Explore the Civil War at Brooklyn Public Library

August 27, 2007

A special exhibit, curated by Green-Wood Cemetery Historian Jeff Richman, will explore the borough’s role in the American Civil War. On display throughout the gallery spaces of Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) Central branch at Grand Army Plaza, the exhibit, Enshrined Memories: Brooklyn and the Civil War, will run from September 15, 2007 to January 5, 2008. A host of related programs, including a scholarly conference, lectures, films, and a concert, will accompany the exhibit.

This free exhibit features nearly 200 historic objects including uniforms, letters sent home from the battlefields, diaries and watercolor paintings from the Civil War era. Other artifacts to be displayed include battle flags, newspapers and photographs. Three-dimensional images of post-battle scenes can be viewed on Civil War era stereoscopes. Richman’s newly published book, The Final Camping Ground: Civil War Veterans at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery in Their Own Words, which chronicles the life stories of more than 100 of the brave soldiers buried at the Cemetery, will also be featured in the exhibit. The book, published by Green-Wood Cemetery, contains never before published Civil War diaries and letters and is accompanied by an illustrated CD biographical dictionary of the 3,000 veterans. Together, these historic relics offer a personalized view of the traumatic war between the Union and the Confederacy.

Highlighting the exhibit programming is a free Veteran’s Day Weekend conference featuring some of the nation’s leading Civil War scholars at the Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at Grand Army Plaza. The weekend-long conference kicks off with a special screening of Edward Zwick’s film Glory and concludes with a scholarly discussion on Civil War monuments.

This exhibit has been jointly created and sponsored by the Green-Wood Historic Fund and Brooklyn Public Library. It is supported in part by the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The exhibit also coincides with Green-Wood’s Civil War Project, an extensive initiative to locate the gravesites of all Civil War veterans buried at the Cemetery, which recently announced that it had located the final resting places of 3,000 soldiers. The cemetery also recently unveiled 1,200 new headstones with each veterans' name, rank and regiment – provided by the US Veterans Administration -- that will be installed at previously unmarked graves.

Free Event Schedule

Friday Night at the Movies
To complement the exhibition, BPL’s free film series “Friday Night at the Movies” will feature movies with the Civil War as an integral theme. All films will be screened in Central Library’s Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at Grand Army Plaza. For more information on this location, please call 718.230.2100 or visit www.bklynlibrary.org.

Drums in the Deep South(1951)
Friday, October 5, 6 PM
Two best friends find themselves fighting each other on opposite sides of the Civil War.

The Horse Soldiers(1949)
Friday, October 12, 6 PM
A Cavalry Union Cavalry outfit crosses confederate lines to destroy a supply center. Their secret mission is overheard by a southern belle who must be silenced.

Friday, October 19, 6 PM
A successful planter in Virginia is unwilling to take sides in the American Civil War. However, he is forced to become involved when Union soldiers mistakenly capture his son.

Ride with the Devil(1999)
Friday, October 26, 6 PM
Jake Roedel and Jack Bull Chiles are friends in Missouri when the Civil War starts. After Jack's dad is killed by Union soldiers, they join the Bushwhackers who are loyal to the South.

Cold Mountain(2003)
November 2, 6 PM
A wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey to North Carolina to join his sweetheart.

Friday, November 9, 6 PM
Civil War re-enactor Robert Young introduces the film as the Color Sergeant for the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, Company B.

Civil War Weekend
The following, free programs will be held in Central Library’s Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture at Grand Army Plaza.

Key Note: History, Memory and Oblivion
Saturday, November 10, 10:30 AM
Civil War historian David Blight discusses America’s collective memory of the Civil War.

Panel: Brooklyn and the Civil War
Saturday, November 10, 2 PM
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Debby Applegate, Civil War historian David Quigley and New York City historian Barnet Schecter discuss Brooklyn’s role in the Civil War.

Music off the Shelves: Whitman and the Music of the Civil War
Saturday, November 10, 7 PM
The Brooklyn Philharmonic performs songs that were popular during the Civil War and the Whitman Project – an organization dedicated to performing the work of Whitman out loud – will do readings from the works of one of America’s greatest poet.

Panel: Artistic Representations of the Civil War
Sunday, November 11, 10 AM
Photographic historian Alan Trachtenberg joins literary scholar Alice Fahs and film historian Robert Brent-Toplin to discuss how artists represented the Civil War and how their works shape popular thought.

Panel: Memorials in Metal and Stone
Sunday, November 11, 2 PM
Kirk Savage, author of Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America and James Young, author of At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, discuss the ways in which public monuments forge collective memory.

Civil War Trolley Tour
This tour takes place at Green-Wood Cemetery
Monday, November 12, at 1 PM
Green-Wood Cemetery is a great place to see Civil War monuments and to hear fascinating stories about Civil War veterans. Join exhibit curator and cemetery historian Jeff Richman, who has led the cemetery’s Civil War Project since 2002, as he shares its best discoveries. Please call 718.768.7300 for reservations; space on the trolley is limited. Admission is $10.00.

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