Sunday, March 13, 2016

Those hauntingly sad eyes of a little girl in mourning

The freckled-faced girl in the plaid mourning dress can't be more than 10 years old. Her hair parted in the middle, she wears a necklace with large pendant, tinted gold by a tintype photographer, who appears to have added a hint of red to her cheeks. You may have seen this poignant image, part of the fabulous Liljenquist Family collection in the Library of Congress,  in magazines, books, online or at a museum exhibit. One of the girl's features is almost impossible to ignore:

...these big, hauntingly sad eyes.

Liljenquist Family Collection/Library of Congress

Who is the little girl who holds in her lap a framed image of a Union soldier, who wears a Hardee hat and clutches a sword? Unfortunately, her name is unknown. The name of the man in the image, presumably the girl's father and perhaps one of hundreds of thousands of Civil War victims, is also lost to history.


  1. Very haunting portrait. Judging from what I can make out of the image the girl is holding, her father was a Federal cavalry enlisted man (he appears to be holding a cavalry saber at the "carry arms" position). The man's jacket appears to be basically identical to the ones seen in this contemporary image:

  2. Haunting indeed...