The Civil War in 50 Objects

Harold Holzer - Author

New-York Historical Society - Author

Eric Foner - Introduction by

Hardcover | $36.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780670014637 | 416 pages | 02 May 2013 | Viking Adult | 9.25 x 6.25in | 18 - AND UP
Additional Formats:
Summary of The Civil War in 50 Objects Summary of The Civil War in 50 Objects Reviews for The Civil War in 50 Objects An Excerpt from The Civil War in 50 Objects
The American companion to A History of the World in 100 Objects: A fresh, visual perspective on the Civil War

From a soldier’s diary with the pencil still attached to John Brown’s pike, the Emancipation Proclamation, a Confederate Palmetto flag, and the leaves from Abraham Lincoln’s bier, here is a unique and surprisingly intimate look at the Civil War.

Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer sheds new light on the war by examining fifty objects from the New-York Historical Society’s acclaimed collection. A daguerreotype of an elderly, dignified ex-slave, whose unblinking stare still mesmerizes; a soldier’s footlocker still packed with its contents; Grant’s handwritten terms of surrender at Appomattox—the stories these objects tell are rich, poignant, sometimes painful, and always fascinating. They illuminate the conflict from all perspectives—Union and Confederate, military and civilian, black and white, male and female—and give readers a deeply human sense of the war.

With an introduction from Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Foner and more than eighty photographs, The Civil War in 50 Objects is the perfect companion for readers and history fans to commemorate the 150th anniversaries of both the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Foreword by Louise Mirrer

Preface by Harold Holzer

Introduction by Eric Foner

1 Chains That Bind

Slave Shackles Intended for a Child, ca. 1800

2 The Human Face of Slavery

Daguerreotype of Caesar: A Slave, ca. 1850

3 Old Kentucky Home

Negro Life at the South, Painting by Eastman Johnson, 1859

4 For Sale to the Highest Bidder

The Slave Auction, Sculpture by John Rogers, 1859

5 Weapon of Last Resort

”John Brown” Pike, ca. 857-1859

6 John Brown’s Body

John Brown’s Blessing, Painting by Thomas Satterwhite Noble, 1867

7 The Animal Himself

Right Hand of Abraham Lincoln, Cast by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1886, from 1860 Original by Leonard Wells Volk

8 Secession, New York Style

To the People of Louisiana, their Executive and Representatives Greeting, Broadside, January 29, 1861

9 Where the Civil War Began

South-Western Angle of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, S.C., April 15, 1861, Photographic Print by Alma A. Pelot

10 “Flagmania”

Flag, 1861

11 The Palmetto and the Snake

Confederate Palmetto Flag, 1861

12 To Arms!

A Great Rush to Join the 36th Regiment, New York Volunteers, Woodcut, ca. 1862

13 Uniform Courage

Zouave Uniform, ca. 1861-1863

14 Divided Loyalties

Letter from Howard Cushing Wright to His Mother, 1861

15 Blarney from Bull Run?

Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War, Painting by Louis Lang, 1862-1863

16 “Reuniting” a Shattered Family

The Lincoln Family in 1861, Painting by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, ca. 1865

17 Distant Drums

Snare Drum, ca. 1860-1865

18 Thoughts of the Future—but Where?

Thoughts of the Future, Painting by Edwin White, 1861

19 There’s Something in It

Half Model off the USS Monitor, 1862

20 Key to Confederate Victory?

Cipher Key, ca. 1861

21 Hidden Glory

An Episode of the War—the Cavalary Charge of Lt. Henry B. Hidden, Painting by Victor Nehlig, 1862

22 A Diarist in Action

Diary of William Rothert, 1861-1862

23 Tailor-Made Souvenirs of Battle

Military Buttons Mounted on Card, 1860-1864

24 An Early Call to Recruit Black Troops

Petition to Abraham Lincoln for Recruitment of Black Troops, 1862

25 If My Name Ever Goes into History, It Will Be for This Act

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln, 1863

26 A Dentist Drills Lincoln

Writing the emancipation Proclamation, Etching by Adalbert Johann Volck, 1863

27 Frederick Douglass’s Call to Arms

Men of Color, to Arms!

28 Suffered Severely and Behaved Well

Emily J. Semmes to Paul Jones Semmes, Letter, June 1, 1863

29 Emancipated by War

Arrival at Chickasaw Bayou of Jefferson Davis’ Negroes from His Plantation on the Mississippi Below Vicksburg, Mississippi, Drawing by Frederick B. Schell, ca. 1863

30 Wallpaper News for Cave Dwellers

The Daily Citizen, Newsprint on Wallpaper, 1863

32 Charred Survivor of an Urban Riot

Bible Used at Colored Orphan Asylum, ca. 1863

33 Traveling Light

Footlocker with Belongings, 1860-1890

34 Learning to Read, Dixie Style

The First Dixie Reader, 1864

35 An Ovation—and a Banner—for Black Troops

Presentation Address of the Ladies of the City of New York to the Officers and Men of the Twentieth United States Colored Troops, 1864

36 A Modern Major General

Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885), Painting by James Reid Lambdin, 1868

37 All’s Fair

Entry Ticket for the New York Metropolitan Fair, 1864

38 The Faces of War

Photograph Album Presented to Major M. S. Euen by Co. C, P.P., 1860-1869

39 Strong Opinions

Entries from the Diary of George Templeton Strong, 1864

40 Prison Art

Point Lookout Sketches, Watercolor Drawings, 1864

41 Tribute from a Bad Man?

Colored Troops Before Richmond, Engraved Silver, 1864-1865

42 Political Dirty Tricks

The Miscegenation Ball, Lithograph, 1864

43 Lincoln’s Worst Mistake?

Campaign Flag, 1864

44 Counting Votes, Lincoln’s Way

Projection of November 1864 Election, Abraham Lincoln, 1864

45 Publish or Perish?

Prison Times, Newspaper, 1865

46 The Draft That Really Ended the War

Terms of Surrender, April 9, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant

47 Bloody Good Friday

Letter from Clara Harris to Mary, April 25, 1865

48 A Sprig from Lincoln’s Bier

Framed Leaves Abraham Lincoln’s Bier, 1865

49 A Helping Hand for the Wounded Veteran

Autograph Letter from Joe W. Mersereau to William Oland Bourne, 1865

50 It Winds the Whole Thing Up

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Manuscript, 1865



List of Objects


To keep up-to-date, input your email address, and we will contact you on publication

Please alert me via email when:

The author releases another book