Guerrillas and Outlaws
The Missouri-Kansas border war, prior to and during the Civil War, resulted in larger than life legends-William Quantrill, Jesse and Frank James, and William "Bloody Bill" Anderson. These infamous men captured the imagination of many people, including two artists who chose to memorialize some of Quantrill's Guerrillas, the James-Younger gang, and others associated with them like Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby.
This digital collection consists of 52 charcoal portraits created by A. L. Dillenbeck and Elmer Stewart. It appears that both artists used photographs as a basis for their drawings. Dillenbeck's drawings are not dated but are believed to have been created in the late 1800s. Stewart added "93" under his signature. At one time, the portraits had been mounted and perhaps framed, but the mat boards were removed before digitizing.
Unfortunately, the provenance for the drawings is unknown. A 1992 library office memo indicates they came to the library many years ago, and that some of the drawings were displayed in the library around the late 1980s. They are now part of the Missouri Valley oversize works (MV0), a collection of various types of art work such as paintings, sculpture, drawings and sketches, large-size photographs, posters, and other miscellaneous items.
An effort was made to discover more about the artists, but unfortunately nothing conclusive could be determined. There's a possibility that A. L. Dillenbeck was a woman (Anna Dillenbeck). Both she and an Elmer Stewart are listed in the 1893 Kansas City city directory, but further information could not be verified.
The artists did not identify any of the men in their drawings, but someone, perhaps library staff, added names at the bottom to some of them. If the portrait was identified, the record in this digital collection includes a biographical note. The sources used for the biographical note have been included in this collection as a separate record. This short bibliography of references represents only a few of the materials and resources in the Missouri Valley Special Collections related to border warfare and the Civil War. Search the online catalog as well as the Digital Gallery for more.
Of particular note is a newly published book (2009) called A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War. This "is the first work to treat guerrilla warfare as critical to understanding the course and outcome of the Civil War." Also of interest is the full set of 155 volumes of the official records of the Civil War.
A lithograph of Jesse James by George Warfel, also part of MVO, was included in this collection, bringing the total images to 53. The 54th record is the list of resources used for the biographical note.
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