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Date: October 30, 2009
POC: Ms. Molly Bompane – 717-245-3197

While the photographic process and the principles of modern photography were invented in the early 1820's, it wasn't until just before the American Civil War that photography became available and affordable to the populous. By the 1850's, photography had found a creative niche in the quickly-industrializing United States. It took the images of Civil War photographers like Matthew Brady, Alexander Gardener and Samuel Cooley to put a real face on the price of war.

Almost 150 years later, the US Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) is about to take another major step in Civil War photography. The Heritage Center has long been known as the world's largest repository of Civil photographs through collections held its archival repository - the Military History Institute.  On November 9th, 2009, USAHEC will unveil the digitized photograph collection of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States from the Massachusetts Commandery to the world.  The collection will be accessible for research through the USAHEC's on-line catalog available at the USAHEC website.

“This collection is truly unique and considered the single best Civil War photograph collection in the world,” stated the USAHEC's photo curator, Molly Bompane. “Now not only have we preserved this collection for future generations, we have made it much more accessible to the many researchers and enthusiasts around the globe who have an interest in the Civil War.”  The images from the collection have been used in hundreds of scholarly and popular histories as well as playing a key role in the popular Ken Burns public television series on the Civil War.

The release of this digital collection comes at a very good time as the country prepares to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this critical period in our nation's history from 2011-2015.  Now millions of people around the world will have the opportunity to see the faces of some of the soldiers who fought for their beliefs and the freedoms that we enjoy today in the United States.

If you would like to view the MOLLUS collection or would like more information about the US Army Heritage and Education Center go to their website at

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