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Confederate War etchings

Call Number

PR 10-1


1863-1864, inclusive


Volck, Adalbert John, 1828-1912


0.3 Linear feet 1 portfolio (29 prints): etching; sheet 27 x 21 cm. on mount 34 x 26 cm.

Language of Materials

This collection is primarily visual. Any text is likely to be in English.


Caricatures, sympathetic to the Confederate States of America, drawn during the Civil War. These materials have been digitized and are available online via New-York Historical Society's Digital Collections.

Biographical Note

Dr. Adalbert John Volck (1828-1912) was German-born and immigrated to the United States in 1848. He settled permanently in Baltimore in 1851, and worked as a chemistry instructor while studying to be a dentist. He practiced dentistry for many years in Baltimore. During the Civil War, he was sympathetic to the South, as were many other Baltimoreans. In an effort to combat the success of the Northern caricaturist, Thomas Nast (ironically also German-born), Volck issued many caricatures, sketches, and cartoons favorable to the South. The Confederate War Etchings are the most important and best known of these.


The caricatures were numbered by the artist, and are housed in a portfolio by this numbering system.

Scope and Contents

This portfolio of twenty-nine caricatures was etched by Volck and was originally published under the name "V. Blada." These materials have been digitized and are available online via New-York Historical Society's Digital Collections.

Made during the Civil War, the etchings show sympathy for the Confederate cause, and distaste for warfare in general. It sardonically illustrates events that allegedly took place in the North and South from Philadelphia and Baltimore to Charleston and Vicksburg between 1861 and 1863. Lincoln's ideals and actions are caricatured, as are such topics as Union army conscription methods, Northern treatment of African Americans, and the behavior of the Union and Confederate armies. Northerners of conflicted views are shown in several scenes smuggling medicine to the South, or joining the Confederate army. Several scenes of events in Baltimore highlight the city residents' early ambivalence toward the war cause and effort.

The original publication contained thirty prints, but one plate, "Meeting of the Southern Emissaries and Lincoln," has been lost. The portfolio was produced in an edition of 200 copies for subscribers of Dr. Adalbert John Volck during the early part of the Civil War. An edition of 45 plates, including the original 30 and 15 additional by the same artist, was also pub. (with imprint, London, 1863) under title: Sketches from the Civil War in North American, 1861, '62, '63. By V. Blada [pseud.]

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Confederate War Etchings, Caricature and Cartoon File, PR 10-1, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections; The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

Many collections in the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections document the Civil War. These include the Album File, PR 2; Graphic Arts File, PR 22; Poster File, PR 55; Stereograph File, PR 65; and Photographs of the War of the Rebellion, PR 88.

Collection processed by

Jenny Gotwals

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:50:15 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from cwetch01jg.xml


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