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Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama collection

Collection number: ahc.MSS1023

Scope and Content

The collection is primarily comprised of materials generated to promote the painting and solicit attendance. Also included is correspondence and invitations to special events hosted at the Atlanta Cyclorama site. There are other materials related to reports generated in advance of the restoration project and rededication of the painting and presentations in relation to interpretation at the site.


  • 1886-1980, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

The Atlanta Cyclorama is an immense circular painting depicting an American Civil War battle known as the Battle of Atlanta that occured on July 22, 1864. In 1887, the American Panorama Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company responsible for producing the painting, debuted it in Detroit, Michigan. The company displayed the painting in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Indianapolis, Indiana, and sold the painting to an Indianapolis art exhibit company in 1888, which in turn sold it to Paul Atkinson of Madison, Georgia in 1890. Atkinson first displayed the painting in Chattanooga, Tennessee and then moved it to Atlanta, Georgia in February 1892. The painting was displayed in a circular building on Edgewood Avenue in downtown Atlanta and eventually became the property of Atlanta businessman George V. Gress. Gress donated the painting to the City of Atlanta in March 1898, along with a circular building in which to display it in Grant Park. The city constructed a new building in 1921 and as of 2012 the painting remains at the same location. In 1934, the city hired artists to add a diorama as a foreground for the painting with funds provided by the Works Progress Administration. Then in 1979 funds were raised to repair the painting due to damage caused by deterioration and a water leak. During this restoration project the canvas was cleaned and treated and the clay in the diorama was replaced with fiberglass and plastic flooring. The project also included the addition of a 184 tiered rotating platform and improvements to the museum.

Administrative/Biographical History

The painting itself depicts the battle on July 22, 1864 at about 4:30pm. Visible is the Atlanta skyline, Sherman's headquarters, and in the distance the battle at Leggett's Hill. The artists that executed the painting visited Atlanta in 1885 for field study. They studied and sketched the terrain from a forty-foot tower and then returned to their Milwaukee studio to complete the painting.


0.417 linear ft. (one document case and one flat file)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Description Control

This collection processed in 2012.

Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama collection
Melanie Stephan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305