Document of the Month

January 2017 Document of the Month | An Appeal for Aid

By John Coski
Historian

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, an estimated 300,000 southerners, white and black, faced the real prospect of famine.  The immediate cause of the crisis was not the effects of civil war and emancipation, but drought and crop failure during the 1866 growing season. The Federal government, through the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands – the “Freedmen’s Bureau” – budgeted $500,000 in aid, and private organizations mobilized throughout the United States to raise and distribute money, food, and clothing.

December 2016 Document of the Month | Botetourt Broadside

By John Coski
Historian

One hundred fifty six years ago this month the American people were coping with the results of a contentious presidential election.

The people – more accurately the adult white male population – of Botetourt [pronounced BOT-a-tot] County in the Valley of Virginia held a mass meeting to discuss what could and should be done in the wake of Republican Abraham Lincoln’s election.  This rare printed broadside broadcast the reasoning and suggestions of that mass meeting.

October 2016 Document of the Month | Katherine Clay Stiles

By John Coski
Historian

Katherine Clay “Kitty” Stiles died a century ago on October 7, 1916. Who was she and why should we care?

Since 1899 she had served as the vice-regent, or de facto administrator, for the Georgia Room of the Confederate Museum, predecessor to The Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Museum. She helped make the Georgia Room one of the richest collections in the entire museum, focused not only on Georgia history, but also the history of the Confederate States Navy and the work of Cdr. Matthew Fontaine Maury.

August 2016 Documents of the Month | The Dog Days of Summer

By John Coski
Historian

The “dog days of August” seem like an appropriate time to spotlight the canines that appeared on southern state currency in the Civil War era. Before the Civil War, states, counties, cities, towns, banks, and businesses issued their own currency, and the vignettes (pictures) that graced those notes extended far beyond bust portraits of great men and classical figures and architecture.

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