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Isaac Bonsall Collection of Photographs: Finding Aid
photCL 491  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Isaac Bonsall Collection of Photographs
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1862-1880
    Bulk dates: 1862-1864
    Collection Number: photCL 491
    Creator: Bonsall, Isaac, 1833-1909, photographer.
    Extent: 54 photographs in 2 boxes: albumen prints; various sizes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains 54 photographs by photographer Isaac H. Bonsall (1833-1909) chiefly depicting the landscape and Union Army operations during the American Civil War in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the surrounding regions, from approximately 1862 to 1865. The prints primarily document encampments, buildings, artillery, steamships, railroad bridges, and soldiers. Two images were not taken by Bonsall and include copyright information for photographer N. Brown.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on February 25, 2020.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Isaac Bonsall Collection of Photographs, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Received as four separate accessions:
    • Items 13-30, and 41, gift of John Boland, December 2008.
    • Items 40, 42-45, and 47-51, purchased for the Huntington from the Andrew Smith Gallery by the Library Collectors' Council, January 2009.
    • Items 1-12, 31-39, 46, and 52-53, gift of John Boland, November 2009.
    • Items 29.1, 29.2, 29.3, gift of Claire Lozier and Andrew Smith, December 2019.

    Biographical Note

    Isaac H. Bonsall (1833-1909) was born in December 1833. He grew up around Cincinnati, Ohio, and opened his own photography studio there in the 1850s. In the late 1850s, he moved to Kansas, and worked primarily in the Leavenworth area, including in a brief partnership with ambrotypist John T. Needles. During this time, he also worked in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bonsall returned to Ohio in late 1859.
    In September 1862, Bonsall joined the Union army. He was attached to the engineering department of the Army of the Cumberland and assigned to photograph maps at the headquarters of General William S. Rosecrans. While with the Army, he also photographed soldiers and officers and documented military building and engineering projects and the aftermath of battles. In particular, Bonsall documented the area and projects around Chattanooga, Tennessee, during the Siege of Chattanooga in late 1863 and into 1864.
    Bonsall was discharged from the Army in 1865 and following his wartime service returned to running his photography gallery. In 1871, he returned to Leavenworth, and in 1872 relocated to Arkansas City, Kansas, where he worked as a photographer, as well as in local government. In Arkansas City, he apprenticed photographer William S. Prettyman. Bonsall died on September 8, 1909.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains 54 photographs by photographer Isaac H. Bonsall chiefly depicting the landscape and Union Army operations during the American Civil War in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Corinth, Mississippi, and the surrounding regions, from approximately 1862 to 1865. The prints primarily document encampments, buildings, artillery, steamships, railroad bridges, and soldiers. The collection also includes some portraits of soldiers and Union officers, including the officers of the 1st United States Veteran Volunteer Engineers (Items 52-53) and Generals William S. Rosencrans (Item 2), John H. King and George H. Thomas (Item 45), and Joseph Hooker (Item 47). Among the images are two images of African American Union troops (Items 34 and 44).
    Item 29, a landscape view of grazing farm animals near Arkansas City, Kansas, dates from circa 1875-1880, and is the only image carrying Bonsall's imprint. Items 29.1 - 29.3 also date from after the Civil War. Two images in the collection were not taken by Bonsall and include copyright information for N. Brown (Items 30 and 31).

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: United States Civil War   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Arrangement

    The photographs are housed in 2 boxes according to the item numbers assigned by Huntington staff, with larger items removed to Box 2; items are not arranged according to any organizational schema.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Hooker, Joseph, 1814-1879
    King, John H. (John Haskell), 1820-1888 -- Photographs.
    Rosecrans, William S. (William Starke), 1819-1898 -- Photographs.
    Thomas, George H. (George Henry), 1816-1870 -- Photographs.
    United States. Army. Veteran Volunteer Engineers Regiment, 1st (1864-1865) -- Photographs.
    United States. Army -- Officers -- Photographs.
    African American soldiers. -- Photographs.
    Soldiers -- Portraits.
    Military camps -- Photographs.
    Waterfalls -- Georgia -- Photographs.
    Arkansas City (Kan.) -- Photographs.
    Chattanooga, Battle of, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1863 -- Photographs.
    Chattanooga (Tenn.) -- Photographs.
    Lookout Mountain, Battle of, Tenn., 1863 -- Photographs.
    Lookout Mountain (Ga.) -- Photographs.
    Tennessee -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Photographs.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- African American troops.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns -- Photographs.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Engineering and construction -- Photographs.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Military facilities -- Photographs.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Photographs.

    Forms/Genres

    Photographs.

    Additional Entries

    Brown, N. (Nicholas), 1820-, photographer.