[CIVIL WAR]. GARDNER, Alexander (1821-1882), photographer. Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Washington: Philip & Solomons, 1866].
2 vols., oblong 4o. Both volumes with pictorial lithograph title-pages of military scenes by Alfred A. Waud, 100 oblong albumen prints (each approximately 7 x 9 in.) neatly mounted on larger sheets within lithographed frames bearing captions, titles and credit lines, each preceded by a leaf of letterpress description. Original publisher's brown morocco gilt over heavy boards, covers with gilt-blocked title and triple-ruled gilt borders, spine gilt in compartments. (Discrete repairs to hinges. scattered foxing, light to moderate in some 18 plates, more obtrusive in some 20 others).
FIRST EDITION OF GARDNER'S COMPELLING COLLECTION OF CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS, containing many of the most graphic and arresting images from the war, including celebrated views of Harper's Ferry, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Appomattox, etc. Various photographers in addition to Gardner contributed to the collection--the most ambitious photographically illustrated book of the war years--including Barnard & Gibson, John Gardner, David Knox, Timothy O'Sullivan, William R. Pywell, J. Reekie, W. Morris Smith, Wood & Gibson and D. B. Woodbury. Gardner scrupulously identified each photographer's work in the printed captions.
"Gardner's Sketch Book remains to this day the finest photographic of the Civil War...regarded by some as the most significant photographically illustrated book published in the United States" (Katz). It spans the war from the first battles at Centerville and Manassas in 1862 to the dedication of the commemorative monument at Bull Run in June 1865. Costly to produce, the set was priced $150, and only a scant 200 copies were issued. Gardner's Sketch Books and George N. Barnard's Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign (1866)--focusing on the western theater of war--constitute the two greatest photographic records of the American Civil War. Howes G64; ICP, Encyclopedia of Photography 221; Katz, Witness to an Era: The Life and Photographs of Alexander Gardner, 55-89; The Truthful Lens 68.