POSTED: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - 2:04am
Baton Rouge, LA — In commemoration of the ongoing sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, and in particular of the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Battle of Baton Rouge, LSU Libraries Special Collections presents the exhibition “Old Times Here Are Not Forgotten: Remembering the Civil War,” on display in Hill Memorial Library July 30 – November 10. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Speaking to the Women’s Loyal League in New York City in 1865, Frederick Douglass asserted that a “battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it.” “Old Times” offers visitors an opportunity for such reflection, through a variety of unique Civil War materials from the holdings of Special Collections.
Contemporary letters and diaries tell the harrowing stories of both civilians and soldiers who experienced the war in and around Baton Rouge. A large watercolor map of the Battle of Baton Rouge identifies the important buildings in town, as well as the positions of combatants and “property burnt for the defenses,” while contemporary military reports and hand-drawn sketches offer more details. Photographs taken by Andrew Lytle show a ravaged Baton Rouge occupied by Federal troops.
Works printed in the Confederacy during the war offer testimony to the daunting economic and organizational challenges the would-be nation faced and to the high price its citizens paid, both in lives and livelihoods. The war inspired a flurry of musical composition in the South, where patriotic songs were used to boost morale on both the home front and on the battlefield. Examples ranging from the “Dixie War Song” to “The Southern Marseillaise” published by A. E. Blackmar are on display.
A war not forgotten, the Civil War’s long-lasting impact on our nation and the strength of the LSU Libraries Special Collections is reflected in an array of modern scholarly works based on research conducted using Special Collections resources. In addition, selected books from the Michael Lehman Williamson Collection of Civil War Books for Young People will be on display in the second floor gallery under the title “Blue and Gray for Boys and Girls.”
In addition to this exhibition, LSU Libraries Special Collections has participated in several major commemorative projects related to the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Special Collections digitized numerous manuscript and print resources, contributing significantly to the “Civil War in the American South,” a sesquicentennial project of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. The materials are accessible at http://american-south.org/institutions/luu  or via the Louisiana Digital Library at http://tinyurl.com/LSULibSCCivilWar .
Last year, the LSU Libraries presented the exhibition “The Dear Ones at Home: Women’s Letters and Diaries of the Civil War Era” to mark the anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Information on the exhibition and featured materials is available at http://hill.blogs.lib.lsu.edu/2010/12/the-dear-ones-at-home .
Hill Memorial Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. When classes are in session, the library is open Tuesday evenings until 8 p.m. Paid parking is available at the Visitors’ Center, Memorial Tower and Mike the Tiger’s Habitat. For more information, visit the LSU Libraries Special Collections website at www.lib.lsu.edu/special .