Blue and Gray for Boys and Girls

Introduction

Scholars have noted that cultural lessons are instilled in children's books. And as with war memorials, the debate over the Confederate battle flag, and other forms of popular and material culture associated with the war, children's books are less a recitation of particular historical events than they are a revelation of the modes of thinking that exist during the time of their creation. Varied in subject matter and style, these books project a complex mosaic of American identity, cast in the singular image of the Civil War.


Image from Gen'l Wm. T.Sherman: His Life and Battles by Ida Forbes

Established in 1994 for the United States Civil War Center (USCWC) by the B. Lehman Williamson family in memory of their son, Michael, the Michael Lehman Williamson Collection of Civil War Books for Young People features a unique treasury of books spanning the years from 1861 to the present. Other major donors include Bell South and Mrs. George Ann Brown who contributed in memory of her husband, Felton.

The collection includes more than 700 books from both Southern and Northern perspectives. The exhibit Blue and Gray for Boys and Girls represents only 10% of the entire collection. The USCWC continues to develop the collection; book donations are welcome.

The collection is available to researchers through the Special Collections division of LSU Libraries. Patrons are encouraged to contact Elaine Smyth, Curator of Special Collections, at (225) 578-6547, before visiting the collection.

Leah Wood Jewett selected the books for this exhibition and wrote the captions. Elaine Smyth prepared the labels and Buddy Ethridge mounted the exhibition. Sissy Albertine photographed the exhibit.

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