The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War provides a fresh opportunity to examine this watershed event in our nation's history and the profound impact it had on the lives of individuals. Many of the stories of those who lived during the period are told in the letters, diaries, photographs, and other documents that have been kept by families and handed down through the generations. Members of the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative, working with Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage and representatives from many local institutions, have partnered to create a statewide online collection of original Civil War manuscripts that remain in private hands. "The Civil War in Your Attic: Preserving the Legacy of Maryland and the Civil War" is a multi-year initiative to locate, digitize and provide worldwide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located in Maryland.
During the sesquicentennial of the war, "The Civil War in Your Attic" scanning events will be held at libraries and other institutions throughout the state. At these events, trained archivists, librarians, and digitization professionals will be scanning privately held manuscript material for inclusion on the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage website. The project focuses on items created between 1859-1867 that reflect social, political, military, business, and religious life around the time of the Civil War and early Reconstruction periods. Individuals are encouraged to bring original family materials to be scanned and included in the project.
How You Can Participate
1. Locate items within your family collections that document the Civil War and the Civil War era. Items suitable for the project include:
- Daybooks / ledgers
- Hand-drawn maps and sketches
- Military passes / discharge papers
- Pension materials
- Claims for damages
- Muster rolls, battle reports, dispatches, telegrams, paroles, oaths of allegiance
Items must be owned by the individual presenting the item for digitization. Materials that are photocopied and/or subject to copyright law will not be scanned. Documents do not have to be specific to Maryland.
2. Attend a scanning event. Be sure to bring as much information about the item(s) with you as possible. Appointments are strongly recommended. A schedule of scanning events and contact information can be found here.
Event Photos and Press
"Pratt Library Wants Your Civil War Documents," Baltimore Sun, July 13, 2011
Enoch Pratt Free Library scanning event photos, July 16, 2011
"Western Maryland Regional Library Hosting Civil War in Your Attic," Cumberland Times-News, August 6, 2011
Allegany College of Maryland scanning event photos, Aug. 6 and 8, 2011
Maryland History and Culture Collaborative - https://wiki.umbc.edu/display/mhcc/Home
Virginia's CW 150 Legacy Project - http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/cw150 (Note: "The Civil War in Your Attic" was modeled after this project.)