As the only important museum in New York during the Civil War, the New-York Historical Society became the natural home for objects, images, works of art, documents, manuscripts, and more pertaining to the Civil War era that were collected during the war and immediately after (and ever since). For example, the New-York Historical Society Manuscript Department has over 400 collections of letters, diaries, military accounts, and administrative correspondence relating to the Civil War. Some of the highlights of the include Ulysses S. Grant’s terms of surrender given to Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House; letters from Walt Whitman to the family of a soldier hospitalized in Washington, D.C.; and a letter from Clara Driscoll, who sat in the President’s box at Ford’s Theater and witnessed Lincoln’s assassination.
These treasures are complemented by important photographic archives and printed materials, which include thousands of pamphlets on the contentious political, philosophical, and religious debates concerning slavery and the slave trade in the years leading up to the war. In 2004 the Civil War collections at New-York Historical reached an unparalleled breadth and depth when the Gilder Lehrman Collection, a unique archive of primary sources in American history, was placed on deposit at the Society and made available to researchers.
NEH Summer Scholars will have access to the New-York Historical Society’s world-renowned research library and museum collections. During the Institute, the library will be open for research on an extended schedule for participants, Monday-Friday from 9 am–4:30 pm, except on Monday, July 14 and Friday, July 25. Additionally, the library has a wealth of digitized collections that can be accessed online from any location, including manuscript collections relating to slavery, the New York African Free School collection, and Civil War Treasures.
Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own laptops. The library has a limited number of public computers Summer Scholars can take advantage of during library hours. A small number of laptops may be available for check out by Summer Scholars. Participants will have access to the institute classroom from 8:30 am-5 pm each day, which includes free wifi and printing.
Participants will receive copies of all books on the reading list, films screened during the Institute, a course pack of primary sources recommended by the scholarly faculty, and relevant curriculum materials and exhibition catalogs from past New-York Historical Society exhibitions.
“Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.”