This year The Gettysburg Compiler will be featuring the writing of over twenty students who are fellows at the Civil War Institute. All of our writers are Gettysburg College students who are interesting in writing about their journey uncovering the history of the American Civil War. Our students have a variety of majors and minors, but they are all connected by their interest in the past. They have an enthusiastic desire to share that interest with a wider audience. You, our readers, are this audience, and we invite you to share in their journey.
Many of you have read our previous blog entitled ‘901 Stories from Gettysburg’. We have changed the name and broadened the scope of the original blog so that we can allow students more freedom in their reflections on the war. We will still draw heavily from material culture, as we believe that archival research is essential for scholarship, but we also want to include other things that are important to our students. We chose our new name not to show any formal or editorial link with the nineteenth century paper of the same name, which we certainly do not have nor do we want to project, but we chose it mostly because a blog is a compilation of communicative mediums, and ours happens to come from Gettysburg. As such, our new blog will take a mosaic approach to historical writing, and we hope to capture a bit of the enthusiasm our students have for history. Those of us who work with these students get to enjoy that enthusiasm every day – we hope you will be just as inspired as we are by their voices.
As for our content, we will have posts from students interested in military history, social and cultural history, memory studies, and literary studies primarily. Students are currently researching topics not only on soldiers and battles of the Civil War, but also, about how the war is represented in contemporary culture, and how the war is (and has been) remembered. We will also be covering events on the Gettysburg College campus associated with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It is fortunate that Gettysburg will host some amazing events and speakers this year and we hope to report on these events for all of you.
As a virtual space, we hope that The Gettysburg Compiler will give students an opportunity to wrestle with the issues that are difficult for historians: to take the imperfect record of the past and find a way to communicate that record, with its many complexities and multitude of frustrations, with a basic degree of interpretative clarity. It is our hope to bring some of that past into the present for you all.
Photo Source: National Archives