THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Americas studies blog

10 February 2011

The U.S. Civil War on the Web: a guide [updated 2.8.11]

U.S. history titles on the Civil War probably outnumber any other historical subject (although WWII may give it a run for its money); the same is probably true for the web.  As part of our Civil War project, we plan to curate some of it - selecting the best or the first ports of call. 

1. Discovering the Civil War

Site: http://archives.gov/exhibits/civil-war/

Description: Linked to the National Archives exhibition (from 30 April 2011), but also serving as a guide to their resources, with an excellent guide to existing National Archive-related materials, such as Kevin J. Foster's 'The Diplomats Who Sank a Fleet:
The Confederacy's Undelivered European Fleet and the Union Consular Service'
 (Prologue, Fall, 2001).  The site and exhibition also sees things in global terms.

Includes digitised collection items, guides and multimedia materials.

Follow them on Twitter.

Audience: General public, schools, librarians, undergraduates

Date visited: 2011-02-01

2. Southern Cultures: the sesquicentennial: how should we remember the Civil War?

Site: http://www.southerncultures.org/content/read/read_by_subject/civil_war/

Description: featured content from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including older articles and new essays focussing on the Civil War in collective (Southern) memory.  Links to selected articles from the journal Southern Cultures via Project Muse.

Audience: undergraduate and research.

Date visited: 2011-03-08

3. Places in History (Library of Congress)

Site: http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/placesinhistory/archive/2011/20110301_descriptiveintro.html

Description: Beginning March 4, 2011 until April 20, 2015, the Geography and Map Division will post selected maps from its digitized collections relating to political and economic issues leading up to the Civil War as well as military maps ranging from maps of minor skirmishes to major battles during the week of the 150th anniversary of those conflicts. Each map is accompanied by text discussing the selected maps, as well as citations and references. The site will be updated weekly during the four year anniversary of the Civil War and a keyword searchable weekly archive accompanies the site.

See also: Library of Congress Civil War Maps.

Audience: General public, schools, librarians, undergraduates

Date visited: 2011-03-08

4. Civil War Resources: Teaching the Sesquicentennial

Site: http://blog.historians.org/resources/1289/civil-war-resources-teaching-the-sesquicentennial

Description: A collection of useful teaching resources links from the American Historical Association. Includes links to lesson plans.

See also: http://blog.historians.org/resources/785/civil-war-resources

Audience: teachers, students, general public, academics

Date visited: 2011-02-22

5. Union or Secession: Virginians Decide (Library of Virginia) 

Site: http://www.virginiamemory.com/online_classroom/union_or_secession/

Description: Drawn primarily from the collections of the Library of Virginia, Union or Secession: Virginians Decide presents private letters, public debates, and other records that allow Virginians who experienced the crisis between the autumn of 1860 and the summer of 1861 to explain their thoughts, fears, and decisions in their own words. Union or Secession also contains the life stories of forty Virginians who experienced slavery, the sectional tensions of the 1850s, the secession crisis, and the split of their state into two.

Audience: teachers, schools, general public, researchers

Date visited: 2011-03-30

6. Life and Limb.  The Toll of the American Civil War (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

Site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/LifeandLimb/

Description: The perspectives of surgeons, physicians, and nurses are richly documented in the history of Civil War medicine, which highlights the heroism and brutality of battlefield operations and the challenges of caring for the wounded during wartime. Yet the experiences of injured soldiers during the conflict and in the years afterwards are less well-known. Life and Limb: The Toll of the Civil War focuses on disabled veterans and their role as symbols of the fractured nation.

Audience: teachers, schools, general public

Date visited: 2011-03-30

Reviews, etc:

McPherson, James M., 'What Drove the Terrible War' (A. Foreman, A World on Fire; G. Gallagher, The Union War, A. Goodheart, 1861; D. Goldfield, America Aflame; G. Rable, God's Almost Chosen Peoples), review article in New York Review of Books, 14 July 2011. [accessed 2 Aug 2011]  Review contained additional footnotes to the printed article.

[M.J.S.]

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