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On Blue, Gray and Khaki

It perhaps comes as no surprise that MI marks the centennial of America’s entry into World War I with images of doughboys and Civil War veterans. This project has developed over the better part of two years, and several calls to action have appeared in previous issues. I am indebted to all who shared their images and provided encouragement along the way.

These unique photographs recognize the connection of citizen soldiers in an unbroken military thread that stretched across a half century and three generations. They also provide an opportunity to reflect on the history of Military Images with respect to publishing images of soldiers from various conflicts.

When MI was founded in 1979, a 100-year period was established to document soldier and sailor photos—from the birth of the medium in 1839 through 1939, the beginning of World War II.

Print by an anonymous photographer. Brian Bennett Collection.
Print by an anonymous photographer. Brian Bennett Collection.

Over the years, the timespan changed. By the late 1980s, the stated end date was World War I. By the 1990s, it had changed again, this time to the end of the 19th century.

The change is due to you, our subscribers and advertisers, who have focused on the Civil War throughout the life of the magazine. Our fascination with images of Yanks and Rebs continues unabated. Over the years, MI has responded to shifts in the collector’s market, growing scholarship around Civil War portrait photography, and the impact of the digital age, which has markedly increased the ability to access and share images and information.

Today, MI remains dedicated to images, stories and the material culture of the Civil War. We also seek broader context by connecting these images to photographs from antebellum times and the postwar period.

As we recall the service of the boys in khaki, we remember their forefathers in blue and gray.

Ronald S. Coddington
Editor & Publisher

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