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Connections from the Library of Congress

The American Memory collections ( of The Library of Congress ( offer rich resources for a study of the Civil War. Within the collections are images, documents and sound recordings that will help one understand this time and this experience. The Library of Congress Learning Page (
which was created especially for educators, provides tips and tricks for using the American Memory collections, as well as features, activities, and lessons that provide a context for using the collections.

The following is a list of specific American Memory collections about the Civil War formulated with cooperation from staff at the Library of Congress.

Civil War Maps
The Civil War Map collection consists of reconnaissance, sketch, coastal, and theater-of-war maps which depict troop activities and fortifications during the Civil War. Part of this selection contains detailed battle maps that were used by Generals Lee and Jackson and also maps that depict General Sherman's military campaigns in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

Civil War Photographs
The select collection contains 1,118 photographs. Most of the images were made under the supervision of Mathew B. Brady, and include scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, battle after-effects portraits of both Confederate and Union officers, and a selection of enlisted men.

Civil War Treasures
The images in this digital collection are drawn from the New-York Historical Society's rich archival collections that document the Civil War. They include recruiting posters for New York City regiments of volunteers; stereographic views documenting the mustering of soldiers and of popular support for the Union in New York City; photography showing the war's impact, both in the north and south; and drawings and writings by ordinary soldiers on both sides.

Mr. Lincoln’s Virtual Library
Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library highlights two collections at the Library of Congress that illuminate the life of the sixteenth president of the United States. The Abraham Lincoln Papers housed in the Manuscript Division contain approximately 20,000 items including correspondence and papers accumulated primarily during Lincoln's presidency.

"We'll Sing to Abe Our Song!"
The online collection, drawn from the Alfred Whital Stern Collection in the
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, includes more than two hundred sheet-music compositions that represent Lincoln and the war as reflected in popular music.

Lincoln Papers
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 20,000 documents. The collection is organized into three "General Correspondence" series which include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material. Most of the 20,000 items are from the 1850s through Lincoln's presidential years, 1860-65. These American Memory collections provide background information to help understand the Civil War.

African American Perspectives
The Daniel A.P. Murray Pamphlet Collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost one hundred years from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Alexander Crummel, and Emanuel Love.

America’s First Look into the Camera
The Library’s daguerreotype collection consists of more than 725 photographs dating from 1839 to 1864. Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project,
This collection contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.

From Slavery to Freedom 1824-1909
From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909 presents 397 pamphlets published from 1824 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches.

Historic American Sheet Music: 1850-1920
The collection presents 3,042 pieces of sheet music presenting a significant perspective on American history and culture through a variety of music types including, patriotic and political songs, plantation songs, spirituals, and songs from World War I. The collection is particularly strong in antebellum Southern music, Confederate imprints, and Civil War songs and music.

Narratives of the American South: 1860-1920
This compilation of printed texts from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill documents the culture of the nineteenth-century American South from the viewpoint of Southerners. It includes the diaries, autobiographies, memoirs, travel accounts, and ex-slave narratives of not only prominent individuals, but also of relatively inaccessible populations: women, African Americans, enlisted men, laborers, and Native Americans.

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books
This collection comprises books and periodicals published in the United States during the nineteenth century, primarily during the second half of the century. The materials selected illuminate the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
This collection presents twenty-three popular periodicals including literary and political magazines, as well as Scientific American, Manufacturer and Builder, and Garden and Forest: A Journal of Horticulture, Landscape Art, and Forestry. The longest run is for The North American Review, 1815-1900.

Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets
For most of the nineteenth century, before the advent of phonograph and radio technologies, Americans learned the latest songs from printed song sheets. Song sheets are an early example of a mass medium and today they offer a unique perspective on the political, social, and economic life of the time, especially during the Civil War. Online Civil War Exhibits

The Gettysburg Address

From the dozens of Lesson Plans on the Learning Page come these lessons on the Civil War:

Photojournalism: A Record of War
This unit explores how and why war has been photographed and will also give students an opportunity to see the bias within the recording and reporting of war.

What Do You See
Students use skills to analyze photographs and study how the war was a catalyst to America’s industrial development.

After Reconstruction: Problems of African Americans in the South
Students use a timeline of African American history (1852-1925) to identify problems and issues facing African American immediately after Reconstruction.

The Mathew Brady Bunch: Civil War Newspapers
Students become reporters, assigned to sort through photographs in the Library’s collection and find one that will bring the war alive to their readers.
Copyright 2002 WETA. All rights reserved.