The Civil War In 15 Objects

Harold Holzer – Hunter College

This illustrated talk invites us to reimagine the bloody, transformative American Civil War—and the men and women who fought it—through surviving objects that they wore, wrote, carried, painted, sculpted, or collected during this transformative upheaval. From the iconic (one of the pikes John Brown’s abolitionist crusaders carried to Harpers Ferry, or the handwritten terms for Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox) to the startlingly rare (Lincoln’s secretly written estimate of his chances at re-election, or an impeccably preserved Union soldier’s uniform in the incongruous style of a Foreign Legion fighter), these relics vividly reflect the human side of the conflict, and its enormous impact on life, property, and the national social order.

All the treasures come from the collection of the New-York Historical Society, and were featured in Harold Holzer’s widely praised 2013 book, The Civil War in 50 Objects.