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Localizing the War Between the States

Lecturer talks about how Northwestern and Evanston played a part in the Civil War

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April 7, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- How did Northwestern University students and Evanston residents gear up for the Civil War? Northwestern head fencing coach, former history lecturer and Civil War expert Laurie Schiller explains in this audio slide show.

Evanston was a fledgling town and Northwestern had barely opened the doors of its first building at the corner of Hinman and Chicago when the Civil War broke out. Schiller details how Northwestern students and residents of the young town mobilized to participate in the war and help the Union troops, tying the specific activities and responses of Evanstonians into the overall context of the war era. 

In putting together his comments, Schiller took advantage of many of the Civil War resources in Northwestern University Archives. These include minutes of Northwestern’s first literary group -- the Hinman Literary Society -- that refer to debates about the dissolution of the union and the relative merits of Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during their contest for the U.S. Senate.

University Archives holdings also document students and faculty who served in the Civil War, including Alphonso Linn, a member of the class of 1860 and Company F, 134th Illinois Infantry. The diaries of Carrie Walkup, a student at then North-Western Female College in Evanston, include letters she wrote to her fiancé who was fighting in the war. Other Civil War resources can be found at http://www.library.northwestern.edu/node/2384.