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2012–2013 Teacher Institute Series

Educators, mark your calendars for one of our upcoming 2012–2013 Teacher Institutes in Antietam, Petersburg, and Gettysburg! These Institutes are offered free of charge to educators who attend. Informative workshops and battlefield tours are just some of the highlights of the Institutes.

Find out more about our upcoming Teacher Institutes here »

From the Educators

June 2012
Dear Civil War Educator and Preservationist,

Freshly back from our wonderful National Teacher Institute in Charleston we are feverishly getting ready for the 2012–2013 school year. The dates and locations for next year's institutes have all been finalized, the Traveling Trunk request form has just gone live, and material for the 150th anniversaries of the Battle of Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation are in the works.

This is going to be a school year full of big anniversaries and with that, plenty of opportunities. We currently have some great lesson plans dealing with these events including plans on the Battle of Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Fredericksburg, the United States Colored Troops (USCT), and the Battle of Gettysburg. This will also be a wonderful year to talk about the life of the Civil War soldier and life on the home front.

Good luck with your plans for the upcoming school year and please know that we are here to support you during your Civil War instruction.

Nicole Osier
Senior Manager, Education Programs


Charleston 2012 National Teacher Institute a Success!

Charleston 2012 150 educators gathered in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, for the 2012 National Teacher Institute. The Institute included two days of informative workshops, tours of Charleston and Fort Moultrie, and a private tour of Fort Sumter and dinner cruise around the harbor.

Find information about our upcoming Teacher Institutes here »


Michigan School Joins List of Elite Donors

Our Lady of Sorrows Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Michigan was featured in the Summer 2012 issue of Hallowed Ground for becoming an elite donor. Teacher Ron Jones and his students have contributed $110,000 toward Trust projects!

Learn more about Ron Jones and his school's fundraising efforts on behalf of the Trust here »


Biggest Battles of the Civil War

Biggest Battles of the Civil War Check out the Civil War Trust's new, concise infographic on the Biggest Battles of the Civil War. A quick and informative way to share Civil War information with your friends through Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Find the infographic and details on how to share it here »


Gettysburg and Vicksburg

Gettysburg and Vicksburg July marks the 149th anniversaries of the Gettysburg and Vicksburg campaigns – battles that changed the tone of the war and marked the beginning of the eventual Union triumph.

Think you know everything about Gettysburg? Test your knowledge with our "10 Facts about Gettysburg" »

Check out the Vicksburg National Military Park's "Virtual Museum" »

Books of the Month

An Unlikely Friendship Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmake

An Unlikely Friendship: a Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
Ann Rinaldi
Orlando: Harcourt, Inc. 2007.

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley & Mary Todd Lincoln
Lynda Jones
Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2009.

These two recently published books, one fiction (Rinaldi) and one non-fiction (Jones) trace the relationship between a woman born into slavery and the woman who became First Lady of the United States. In many ways, Elizabeth Keckley was more than Mary Lincoln's dressmaker; she was a trusted confidante and friend. Both titles focus on the disparity in their backgrounds: Keckley, fathered by her white master but born into slavery nonetheless, and Lincoln, the secret abolitionist born into a wealthy slave-holding family. Yet despite those major differences, they also shared some similarities: for Keckley, physical abandonment by her biological father, and for Lincoln, emotional abandonment by her father. Both women learned to rely upon their own skills to survive in a world that did not favor women. Keckley used her skills as a seamstress to earn her freedom and Lincoln used her intellect to advise her political husband. Their paths intersected in Washington, D.C. on the eve of Lincoln's election, when Mary Lincoln hired Keckley as her dressmaker, and their relationship continued in the years following the president's assassination. Their relationship evolved beyond that of client and designer to that of true friendship. Rinaldi's approach is to first tell Lincoln's story and then Keckley's, from their own points of view, while Jones presents the evolution of their friendship using alternate points of view. Rinaldi tells an engaging story based on fact and she gets inside the characters and Jones does likewise but without fictionalized dialogue. Jones's title includes photographs, although the greyed captions are difficult to read. Jones bases her title on Keckley's autobiography, which includes the dialogue; Rinaldi includes an author's note that describes the historical aspects of her historical fiction. These two titles are complementary and are recommended for grades 6 and up.

Special thanks to Rosanne Zajko for her book reviews! If you have a Civil War book that you particularly like, or would like to review for this newsletter, send it in to education@civilwar.org. Thanks!

Purchase An Unlikely Friendship »

Purchase Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker »

See More Book Reviews »


Trivia from the Archives

Trivia from the Archives Q. Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "House Divided" speech in 1858 for which occasion?

Q. The Democratic Party held two conventions during the presidential election year of 1860. Which two cities hosted the conventions?

Answers from the Archives »


Civil War on the Web

  • Teachinghistory.org
    Teachinghistory.org is now available for access on mobile devices. Follow this link to the Civil War lesson plans available on their site.
  • National Park Service Student Art Competition
    The National Park Service is sponsoring an art competition for high school students around the theme "Expressions of Freedom" to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Winners receive academic scholarships. Find competition details here.
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