowers, or tableware. Sometimes the selection of items is symbolic, representing a person or an idea.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Abolitionist and author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published between 1851 and 1852. Stowe was the daughter of Lyman Beecher, preacher and founder of the American Temperance Society. Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a bestseller and enabled Stowe to pursue a full-time career as a writer of novels, short stories, articles, and poems. Stowe used the fame she gained from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to travel through the United States and Europe speaking against slavery.
Allen Stringfellow African American painter and Chicago gallery owner. Stringfellow studied at the University of Illinois and the Art Institute in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Along with traditional painting, he worked as a printmaker, and in collage and watercolor. Stringfellow was mentored by the African American painter William Sylvester Carter. Many of Stringfellow’s artworks involve images of religion and jazz.
Symbolism , Symbolize , Symbolizing , Symbolized , Symbolic , Symbols , Symbol Something that stands for or represents an idea, quality, or group. The figure of “Uncle Sam” represents the United States, for example. Artists often use symbolism to represent ideas and events in ways that are easy to visualize.
Lorado Taft Sculptor, educator, and writer regarded as one of Chicago’s most renowned native artists. Taft studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and returned to Chicago, where he opened a sculpture studio and taught and lectured about sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He also lectured on art history at the University of Chicago, nearby his studio. Taft earned praise for his work commissioned for the Horticultural Building at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893, and soon began making monumental pieces that can be seen across the country.
Augustus Tholey German-American painter, pastel artist, lithographer, and engraver. Tholey moved to Philadelphia in 1848 where, over the next few decades, he worked for a number of publishing firms. He specialized in military and patriotic portraits.
Tintype Type of photograph popular during the Civil War era, sometimes called a “ferrotype.” To make one, a photographic negative is printed on a blackened piece of very thin iron (not tin, incidentally). A negative seen against a black background turns the negative into a positive image, as with an ambrotype, another type of photograph. Tintypes were very popular because they were inexpensive and could be put into photo-albums and sent through the mail, unlike fragile and bulkier daguerreotypes. Many Civil War soldiers had tintypes made of themselves.
Sojourner Truth Former slave and advocate for equality and justice. Born into slavery in New York State as Isabella Baumfree, she walked away from slavery in 1825 after her owner broke his promise to grant her freedom. She took the name Sojourner Truth in 1843, and committed her life to preaching against injustice. Truth worked with abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison, who published her biography in 1850. Following its publication, Truth became a popular anti-slavery and women’s rights speaker. After the war, Truth campaigned for the Freedman’s Relief Association and advocated for giving land in the Western territories to freed slaves.
Harriet Tubman Former slave, abolitionist, and leader in the women’s suffrage movement. Born enslaved in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped slavery by age thirty and traveled to freedom in Philadelphia. She risked her life along the Underground Railroad to make several trips back to the South to lead family members and others out of bondage. Tubman became a supporter of John Brown, and spoke out publically against slavery. During the Civil War, she aided the Union army as a scout and spy in Confederate territory. After the war, Tubman became a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Life Among the Lowly Popular anti-slavery novel published in 1852 by the New England abolitionist and writer Harriett Beecher Stowe (1811–1896). It first appeared as installments in an abolitionist magazine before it was published in two parts. Among the most widely read books of the nineteenth century, it was translated into several languages and often performed as a play. Several of its characters and famous scenes were portrayed in art and illustrations during the Civil War period. The illustrator Hammatt Billings (1818–1874) made the well-known engravings that illustrated the book.
Underground Railroad Symbolic name for the secret network of people, routes, and hiding places that enabled African American slaves to escape to freedom before and during the Civil War. Although some white Northern abolitionists supported the network, escaping slaves were frequently assisted by fellow African Americans, both Southern slaves and Northern freedmen. Code words were often used to talk about the Underground Railroad: “conductors” such as Harriet Tubman led escaping slaves, or “cargo,” to safe places called “stations.”
Union Shorthand for the United States federal government. During the Civil War, it became the name most frequently used to describe the states left behind after the Confederacy seceded (though they are also called “the North”). It was made up of eighteen free states, five Border States (those slave states that did not secede), and the western territories.
United States Colored Infantry/Troops Branch of the Union Army reserved for black servicemen, as the army did not allow integrated regiments. The majority of the U.S.C.T.’s approximately one hundred seventy-nine thousand soldiers came from slave states, but African American men from all over the United States eagerly joined the Federal Army because they believed Union victory would end slavery. In the free states, for instance, nearly seventy percent of eligible African American men enlisted! As the war progressed, the War Department looked to the South to bolster the ranks, since one of the military necessities driving emancipation was to increase the fighting strength of the federal army.
United States Sanitary Commission Civilian organization founded to help improve medical care and sanitary conditions for Union soldiers. The U.S.S.C. raised money and collected goods to provide supplies and medical care to soldiers. It worked with the military to modernize and provide hospital care for the wounded. Members also raised money through public events like Sanitary Fairs, where donated items were exhibited and purchased to benefit the Union military.
Commissioned, Commissioning Act of placing an order for something, such as a work of art. An individual or group can commission a work of art, often with a portion of the payment made to the artist in advance of its completion (for the purchase of supplies, etc.). Public monuments and painted portraits are usually commissioned, for example. The term also refers to the act of placing an order for (commissioning) a work of art.
Upper South Geographic and cultural area of the American South. During the Civil War, it included states that seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas) and Border States which remained loyal to the Union (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri). Sometimes referred to as the “Upland South,” the region is distinct from the Lower or Deep South in its geography, agriculture, and culture.
Urbanization Growth of cities and a movement of populations to cities. Urbanization causes economic and cultural changes that affect people in both urban and rural areas. In the time leading up to and during the Civil War, the North underwent urbanization at a fast rate. This gave the North advantages in the war in terms of both manufacturing and the ability to move people and goods from place to place.
Visual Culture Study of how anything meant to be looked at—pictures, statues, photographs, newspapers, magazines, etc.—is made and understood.
Leonard Wells Volk American sculptor who had a studio in Chicago. Many regard him as the first professional sculptor in this city. Related to Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas by marriage, Douglas sponsored Volk’s art education in Europe in the mid 1850s. In 1860 Volk became the first sculptor to make life casts in plaster of President Lincoln’s hands, face, shoulders, and chest. Volk became known for his war monuments, but his casts of Lincoln were frequently used by other artists to create sculptures of the president.
War with Mexico War fought between the United States and Mexico (1846–1848). After the U.S. annexed Texas in 1845, President James K. Polk attempted to purchase large swaths of western territory from Mexico. When Mexico refused, the U.S. created a border dispute that it later used as an excuse to declare war. With U.S. victory came five-hundred thousand square miles of new territory, including what would become California, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and Wyoming. Disagreements over slavery’s place in these territories provoked political tensions that led to the Civil War.
John Quincy Adams Ward American sculptor in bronze, marble, and plaster. Ward studied in New York under local sculptor Henry Kirke Brown before opening his own New York studio in 1861. He enjoyed a very successful career, and was noted for his natural, realistic work. Also an abolitionist, Ward attempted to portray the complexities of emancipation in his popular sculpture The Freedman (1865).
Jennie Scott Washington African American painter who focuses on historical and contemporary subjects. Washington was a protégée of Margaret Burroughs, the artist, writer, and co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Educated at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago, Washington also teaches art. Her public access art program, Jennie's Reflections, has been on the air in Chicago since 1989.
Watercolor Paint in which the pigment (color) is suspended in water. Most often painted on paper, watercolors were also used to give color to drawings and to black-and-white prints (such as those by Currier and Ives) and sometimes to photographs. They are more portable and faster drying than oil paints. Although watercolor was often associated with amateur or women artists, many well-known Civil War era artists like Winslow Homer, Samuel Colman, and others worked in the medium.
Alfred R. Waud English born illustrator, painter, and photographer who immigrated to America in 1858 and worked as a staff artist for the magazine Harper’s Weekly during and after the Civil War. Waud’s sketches were first-person accounts of the war that reached thousands of readers. After the Civil War, he traveled through the South documenting the Reconstruction. Waud also toured the American West, depicting the frontier, Native Americans, and pioneers.
Sophie Wessel American artist and community activist. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Wessel was an artist under the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930s, a jobs program that helped artists and other workers weather the Great Depression. Primarily an oil painter, Wessel also worked in drawing, in sculpture, in watercolors, and as a printmaker. Wessel’s art focuses on political and social-justice subjects, like the Civil Rights Movement, rights for women, and the Anti-War Movement. She also taught art at several Chicago-area community centers.
Whig Party , Whig Political party founded in 1833 in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson. Whigs supported a platform of compromise and balance in government as well as federal investments in manufacturing and national transportation improvements. They tended to oppose aggressive territorial expansion programs. The Whig party dissolved in 1856 over division on the issue of whether slavery should expand into the United States’ territories. Many Northern Whigs went on to found the Republican Party.
Stanford White Influential architect of the firm McKim, Mead, and White. White worked with his firm and independently to design several enduring structures such as the Washington Square Arch (1889) and the New York Herald Building (1894). White was murdered by the husband of his former lover in the original Madison Square Garden (a building he had also designed).
D. T. Wiest Artist who created the image In Memory of Abraham Lincoln: The Reward of the Just after Lincoln’s assassination.
Zouave Elite infantry troops and voluntary drill teams that wore showy uniforms—brightly colored jackets and baggy pants—inspired by uniform designs that French soldiers popularized in the 1830s. The French Zouaves had borrowed ideas for their uniforms from Algerian (northern African) soldiers. Zouaves existed in many armies across the world. Civil War Zouaves were often seen in parades, but they served bravely in battle, too. Colonel Elmer E. Elsworth (1837–1861), a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln and the first casualty of the Civil War, led a Zouave unit that was well known in Chicago, Illinois, and across the country.