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The Civil War:

An Ephemeral Lens Into the Life and Times
Campaign flag reading Lincoln and Hamlin (1860), Gordon Block Collection of Lincolniana, Kislak Center, Unversity of Pennsylvania Libraries
Campaign flag reading Lincoln and Hamlin (1860), Gordon Block Collection of Lincolniana, Kislak Center, Unversity of Pennsylvania Libraries

On exhibit September 21, 2015 - March 21, 2016

Emphasizing the importance of ephemera—small printed objects not usually meant to be kept or preserved, such as envelopes, pamphlets, handbills, and sheet music—this exhibition provides a unique view of daily life in the Civil War on the home front and the front lines of both the Union and the Confederacy. Precisely because Americans encountered and used these items on a daily basis, they provided the immediate means through which the war's many participants communicated and built understandings of the history-changing events through which they were living.

Our Beloved Country: Civil War Pamphlets Published in Philadelphia

In 2010, the Penn Libraries reproduced a collection of twelve civil war pamphlets from the Libraries' collections. They represent Philadelphia's intellectual output during the war and stands as evidence of the intellectual ferment the war engendered. They illustrate how pro-Union constituents tried to maintain a cohesive movement in Philadelphia while promoting national reunification. Available for purchase here

Friday, October 9, 5:30 PM: Exhibition Lecture
A lecture on the importance of Civil War ephemera will be given by Edward L. Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond. Dr. Ayers is an eminent scholar of the American South and has authored or edited ten books, including In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863 (2003), which was awarded the 2004 Albert J. Beveridge Award from the American Historical Association and the 2004 Bancroft Prize for Distinguished Book in American History from Columbia University. Dr. Ayers co-hosts Backstory with the American History Guys and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2013.

Installation views of The Civil War: An Ephemeral Lens into the Life and Times

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