Special Collections Roadshow: Housewife

Meg Sutter ’16 and Megan McNish ’16 report from Gettysburg College’s Special Collections in Musselman Library. In this episode, they present a Civil War housewife used by Lewis W. Tway of the 147th New York.

Special Collections Roadshow: The Lewis W. Tway Collection


Meg Sutter ’16 reports from Gettysburg College’s Special Collections at Musselman Library. In this episode of the Special Collections Roadshow, she introduces us to the Lewis W. Tway Collection.

Lost: Sesquicentennial Sanity. If found, please contact Gettysburg Sesquicentennial Committee

By Kevin Lavery ’16

If you were in Gettysburg during the summer of 2013, you surely encountered the ubiquitous 150th Gettysburg logo branded on everything from promotional materials to souvenirs. The latter – tacky at best and irreverent at worst – filled the town to the point of excess, making some of us wonder how many people completely missed the point of the sesquicentennial. Anniversaries exert a powerful force on the American historical psyche, but it is dubious whether Gettysburg’s celebration exerted an appropriate one. The sesquicentennial was a wonderful opportunity to refocus on the events of July 1863, but sadly many businesses in Gettysburg seemed unable to look past their profit margins.

Two summers ago, huge crowds of tourists flocked to Gettysburg in order to experience reenactments, tour the national park, and engage with our sacred past. But the stench of unrestrained consumerism wafted incessantly from the heart of the town, threatening to draw these pilgrims away from hallowed fields and reverent ruminations. Who could concentrate on such abstract ideas like Freedom, Equality, Justice, and Patriotism with shelves of useless merchandise beckoning from just a few miles away?

Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections, Gettysburg, PA.
Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections, Gettysburg, PA.
Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections, Gettysburg, PA.
Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections, Gettysburg, PA.
Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections, Gettysburg, PA.
Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections, Gettysburg, PA.

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Pohanka Reflection: Rebecca Duffy on Petersburg National Battlefield

By Rebecca Duffy ’16

This post is part of a series on the experiences of our Pohanka Interns at various historic sites working on the front lines of history as interpreters and curators. Dr. Jill Titus explains the questions our students are engaging with here. 

On the morning of the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Opening Assaults at Petersburg, I carefully watched all that was happening. While there was plenty going on – children’s activities, cannon demonstrations and a camp of re-enactors – one tent seemed to constantly have a steady stream of visitors who all spent a significant amount of time there before moving on. The tent that was so popular was the archeology one. Visitors put on clean white gloves and examined bits of pottery, fragments of metal and dropped bullets neatly organized in trays indicating the area in which each was found. As an intern in Resource Management, the department which predominately deals with the preservation and conservation of the park’s cultural and natural resources, I, of course, am partial to archeology, but what was it that was entrancing all these visitors? So I got to thinking about why I love my own job.

Studies by historians Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelan indicate that many of us prefer a history which is directly pertinent to us, one we can grasp, and therefore humanize within a framework we are already familiar with: the stories of our families, the history of our communities and our own personal past. When we lack that sort of direct connection, artifacts can help build it for us. By sketching out a familiar context they can bring a story which may seem impossible to imagine close to us.

Duffy 2

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Pohanka Reflection: Stratford Hall Plantation

By Abby Rolland ‘15

This post is part of a series on the experiences of our Pohanka Interns at various historic sites working on the front lines of history as interpreters and curators. Dr. Jill Titus explains the questions our students are engaging with here. 

Reflecting on my time so far at Stratford Hall Plantation, I have realized that objects, and not just guides, offer interpretation to visitors. Yes, the docents have a wealth of knowledge about the house, but they cannot reveal every single piece of information about the rooms in the Great House. In order to fully understand the comings and goings of the Lee family, the placement of the objects must tell part of the tale.

Rolland 2

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Lewis Tway’s Tin Cup

On July 1, 1913, veterans of the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate, gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The anniversary activities served a dual purpose of commemorating the battle and those who p…

Katey_tway_1

On July 1, 1913, veterans of the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate, gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The anniversary activities served a dual purpose of commemorating the battle and those who perished there, and giving veterans the chance to come together and reminisce and share with each other experiences that few outsiders would be able to appreciate or understand. Despite worries that hostility may lie between veterans from the North and South the event as a whole was a harmonious occasion that ultimately commemorated the anniversary of one of the greatest battles fought on American soil.

For many, mention of the American Civil War conjures up notions of excitement and danger; these elements, while certainly present, had less of a presence than many of us would believe. In fact estimates say that up to 75% of a soldier’s time was spent marching and in camp, in situations that were relatively safe from the threat of combat. This led to periods that soldiers described as times of intense boredom.
Continue reading “Lewis Tway’s Tin Cup”

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