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New Online: Civil War and Persian Gulf Stories, National Recording Registry

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(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.)

The Manuscript Division has added two collections to its growing list of Civil War materials now available online.

Sheridan’s Papers include a draft of his published memoirs. Manuscript Division.
Sheridan’s Papers include a draft of his published memoirs. Manuscript Division.

The papers of army officer Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) span the years 1853-1896, although the majority of the material dates from 1862 to 1887. Relating chiefly to the Civil War, Reconstruction, Mexican border disputes, Indian wars and military administration, the collection of approximately 18,000 items includes correspondence, reports, orders, memorabilia, scrapbooks, commissions, financial records and speeches. Dominated by correspondence and reports, the papers document Sheridan’s service as a Union army commander in the Civil War and his postwar commands up to and including that of commanding general of the United States Army (1883-1888). A draft of Sheridan’s published memoirs is included in the collection. Two letters from Abraham Lincoln to Sheridan, written on September 20 and October 22, 1864, can be found in the General Correspondence series, and letters received from Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant are located in the Autograph Letters section of the Sheridan Papers.

The Nathan W. Daniels Diary and Scrapbook also documents the experience of an officer in the Union army during the Civil War, but in this case a colonel of the 2nd Regiment of the Louisiana Native Guard, an African-American infantry regiment chiefly stationed at Ship Island, Mississippi. The collection, spanning the years 1861-1867, consists of three volumes of a handwritten diary with rare photographs, illustrations and newspaper clippings mounted throughout the text. Also included are a typescript of summaries and transcripts of the bulk of the diaries, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.

A page from Nathan Daniel’s Diary. Manuscript Division.
A page from Nathan Daniel’s Diary. Manuscript Division.

Volume three was written jointly by Daniels and his wife, the noted spiritualist medium Cora Hatch. Nathan Daniels notes throughout the three volumes of the diary his own interactions with spiritualists and attendance at spiritualist events. After his marriage to Cora Hatch in December 1865, some diary entries not only include content about Daniels’s activities within the spiritualist community but occasionally also document the content of interviews with spirit guides speaking through Cora Daniels.

Also new this month is the annual update to the National Recording Registry. You can read the full description of all 25 new inductees, which span the years 1911-1986. Among the selections are the rock group Santana’s 1970 album “Abraxas,” two blues numbers from the 1920s (Clarence Williams’ 1923 “Wild Cat Blues” and Blind Willie McTell’s 1928 “Statesboro Blues”), Julie London’s 1955 recording of “Cry Me A River,” George Marshall’s 1947 speech outlining the Marshall Plan to restore Europe following World War II, saxophonist John Coltrane’s 1964 oeuvre “A Love Supreme,” Merle Haggard’s 1968 song “Mama Tried,” Clifton Chenier’s 1976 Zydeco album “Bogalusa Boogie,” Buffy Sainte-Marie’s 1964 album “It’s My Way,” George Carlin’s groundbreaking 1972 comedy album “Class Clown” and Metallica’s 1986 takeoff from its thrash-metal roots, “Master of Puppets.” Listen to an audio montage of the selections:

The Veterans History Project has a new presentation in its series of featured interviews: Experiencing War: The Persian Gulf War, 25 Years Later. In these audio and video interviews (some also including photos and written materials), veterans describe in their own words their experiences serving in the conflict, relating how they coped with challenges such as Scud missile alarms, potential chemical weapon attacks and the harsh desert environment. The voices of female veterans are of particular note: the Persian Gulf War saw the largest deployment of women to a combat theater in American history.

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