Current Exhibition

What They Wrote, What They Saved: The Personal Civil War exhibition

What They Wrote, What They Saved: The Personal Civil War

October 15, 2014 to March 20, 2015

This exhibition features diaries, letters, and firsthand accounts from four years of Civil War that offer intimate glimpses into the lives of men and women affected by the strife. The words were written in parlors, hospitals, and schoolrooms; around campfires and on tossing ships; to and from mothers, brothers, and sweethearts, teachers, soldiers, and sailors.

Inside the Collections

[Members of the Blackwell family in Martha’s Vineyard, ca. 1906. Courtesy of the Schlesinger Library,   Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Collection Number: MC 411]

Those Extraordinary Blackwells: Leaders of Social Reform in 19th- and 20th-Century America

In January 2013, the Schlesinger Library received a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission to digitize its archival collections of the Blackwell family. The holdings contain close to 120,000 pages spread over five collections and spanning almost 200 years (1784–1981).

Picks & Finds

[Jessie Hainning Rupert (detail from program for the 43rd reunion of the 34th Massachusetts Regiment), 1908. Courtesy of Schlesinger Library]

“Angel of the Shenandoah”

A new collection of papers of a Civil War heroine has arrived just in time to coincide with the opening of the Schlesinger Library’s exhibit, What They Wrote, What They Saved: The Personal Civil War. Known as the "Angel of the Shenandoah," Jessie Hainning Rupert (1831–1909) was born in Scotland and moved with her family to Ohio in the 1830s.

[July 1972 inaugural issue of Ms. Courtesy of Schlesinger Library]

Behind the Scenes at Magazines

How do "ordinary women" describe their lives, construct identity, experience, and participate in mass media and culture? How can historians learn about the lived experience of most women, whose lives are outside of the public eye? One approach is to examine letters written to trusted magazines.