Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Civil War at Notre Dame

Writing in the Fall 2008 (#93) issue of Access: News from the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame, special collections curator George Rugg highlights a new group of 123 Civil War manuscript letters recently donated to the university -- the Barrier family letters from Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Until recently ND's Civil War collections have come mostly from the Northern side.

But you don't have to come to South Bend to sample ND's Civil War manuscripts. Many are on line -- both original images and transcriptions, with introductory notes and further reading suggestions -- at the Special Collections website. Among those items now online are

the diary of Grant County, Wisconsin, lead miner David B. Arthur (20th Wisconsin Infantry);

the diary of Pike County, Ohio, blacksmith William Cline (73rd Ohio Infantry, including Gettysburg);

29 letters from Lake County, Ohio, farm worker Charles C. Caley (105th Ohio Infantry); and

a 10 July 1864 battle report from Lt. Col. Edward Bloodgood on the march to Atlanta (22nd Wisconsin Infantry).

There are plenty more where these came from, both on and off line, and they're from all over -- I just cherry-picked those from my area of interest.

It's repositories like this that make a mockery of this blog's premise -- when you "specialize in the Midwest," do you also specialize in all the non-Midwestern items held, and meticulously transcribed and annotated (as these are) in a Midwestern repository? (Yes.) More importantly, it's a lesson in how much digging you need to do to find relevant manuscript collections on any subject. They could literally be anywhere, but Notre Dame is an interesting place to start.

(Full disclosure: these days my straight job is in an entirely different part of the university.)

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