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The African American Experience

Use our latest exhibit to learn about or teach the African American experience during the Civil War.

View the Exhibit »

From the Educators

February 2011
Dear Civil War Educator and Preservationist,

There's more happening in the Trust's Education Department now than ever before. The things on which we are working will be highlighted in this newsletter and elsewhere in the coming months. Some of the new and exciting items include: resources for your classroom, interpretation on battlefields, a book encouraging enthusiasts to get out and do things, and numerous web-based pieces that continue to make our website the best place for teaching and learning about the Civil War. In this e-newsletter check out our great new exhibit, our new Gettysburg Quiz, the Clara Barton bio and the new Teacher Institute Scholarship.

Thanks for all you do,

Garry Adelman, Director of History and Education


Michael Shaara Memorial Scholarship

Shaara Scholarship

Apply today for the Michael Shaara Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship for an outstanding teacher who uses literature and creative writing to teach the Civil War.

Find out More »

2011 Best Lesson Plan Sponsored by History™

Best Lesson Plan Contest

We are looking for the 2011 Best Civil War Lesson Plan. If you think you have a plan that will help other educators teach the Civil War send it our way. With a grand prize of $2,500, why wait?

Learn More »

Clara Barton Biography

Clara Barton

Learn more about the 'Angel of the Battlefield,' the woman who revolutionized healthcare in wartime and went on to found the American Red Cross.

Clara Barton's Bio »

Gordon Rhea: "Why Non-Slaveholding Southerners Fought for the Confederacy"

Gordon Rhea

Read Gordon Rhea's address to the Charleston Library Society given last month. Rhea, a highly esteemed Civil War scholar, has written several books and given scores of lectures in his career.

Read the Address »

Teacher Exhibits at the 2011 Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute 2011 Exhibits

All Teacher Institute attendees are invited to exhibit at this year's Teacher Institute. Teacher exhibits allow you to display your Civil War instruction with fellow educators because we all know that one of the best parts of attending a conference is learning from our colleagues.

Exhibit at the Teacher Institute »

The First Day at Gettysburg: Then & Now

Gettysburg Then and Now

Learn more about the Battle of Gettysburg's first day: July 1, 1863. Historian Tim Smith dispels myths and highlights the often overshadowed actions.

Read the Interview »


Book of the Month

Photo by Brady

Photo by Brady: a picture of the Civil War
By Jennifer Armstrong. New York: Atheneum, 2005.

Mathew Brady's name is so closely associated with Civil War photography that he is often credited with all photographs taken during the war, even those taken by his competitors. The phrase, "Photo by Brady," was affixed to each image produced by his studio and is an apt title for a book focusing on how photography was used to document history, both through portraiture and in battlefield pictures. Armstrong notes that Photo by Brady may be unbalanced because of the emphasis on the Eastern theater and on the Union but as she points out, "every photographer has to leave something out of the frame." It is hard to imagine that Armstrong has left anything out, and in fact, she invites readers to imagine the photos that were not taken during the war due to the limitations of the technology. The organization and narrative of the book mirror the photographic process of preparation of the plate, exposure, developing the image and fixing the image.

Brady, his studio, and his partner Alexander Gardner are introduced in the first chapter (preparation of the plate) prior to the beginning of the war. As the nation moved closer to war, Armstrong describes how Brady and Gardner used their connections and business acumen to document the event. Armstrong provides a broad overview in each chapter of the politics and battles and progress of the war and places Brady and his photographers in the context of each of those events. In addition to integrating the chronology of the war with the photographic documentation of battles, readers learn how photographers adapted to field conditions to take their photographs and how those photos, such as The Dead of Antietam, shocked the nation. Armstrong explains how the photos themselves evoke a response and she describes how the photos taken by Gardner at Gettysburg immediately after the battle differed from those taken by Brady several weeks after. This is a visually attractive book, from the glossy pages to the impressive primary source photographs and glass plates to the layout itself. After all these years, after the battlefields have become farmland, Brady has fixed forever the images of the soldiers and places they made famous for posterity.

Purchase Photo by Brady »

Civil War Photography Lesson Plan »

See More Book Reviews »


Trivia from the Archives

Trivia from the Archives

Q. In February, 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated President of the Confederate States of America in what southern city?

Q. In February, 1862, Ulysses S. Grant gained the nickname 'Unconditional Surrender' Grant after the capture of which Confederate fort on the Cumberland River?

Answers from the Archives »


Civil War on the Web

  • Georgia Stories: The Civil War and the Black Soldiers
    A fantastic stockpile of photographs and newspaper clippings examining the rise of the black soldier during the Civil War, and the reaction in both the North and South.
  • NOAA Civil War Map Collection
    Search the NOAA's extensive archives to find fascinating period maps of the United States, including the 1861 map showing the distribution of the slave population in the southern states which Lincoln consulted regularly.
  • The Library of Congress' Black History Month Exhibition
    Check out the website compiled by the Library of Congress which brings together all of their resources on the subject of African Americans in the Civil War, including a special 'For Teachers' section which provides lesson plans and student activities.

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