About the Collection

This group of 74 stereographs contains images of the damage to Charleston during the Civil War. Also in the collection are images of Folly and Port Royal Islands. Forts, churches, hospitals and headquarters come to life in these photographs taken by war photographers such as Samuel A. Cooley and John P. Soule. Spanning both the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction, the stereographs in the collection include locations significant to the war and the times—“the O’Connor house in Charleston, where Federal officers were confined under fire,” “officers and crew of the iron-clad Passiac, at divine service off Charleston,” and “Roman Catholic cathedral burnt by the great fire in 1861, and Dr. Gadsden’s house destroyed by the bombardment”. Each item features the albumen prints on one side and come contain information about the photograph or photographers on the reverse. A large group of stereographs focuses on Fort Sumter (sometimes spelled “Fort Sumpter”): numerous interior and exterior views allow the viewer to examine the fort as it was in the 1860s and ’70s.

Creating the Digital Collection

Beth Bilderback of the South Caroliniana Library suggested this collection for digitization. Materials were scanned on a HP 10000XL Scanner with Silverfast scan software as color TIFFs at 24-bit and 300 ppi. High quality JPEGs were created from the TIFFS with preservation metadata added to the TIFF and JPEG images. The metadata records follow the Western States Best Practices Dublin Core format. Kelly Riddle (MLIS candidate, University of South Carolina) scanned materials, created metadata and coded a webpage for the collection. The JPEGs were then uploaded to CONTENTdm. The TIFFs will be maintained as archival masters on a SAN server, backed-up to DVD. Jason Steelman, University Libraries webmaster, created a Photoshop action to take a copy of each stereograph scan and convert it into an anaglyph by superimposing the two duplicate images on top of each other in contrasting colors.


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