Duty, Honor, Country: Antebellum Portraits of West Pointers

June 23, 2023 – June 9, 2024
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George Armstrong Custer by unidentified artist. Quarter-plate ambrotype, 1859. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC

In the years leading up to the Civil War, the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, emerged as a vital training ground for men who built the nation’s infrastructure, played decisive roles in its military campaigns and took part in its political life. Drawn exclusively from the Portrait Gallery’s collection of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes, this exhibition features early camera portraits of individuals such as Ulysses S. Grant, George Armstrong Custer, John Pelham, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Gouverneur Kemble Warren. The course of these men’s lives and careers was shaped by their education at West Point.

Duty, Honor, Country is curated by Ann Shumard, senior curator of photographs.