|Frederic Edwin Church, Our Banner in the Sky 1861|
By Megan Piette
The Newberry Library has recently partnered with the Terra Foundation for American Art to bring together a collection of art, literature, music, and more to tell the story of what life was like in the North during the Civil War. This visual recreation features an online exhibit showcasing artifacts and pictures related to women’s work, patriotic music, and encounters with Native Americans. Here is a taste of an article about the exhibit from the Newberry website:
More than 150 years after it began, the Civil War still occupies a prominent place in our collective memory. Paintings and photographs, plays and movies, novels, poetry, and songs remind us of the struggle over the future of slavery, Lincoln’s determination to save the Union, and the brutality of brother fighting against brother.
This exhibition explores the deep connections between Northern home fronts and Civil War battle fronts, revealing that even those who lived far from the fighting felt the war’s effects every day. Home Front examines the cotton economy, visions of slavery and freedom, Indian wars, war relief work, and women’s changing roles as a result of the cataclysmic conflict. It includes paintings from the Terra Foundation for American Art and books, magazines, photographs, correspondence, sheet music, broadsides, and newspapers from the Newberry Library. Seen together, these objects of daily life demonstrate the profound impact of visual culture in shaping individuals’ understanding of the war.