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‘Gettysburg: History and Memory’ exhibit marks battle's 150th anniversary

Jul 1, 2013 7:18 AM

A large exhibit at the USC Libraries marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg with a pairing of items from two major Civil War collections.

“Gettysburg: History and Memory” marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1 - 3, 1863. The exhibit will be on display in the Hollings Special Collections Library through September 27.

“It’s a battle that we remember differently from the other major engagements of the war,” said Jeffrey Makala, exhibit curator. “It is often described as the war’s turning point. We know it was the largest engagement of the war, and the costliest in terms of casualties. And the dedication of the battlefield and President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was delivered just four months later, so we have essentially been commemorating this battle from its inception.”

The exhibit is drawn from two major Civil War collections housed in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections: one formed by Civil War historian Francis A. Lord, who taught at USC for many years, and one formed by military historian Dr. Robert S. Chamberlain.

“The items on display show the complicated military history of the war, reveal tactics and training tools. There are books that officers and common soldiers would have had and used. There are also regimental histories, firsthand accounts (some as early as 1864), and tourist guides to the battlefield,” Makala said. “The true highlight is a first printing of the Gettysburg Address, dated 1863 and printed as a small, bound pamphlet. It includes Lincoln’s and Edward Everett’s addresses, the two featured speeches delivered at the dedication ceremony of the Gettysburg National Cemetery in 1863.

“We have been lent some remarkable manuscripts from USC’s South Caroliniana Library, including the diary of a Northern soldier taken from the battlefield with the evidence of a bullet hole running through it,” Makala said.

Special talks and other events are also planned to coincide with the exhibit, including presentations by some of USC’s 19th-century historians.

The Hollings Library is accessed through Thomas Cooper Library, the main library on the USC campus. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. For more information, including driving and parking instructions, visit

An audio tour is available for this exhibit.