University Library displays Civil War collection

Erin Vanjo

Now in its 150th year of anniversary, the American Civil War is being outlined by Special Collections and Archives at University Library with two exhibits full of materials that help tell the story.

“We wanted to showcase our Civil War holdings and provide an overview of the kinds of materials we have in the collection,” said Cara Gilgenbach, associate professor and head of Special Collections and Archives.

The first exhibit features items from the Special Collections and Archives Civil War holdings. These materials include diaries, letters and official military documents, books, periodicals and literary works with Civil War themes, Gilgenbach said.

The second exhibit focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The items in this exhibit surround the year of Lincoln’s death in 1865.

“We are featuring a very large and striking photograph of The Old Nashville,” Gilgenbach said.

The subject of the is one of the engines that escorted Lincoln’s funeral train through Ohio after it left Washington, D.C.

“Many people are very interested in the military details of the war, so there are several pieces of documentation related to military operations and supplies included that will likely be intriguing to those viewers,” Gilgenbach said. “Other viewers are interested in how the war was experienced by individuals, be they soldiers or civilians.”

Amanda Faehnel, public services librarian for Special Collections and Archives, said one of her favorite pieces are the Sylvester Daman papers, which include letters to the Army sergeant’s wife and son while on active duty.

Gilgenbach said she hopes patrons of University Library take away an understanding of the vast amount of material Special Collections and Archives manages on the Civil War and that they discover something of personal interest.

Exhibits for the 2012 academic year will focus on the centennial of University Libraries. The exhibits will feature the history of library services at Kent State University, said Gilgenbach.

“Our primary goal in all of our exhibits is to help the KSU community and general public learn about the rare and unique collections available to them through Special Collections and Archives,” Gilgenbach said.

The Civil War exhibits can be viewed on the 12th floor of University Library from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. through June 29.

Contact Erin Vanjo at [email protected].