Providing Comfort for Veterans: Primary Sources from the Civil War and Beyond

A number of years ago I published a blog post on wartime clothing drives. I touched briefly on clothing drives and the work to make handmade items for those serving in the military. As I considered what to write about for a post on Veterans Day, I was drawn back to this post.

Reconstructing a Civil War Battle from a Poet’s Letter Home

In the May/June 2017 issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, our “Sources and Strategies” article features a letter that Walt Whitman wrote to his mother on December 29, 1862. Whitman wrote the letter to let his mother know that he had found his brother George alive and healing from an injury sustained during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Civil War Regimental Flags for African American Troops

What can a flag tell us about the people who marched behind it? We recently rediscovered these regimental flags from the Library’s online collections and were struck by the vivid imagery and mottoes. We did a little research on the flags – and the artist behind them – and decided to highlight them during African American History Month in February.

Civil War Photography: New Technologies and New Uses, a Teacher Primary Source Set from the Library of Congress

Can you imagine a photograph made of metal? A picture book made with egg whites? A wood-and-glass device that lets you see 3-D images? In the 1850s and 1860s, these were all cutting-edge photographic technologies. The Library’s newest primary source set, “Civil War Photography: New Technologies and New Uses,” immerses students in the new methods and formats that emerged in the decades around the war.

Dedicated to the Great Task: Remembering and Studying Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, renowned orator Edward Everett spoke at the dedication of a memorial cemetery. The world has little noted nor long remembered what he said in those two hours.

Everett’s oration was upstaged by the next speaker’s concise 272 words, now familiar as Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The following day, Everett himself sent Lincoln a note, complimenting him, “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”