a thick 7.5” by 9.5” leather album with “Allen V. Reed/U.S. Navy/from/Grand-father” embossed on front board containing a plethora of military albumen photographs cut and glued to board in the Victorian fashion with alternating pages of inked autographs of notable military and civilian subjects. Thirty-four pages are mounted with as many as 9 fancy cutouts per page with the military photographs intermingled with well-heeled civilians, costumed children and subjects of virtue including scenes of exotic locales, warships at anchor, several ironclads, and a razor sharp cdv-sized cutout of three Civil War soldiers posed in camp. Interspersed in the album are 18 pages of seemingly random inked autographs, typically three to a page, ranging from prominent politicians and generals to virtual unknowns, plus five loose autographs including a clipped “Honorable Mr. Polk AD 1858” (not the President) and “C.C. Augur/Maj. Genl.” The most important signatures are Speaker of the House of Representatives and future Vice-President “Schuyler Colfax,” Abolitionist “Tho. W. Beecher, Elmira, N.Y./March 4, 1867,” Radical Republican Congressman “Thaddeus Stevens” of Pennsylvania, Kansas Jayhawker “J. H. Lane, Lawrence, Kansas” (Lane shot himself in July 1866) and President “Theodore Roosevelt/April 29th 1908.” Military figures include “Major General “Lovell Rosseau/Somerset, Ky.,” Major General “Edwin S. McCook/Brig Gen./Pekin/Tazwell Co./Illinois,” Governor “Richard Yates” of Illinois, “E.D. Townsend, Bvt. Maj. Genl. U.S.A./Jan 25, 1866,” and Major General “N.P. Banks/Waltham, Massachusetts.”
Unfortunately, practically none of the approximately 66 preponderantly naval subjects are identified by name, although all are in uniform with most showing rank insignia. Among the highlights of varied naval subjects is a montage of photographs memorializing Lieutenant Joseph Whipple Harris, USN, who died on August 24, 1861 while serving aboard the USS St. Mary’s of the Pacific squadron. The largest albumen is a detailed 7” by 4” study of the paddlewheel steamer USS Powhatan anchored in New York harbor. Another large albumen depicts Powhatan’s officers assembled on deck. A smaller oval albumen is a candid shot of an officer on deck leaning against a mast with lounging sailors in the background. There is a photograph of the steamer USS Resaca built in 1864-65. Other naval shots include a stern view of the 4000 ton ironclad USS Miantonomah with a pair of “light draft monitors” pictured on the next page. At least 16 albumens are Civil War army officers including the view of Grant wearing mourning ribbon and a solitary pencil identified cutout of Major General “Edwin S. McCook,” a regular cavalryman of some renown.
Also, an unidentified bird colonel and lieutenant colonel/major that may be associated with the 28th NY as there is a cutout of the regiment’s national colors emblazoned with battle honors to Chancellorsville. Several armed but unknown officers are present.
Captain Allen V. Reed joined the navy as Acting Midshipmen in September 1854 and with the advent war became Master on February 1861. Reed was promoted to Lieutenant in April 1861 and rewarded for his Civil War service with advancement to Lieutenant-Commander in March 1865. Like many career officers Reed languished in the peacetime navy finally making the Captain’s list in July 1884. He retired from service in the same grade in June 1896 as one of the navy’s senior captains with 42 years afloat. Nothing is known of his later years. The collected albumens display razor sharp clarity with strong tones providing a visually artistic panorama of mid-19th century photography composed in an album with autographs as a personal documentary of his time.
Condition: Leather album is tight with usual wear to top and bottom of spine, at least VG. Photographs uniformly near EXC with album pages and tissue covers showing minor foxing, VG+.