Case 5: 1878-1900

Adventure series for boys enjoyed mass popularity by the 1890s. Authors such as Oliver Optic, Harry Castlemon, Byron Dunn, Charles King, Horatio Alger, Joseph Altsheler, and J. T. Trowbridge, many of whom began writing for young people during the war, became famous for their stories of ordinary boys involved in exciting escapades of war. Critics, among them author Louisa May Alcott, argued that the series novels "glorified violence" and had no literary merit.

Nostalgic stories of plantation life emerged from Northern and Southern pens alike. "The southern concept of the former slave -- loyal during war to his masters, shrewd, with the wisdom of a contented and rooted peasant; and carefree, happily confident in his security under the plantations system -- this is the Negro of Thomas Nelson Page, Joel Chandler Harris, and Joseph William Eggleston," (Lively, 1957).


Lively, Robert A. Fiction Fights the Civil War: An Unfinished Chapter in the Literary History of the American People. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1957.

MacCann, Donnarae. White Supremacy in Children's Literature: Characterizations of African Americans, 1830-1900. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

MacLeod, Anne Scott. American Childhood: Essays on Children's Literature of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994.


1. Optic, Oliver. On the Blockade. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1891. Williamson Collection PS 1006 A5 O5 1891. (Reissued in 2001–see Case 12).

2. Castlemon, Harry. Frank Before Vicksburg. Chicago: M. A. Donohue,1892. Williamson Collection E 475.27 F669.

3. Harris, Joel Chandler. On the wing of occasions; being the authorized version of certain curious episodes of the late Civil War, including the hitherto suppressed narrative of the kidnapping of President Lincoln. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1900. Williamson Collection PS 1805 O5.

4. Dunn, Byron. General Nelson's Scout. Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Company, 1899. Williamson Collection PS 3507 U6614 G46.

Blue and Gray for Boys and Girls Home Case 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

United States Civil War Center, LSU Libraries Special Collections, 2002