Ceremonial sword presented to Gen. George Gordon Meade
collection of the Atwater-Kent Museum of Philadelphia

Research Resources
A work in progress

The Civil War History Consortium
Collections Survey, 2003

CONTENTS -- in Adobe Acrobat format
> The Home Front/Civilians
> The African-American Community
> The Medical Contribution
> Militaria and Diaries
> Lincoln in Philadelphia
> Legacies: Monuments, statues, and cemeteries

Without doubt, Philadelphia was one of the most important cities, North or South, during the Civil War. It was the second largest city in North America; it was becoming the manufacturing center of the United States, soon to be known as "The Workshop of the World;" it had the largest free Black population in the north, it had two major arsenals, Frankford and Schuylkill; the largest Navy yard; it was the center of medicine and medical education. Philadelphia, quite simply, had everything and everyone needed to play a major role in the war. But Philadelphia has yet to be recognized as such. It is still, to most Philadelphians, let alone Americans, the heart of the colonial Country, the center of the Revolutionary War, the birthplace of our nation.

To prove otherwise, to get "beyond the Bell," the Civil War History Consortium was organized in 2001 among the major collecting institutions in the greater Delaware Valley region to create a new and better understanding of Philadelphia and the region's role in the Civil War. The intellectual history of the region and the war has been well documented, if largely ignored. Wars, however, leave a great deal of material objects and culture behind. To discover, and re-discover, the Civil War treasures of these institutions, the Consortium hired Dr. Cynthia Little to conduct a survey of the three-dimensional collections. Dr. Little's research led her to creating six subject groupings: the Home Front/Civilians; the Afro-American Community; the Medical contribution; Militaria and Diaries; Lincoln; and Legacies - monuments, statues, and cemeteries.

The survey results, presented here, demonstrate the rich resources with which the Civil War History Consortium can illuminate the Philadelphia area's role in the Civil War era - an important chapter in the narrative of the history of freedom in the United States.

--James Mundy, Director of Library and Historical Collections
The Union League of Philadelphia

Ed. Note: Introduction prepared for the Heritage Philadelphia Program grant proposal, fall 2004. Please note that these are the raw inventories of a field survey, not a finished report. Please note, too, that this survey did not attempt to inventory the full library and manuscript holdings of the member institutions organized as libraries and archives. For those, consult the institution's website for online catalogs, collection descriptions, and finding aids.


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