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

Ann Maria Davison

The recently digitized writings of Ann Maria Davison (1783–1871)six diaries (1847–1860) and the manuscript of an antislavery tractare the work of an educated, articulate, and devoutly religious Southern woman who was unequivocal in her criticism of slavery. 

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.