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Tag: Record Group 111

Facial Hair Friday: Boldly going where no beard has gone before

Norton P. Chipman (111-B-1521)

Norton P. Chipman (111-B-1521)

In the Facial Hair Friday spotlight today is a man with a truly impressive set of whiskers. Norton P. Chipman also has a fascinating story to go behind that beard. Chipman was born in 1834 in Ohio, later lived in Iowa, and joined the Union Army after finishing law school. He didn’t spend the entire war behind a desk, however. He was severely wounded during the Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee in 1862. After the war, he settled in Washington, DC, and was appointed secretary of the district in 1871 and then served in the House of Representatives as a Delegate from the District of Columbia from 1871 to 1875.

Chipman’s most conspicuous role in history came just after the Confederate surrender. In May 1865, Federal forces arrested Capt. Henry Wirz, the commander of the infamous Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, GA. Judge Advocate Chipman was the Army prosecutor during the trial. Wirz was convicted and hanged. In 1911, Chipman wrote his own account of the trial, The Tragedy of Andersonville.

In 1970, Chipman came to the small screen when The Andersonville Trial aired on television. Chipman was portrayed by none other than William Shatner. While Shatner got generally favorable reviews for this role, the makeup artist missed an opportunity to go wild with whiskers. While the … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Tribute to Mathew Brady

05-0922aWith his goatee and mustache, photographer Mathew Brady himself is an excellent addition to Facial Hair Fridays. In fact, he is the reason we have so many follicle follies to celebrate.

There are 6,066 photographs by Brady and his associates in the National Archives collections. Many of the images we’ve looked at and been inspired by come from Record Group 111, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. The negatives for these images were purchased for $2,840 by the War Department in 1874, when Brady’s fortunes had taken a turn for the worse, and he could not pay the bill to store them.

But before and during the Civil War, Brady was a successful and well-known photographer with several studios.

He also changed the way Americans viewed war. Although there are no action shots (the subjects had to be still, making it a process for the patient), the photographs of the battlefields, both before and after, and the wounded being operated on and recovering outside and in hospitals, made Americans see war as they never had before.

He and his associates in his studios photographed many famous civilians, including Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Walt Whitman, and Clara Barton. There are also photographs of groups of officers, looking dapper [ Read all ]