Category Archives: Holidays

“Independence Forever”–except in Vicksburg

To commemorate 1826’s July Fourth celebrations in Quincy, Massachusetts—which marked the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence—the organizing committee approached the town’s elder statesman, John Adams. Adams, the single most important voice of the independence movement in the Second … Continue reading

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July 4, 1864: “From 10,000 to 20,000 voices…singing, The Star Spangled Banner”

Many of the Union soldiers captured at the Battle of New Market were eventually sent to the infamous Confederate stockade known as Andersonville. I’ve been reading some accounts of soldiers who were there and came across this account of Fourth … Continue reading

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Happy Independence Day!

It’s a holiday rooted in the Revolutionary War and celebrated during the Civil War era. When the thirteen colonies declared themselves “free and independent” from Great Britain in 1776, they launched a great experiment of freedom which culminated in the … Continue reading

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The Significance of June 19 in the Civil War Era—and Beyond

Amidst seemingly constant reminders that genuine equality for all in the United States remains elusive, it is worth remembering that today, June 19, has repeatedly been a momentous one for the cause of American freedom—particularly with regard to race.  While … Continue reading

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For Father’s Day: “We…look…steadfastly before”

Recently Library of Congress added new photographs to the online archives of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs. Scrolling through, we found this wonderful image of a Civil War dad and his young son:

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The Origins of Memorial Day

Across the country there will be Memorial Day ceremonies today. I recently had the chance to visit two towns that claim the origins of Memorial Day.  Last September I was in upstate New York, near Waterloo. Reading up on the … Continue reading

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“Strew the fair garlands where slumber the dead”

I have always loved ephemera—those bits and pieces of printed paper, originally meant to have only short-term popularity. I particularly like old postcards from the end of the 19thcentury up through the 1920s. Commercial artists like Ellen Clapsaddle and lithographers … Continue reading

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For Mother’s Day: “If All That Has Been Said”

President Lincoln made some remarks at the Patent Office Fair in Washington City, an event had been organized to raise funds for the Union war effort and support the work of the U.S. Christian Commission. Mrs. Lincoln and Robert also … Continue reading

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Easter “Outside My Window”

LeRoy Wiley Gresham’s diary offers remarkable insight to an invalid’s life, the reporting of news on the homefront, culture and literature, and medical practices. The Georgian teenager found himself suffering from a cruel disease that racked his body and worsened … Continue reading

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Returns To The General Store

Late one evening two researchers – who may or may not have stumbled upon a strong drink concoction – opened a dusty box deep in an archival basement. They thought they found a security tape from a department store and … Continue reading

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