Web Faces of War




Ronald S. Coddington profile

While other kids in his Middlesex, New Jersey neighborhood were collecting baseball cards, fourteen-year-old Ron Coddington was browsing flea markets looking for old photographs. Little did he realize after he purchased his first photo in 1977 that collecting historic images would become a lifelong pursuit. He originally collected various formats of vernacular photography dating from the 1840s to the 1890s. Over time, he focused his collection on Civil War era cartes de visite, a paper format popular during the 1860s.

In 2001, he began writing Faces of War, a regular column in the Civil War News. Each month, Ron profiles a soldier, each illustrated with an original, wartime carte de visite photograph. His subjects are enlisted men and non-commissioned officers, and officers below the rank of colonel. Ron believes that appreciating the role of the volunteer soldier is key to understanding America's greatest conflict. He writes, "The history of the Civil War is the stories of its soldiers."

In 2004, a collection of columns became part of Ron's first book, Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories. A companion volume, Faces of the Confederacy: An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories, was published in 2008. Four years later, the publication of African American Faces of War: An Album marked the conclusion of the series. All three books were published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

In 2011, he became a contributing author for the New York Times Disunion series.

Ron has participated as a speaker at numerous Civil War-related events, and at meetings for round tables and other organizations.

A 1985 graduate of the University of Georgia, Ron lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Anne, and pugs Missy and Bella. He is currently Assistant Managing Editor, Visuals, of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Read my post on the JHU Press Blog: The origin of my passion for old photos.


Author Ronald S. Coddington
Photo by Denny Gainer

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