Adalbert Johann Volck Photograph Collection - PP248

Collection finding aids of prints and photographs collection, Special Collections Department

ADALBERT JOHANN VOLCK PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION
1861-1892
PP248

Special Collections Department, Maryland Historical Society
201 West Monument Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Processed by Damon Talbot, January-March 2011

History
[Below is an excert from Volck's full biographical note, available in the PDF]
Adalbert Johann Volck (1828-1912) was born on April 14, 1828 in the town of Augsburg in Bavaria, Germany. During the Civil War, Volck became an ardent supporter of the Confederacy. According to some accounts, he served as a personal courier for Confederate President Jefferson Davis, carried dispatches across the Potomac River, smuggled medicine and other contraband for the Confederacy, assisted volunteers, mechanics and artisans with their defection to the south, and used his Charles Street home as a rendezvous and hiding place for Confederate sympathizers. Other sources dispute these explots. Volck is most famous for his political draings and etchings produced during the Civil War, although this is largely due to a later rediscovery of his work, rather than any contemporary impact. There was limited circulation of his drawings in the north, and most likely none in the Confederate States until after the war. 

Collection Origin
This collection was compiled from items housed in the Volck Collection in the Graphics Collection. Accessions: 69852, 49220, 54830, 52565, 50651, 56181, 53008, 61384, 73731. 

Scope and Contents
Collection of prints, photographic prints, and negatives of images of the work of Adalbert Johann Volck, a Baltimore dentist, artist, cartoonist, sculptor, and silversmith. There are 106 items housed in seven boxes.  

Arrangement
The collection was compiled from items housed in the Volck Collection in the Graphics Division of the Special Collections Department. The collection consists of five series by subject. Box six contains oversize images of items from Series I, II, and III. 

Download the Container List (PDF)

Series List: 

Series I: Civil War Sketches (Box 1 & 2: Folders 1-37, Bound Volume; Boxes 3 and 6)

This series consists of drawings from the civil war period. Volck published a series of images entitled Sketches from the Civil War in North America. These which were printed in three issues between 1861 and 1865 under the titles Sketches from the Civil War in America, 1861, ’62, ’63 and Second and Third Issues of V. Blada’s War Sketches. In “flyers” printed by Volck advertising the war sketches, 30 drawings are listed, with more “ready for printing.” All 30 are represented in this collection. Below is a listing of the etchings as indexed on the flyers.

Sketches from the Civil War in America, 1861, ’62, ’63

No.1 – Worship of the North

No.2 – Passage through Baltimore

No.5 – Searching For Arms

No. 6 – Enlistment of Sickles Brigade

No. 7 – The Fight at Santa Rosa Island

No. 12 – Slaves Concealing their Master from a Search Party

No. 15 – Tracks of the Armies

No. 16 – Formation of Guerilla Bands

No. 21 – Gen. Stewart’s [sic] Raid to the White House

No. 24 – Scene in Stonewall Jackson’s Camp

Second and Third Issues of V. Blada’s War Sketches

No. 4 – Battle in Baltimore, April 19, 1861

No. 8 – Marylanders crossing the Potomac to join the Southern Army

No. 9 – Election in Baltimore, November, 1862

No. 10 – Stone Blockade off Charleston

No. 11 – Making clothes for the boys in the army

No. 14 – Valiant me “dat fite mit Sigel’

No. 17 – Jemison’s [sic] Jayhawkers

No. 18 – Smuggling Medicines into the South

No. 19 – Offering of bells to be cast into cannon

No. 20 – Albert S. Johnston crossing the dessert [sic] to join the Southern Army

No. 23 – Butler’s victims of Fort St. Philip

No. 25 – The Emancipation Proclamation

No. 26 – Free Negroes in the North

No. 27 – Free Negroes in Hayti [sic]

No. 28 – Vicksburg Canal

No. 30 – Cave Life in Vicksburg

No. 32 – Gen. Stewart’s [sic] return from Pennsylvania

No. 33 - (Untitled)

No. 40 – Substitute Office

No. 45 – Counterfeit Confederate Notes publicly offered for sale in the City of Brotherly Love

Images from Sketches from the Civil War in North America, 1861, ’62, ’63 can be found in Folders 1-11. Images from the Second and Third Issues of V. Blada’s War Sketches are in Folders 12 – 33. Folder 12 contains a set of Second and Third Issues of V. Blada’s War missing No. 4 - Battle in Baltimore, April 19, 1861.

Folders 34-37 consist of sketches from the civil war period that not part of Sketches from the Civil War in North America. Included are alternate versions of “Worship of the North” and “Battle in Baltimore, April 19, 1861,” a print of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and an untitled print that may have been designed for inclusion in future issues of Sketches from the Civil War in North America that were never produced.

Box 3 contains 4 volumes of Confederate War Etchings. In 1882 the Philadelphia Publisher, Porter and Coates reprinted Sketches from the Civil War in North America under the title Confederate War Etchings. Limited to 100 sets, it was supposedly printed from Volck’s original plates. A second edition was printed again around 1892, with smaller images lithographed on thin tissue paper. The Collection contains one volume of the 1882 edition, missing one print and 3 volumes of the 1892 edition, 2 of which are complete. The sets include indexes. (Note: Some of the titles of the drawings are slightly different from the titles as they appeared on the original flyers for the Sketches from the Civil War in North America. In addition, “The Fight at Santa Rosa,” was not include in the editions printed by Porter and Coates. Also, plate No. 33 – Untitled from Volck's original printings of the Sketches was titled “Return of a Raiding Party from Pennsylvania” in the Confederate War Etchings.

Box 6 contains matted prints of 9 of the images from Sketches from the Civil War in North America. There is also a print of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson with a typed description of how Volck created the image, and a print of an untitled civil war sketch that may have been designed for inclusion in future issues of Sketches from the Civil War in North America that were never produced.

Box 2 contains a bound volume consisting of complete sets of the following series of prints: Sketches from the Civil War in North America, Comedians and Tragedians of the North, and Ye Exploits of Ye Distinguished Attorney and General B.F.B. (Bombastes Furioso Buncombe).

Series II: Comedians and Tragedians of the North (Box 2: Folders 38-48, Bound volume; Box 6)

Series II consists of images from a series of etchings which caricatured prominent northern figures including President Lincoln, General Benjamin F. Butler, General Winfield Scott, and Thomas Hicks, Governor of Maryland. (Note: The image, Don Quixote and Sancho Panzo, may not have been part of this series)

Series III: Benjamin F. Butler (Folders 48-52, Bound volume; Box 6)

This series contains images of drawings caricaturing Union General Benjamin Butler. In 1861-1862, Volck produced two series of six sketches under the title, Ye Exploits of Ye Distinguished Attorney and General B.F.B. (Bombastes Furioso Buncombe)shortly after Federal Troops occupied Baltimore under Butler’s command following the April 19, 1861 riots. This collection contains one complete set including indexes, and one incomplete set of each of the series. 4 of the prints from the complete sets found in Folders 49 and 52 were removed and matted and are located in Box 6

Some of these sketches were updated and used again along with additional drawings in two small books, Life and adventures of B. F. B. (Bombastes Furioso Buncombe,) the warrior, sage and philanthropist / a Christmas story (1862) and The American Cyclops, Hero of New Orleans, and Spoiler of Silver Spoons (1868). Images from these volumes can be seen in PP 247.

Series IV: The Wednesday Club (Folders 53-66)

This series consists of images of drawings done by Volck for events at the Wednesday Club, a Baltimore cultural groups of which Volck was a member. The Wednesday Club, met from 1877-1883 with an emphasis on music and theatre. In addition, there is an untitled drawing of a tree, a print depicting a Musical Soiree at the Peabody Conservatory in 1872, and a drawing of the Canongate Tolbooth, Edinburgh. These drawings may not have been done by Volck.

Series V: Negatives (Folders 67-82)

This series consists of glass plate negatives and one photograph of Volck silverwork and unidentified architecture and portraits. There is also a negative of an image, possibly of Volck in his home.

See also the following related manuscript and photograph collections:

Adalbert Johann Volck Manuscript Collection, 1878 -1948, MS 867
George M. Anderson Manuscript Collection, 1852-1972, MS 2092
George M. Anderson Photograph Collection, 1861-1969, PP 247

See also the following works in the Maryland Historical Society’s Main Reading Room:
George M. Anderson, The Work of Adalbert Johann Volck (Baltimore: Privately Printed by George McCullough Anderson, 1970), N 6537.V6 A67

In addition to the collections noted above, The Maryland Historical Society has numerous items relating to Adalbert Volck in its possession. See the MdHS Librarian or visit the online catalog.

Download the Container List (PDF)