There is some light staining on the print, which is in otherwise good condition.
In what could be termed the original "Where's Waldo?" image, Springfield photographer J.C. Spooner shot a panoramic view of City Hall which was all decked out for the four-day Soldiers' Fair. He then made a composite picture with 497 individuals, from the governor to virtually every blue blood in Springfield who attended the event from December 19-22, 1864. He also provided a key to identify them all.
During the heart of the Civil War in late 1864, the people of Western Massachusetts came together to support the efforts of the Union troops. They did this not only through personal sacrifice or hard work, but by throwing and attending a massive fair. In 1861, with the approval of President Lincoln, a group of concerned Northerners formed the United States Sanitary Commission. This commission was largely driven by the efforts of women volunteers (including author Louisa May Alcott and reformer Dorothea Dix) who helped to raise supplies, provide lodging and meals, inspect the health standards of Union camps and oversee medical care for the Union troops. Starting with the Northwestern Soldiers' Fair in Chicago in the fall of 1863, northern cities held dozens of fairs to raise money for this organization. Western Massachusetts did not escape this phenomenon, and in December of 1864, the Soldiers' Rest of Springfield held a "Great Soldiers' Fair" which would involve all of the surrounding communities and raise upwards of $18,000 for the cause.
If you google this event you can find a couple of sites who have a chart that identifies all of the 'Who's Who'. Mrs. Milton Bradley is in the front, as is the governor, mayor of Springfield, and many more.
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Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1864 Print Date 1865
Dimensions 15-3/4 x 19-1/2 in. (400 x 495 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.