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See 15 Rare Civil War-Era Photos

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"They’re just tremendously significant."

Southern artillery militia, Charleston (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

For 50 years, a Houston housewife quietly amassed a collection of more than 500 rare Civil War images and now they're in the hands of the Library of Congress.

The library announced the acquisition Sunday and is placing the first 77 images online. On Friday, 87-year-old Robin Stanford delivered the historic stereograph images from her collection to the library.

"The Collection has landed! The rarest and best of the Robin G. Stanford Collection — 541 Civil War-era stereo views (among them a few cartes de visite) — has been acquired by the Library of Congress!" the Center for Civil War Photography wrote in a Facebook post, noting its role in the acquisition.

"They’re just tremendously significant,” Bob Zeller, president of the organization, told the Washington Post. "These are not post-war ... or after Union occupation. These are actual scenes of slavery in America."

Episcopal Church at Rockville(Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Down Broadway, from below Wall St. (Image source: E. & H.T. Anthony & Co./Library of Congress)

Looking down Penn. Av. from Treasury Building, Washington, D.C. (Image source: Hall, C.H./Library of Congress)

Lincoln's tomb (Image source: Hall, C.H./Library of Congress)

Lincoln lies in state, Springfield (Image source: Glover, Ridgway/Library of Congress)

Lincoln's Funeral, Philadelphia (Image source: Glover, Ridgway/Library of Congress)

Home of Abraham Lincoln (Schreiber & Glover/Library of Congress)

Sullivans Island (Image source: Library of Congress)

Sumter, the day after its capture (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Southern artillery militia, Charleston (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Coles Island (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Fort Moultrie (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Sumter after bombardment (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Plantation workshops (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Planter's summer residence (Image source: Osborn & Durbec's Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot/Library of Congress)

Most previous photos showed slaves who were recently freed in the North.

Other parts of Stanford's collection show images of South Carolina at the start of the war. Another set depicts President Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession in 1865.

Stanford says the images are like ghosts from the past that reflect part of American history.

The Library of Congress paid Stanford for the photographs. Though the cost was not divulged, the Washington Post reported Zeller saying some of the images are valued at $1,000 each.

See what is posted of the collection online so far.

(H/T: Time)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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