GARDNER, ALEXANDER [attrib.] (1821-1882) [Black Military Band],
circa 1864. Unmounted albumen print, image 6 1/2 x 9 inches (168 x 230 mm). Surface of image rather creased, several tape restorations of tears to verso of right margin; verso also bears a pencil notation "Gardner" and a few other notations. Framed.
The notation "Gardner" is in the same hand as the image of a pontoon bridge from the Meserve Collection from the present collection elsewhere in this sale. Civil-War era images of African-Americans in uniform are extremely uncommon. See William Dukes Lewis (M.A. Thesis, 2003) Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum: Performance Traditions of Historically Black College and University Marching Bands: "By the time the Civil War had begun in 1861, new brass instruments were being used universally among the military bands that were beginning to thrive in America. Southern emphasizes that in the Union Army, "one of the first acts of the white commanding officers of Negro regiments was to procure instruments and music instructors for the formation of bands" (1983: 207). Through parades and other public performances, these bands helped recruit other black men to join the Union Army. According to Southern, by the war's conclusion in 1865 "more than 185,000 black men had been inducted into the army as the 'United States Colored Troops'" (1983: 205). Each of the black regiments had its own band (Southern 1983: 207)."
Property from an International Corporation.
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