Tom Liljenquist Continues to Amaze
As many of you know, Tom Liljenquist is a longtime collector of Civil War-era images, particularly ambrotype portraits of soldiers, sailors and civilians. Starting with an initial gift of almost 700 images in 2010, Liljenquist has donated these images to the Library of Congress, where they’ve been indexed, scanned and put online in high-res format for the general public to use and download. Liljenquist’s perseverance in collecting these images is surpassed only by his commitment to sharing them with the rest of us.
One thing I didn’t realize until recently is that Liljenquist’s donation was not a one-time event, but continues as he acquires new material. I was initially surprised to find this image of an unidentified Confederate naval officer, sure I would have seen it before. But it turns out that Liljenquist only acquired the image last year, and it was cataloged and scanned by LoC as recently as last month, April 2014.
This particular image is interesting. Portraits of C.S. naval personnel are uncommon. This officer seems particularly well-accoutered, dressed in a standard naval uniform under the regulations adopted in 1861.
If you reverse the image left-to-right, and look closely under the hand-applied gilt paint, his cap appears to carry an Old English letter E within the wreath, which would be the badge of a Second- or Third Assistant Engineer (right). I wonder who he is.