The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Massachusetts Finds Her Voice

The year 2011 marks the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Over the course of the next five years the MHS will mark this milestone with a number of public events, exhibitions, publication projects, and web displays. The first of these efforts, Looking at the Civil War: Massachusetts Finds Her Voice launched on the MHS website today.

Over the course of the next 52 months, January 2011 through April 2015, we will post one Civil War related item per month to our website. The selected item will be something either written in or related to an event that occurred in that month 150 years ago. The majority of these materials will be manuscript items -- letters, diaries, and other personal papers -- discussing some aspect of the war. We will highlight materials to represent the many voices of the citizens of Massachusetts: soldiers, statesmen, women, politicians, and children.
Each month the display will feature a digitized version of the document, available as a screen-sized image and in high-resolution, a full transcription of the document, and a short contextual essay.


To kick off the online exhibition we feature a draft letter from the John A. Andrew Papers, (collection guide available) in which Andrew, the newly inaugurated governor of Massachusetts, writes to Winfield Scott, general-in-chief of the U.S. Army, that Massachusetts will respond with "an alacrity & force" to any call for troops issued by the federal government. Andrew was the first governor to promise troops to the federal government, and when war broke out in April 1861, Massachusetts was one of the first states to answer Lincoln's call for troops to defend the nation's capital.

Be sure to visit our website each month to view the new object. In February, we will feature a letter written by Edward Everett in which he discusses the peace conference that met in Virginia and gives his opinion of the secession crisis. And plan to visit the library to view the larger manuscript collections from which these items are drawn.


Fans of our established Object of the Month can rest assured that the Civil War feature will run in addition to, not in place of the Object of the Month. So continue to look to that feature as well.





permalink | Published: Friday, 7 January, 2011, 1:00 AM