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Smithsonian Civil War: Inside The National Collection

Smithsonian Civil War is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book featuring 150 entries in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  From among tens of thousands of Civil War objects in the Smithsonian's collections, curators handpicked 550 items and wrote a unique narrative that begins before the war through the Reconstruction period. The perfect gift book for fathers and history lovers, Smithsonian Civil War combines one-of-a-kind, famous, and previously unseen relics from the war in a truly unique narrative.Smithsonian Civil War takes the reader inside the great collection of Americana housed at twelve national museums and archives and brings historical gems to light. From the National Portrait Gallery come rare early photographs of Stonewall Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant; from the National Museum of American History, secret messages that remained hidden inside Lincoln's gold watch for nearly 150 years; from the National Air and Space Museum, futuristic Civil War-era aircraft designs. Thousands of items were evaluated before those of greatest value and significance were selected for inclusion here. Artfully arranged in 150 entries, they offer a unique, panoramic view of the Civil War.

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: Smithsonian Books (October 29, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1588343898

ISBN-13: 978-1588343895

Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.2 x 11.3 inches

Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #184,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #17 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Military #194 in Books > History > Americas > United States > Civil War > Campaigns & Battlefields #1899 in Books > History > Military > United States

In 150 slim chapters, beginning with the Smithsonian before the Civil War to the creation of the Lincoln penny, some very remarkable objects and their stories are revealed in Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection. The Institution was a creature of antebellum politics. Slave holding Congressmen resisted the passage of the 1846 Congressional bill to establish the Smithsonian Institution. Yet the future president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, was the regent of the Smithsonian from 1847 to 1851; his circa 1855 photographic portrait graces an early page of the book. During the war years the Smithsonian Secretary was Joseph Henry who was a vocal advocate of slavery; he and his family lived the the building that included a museum, a library and other facilities. Henry refused to fly the U.S. flag over the building. He believed that the flag was an invitation for Confederates to fire on the building and its neighborhood.Generally, the chapters consist of one page of narrative and one to three pages of photographs of objects. For example Chapter 10, John Brown, has one page of narrative divided into two columns; between the columns is a photo of one 950 pikes "that Brown acquired to arm slaves incited to rebel by his rat on Harper's Ferry." The second page is a photographic image of Brown [not bearded] taken in the mid-1850s by Augustus Washington, and African American. The third and fourth pages includes a small photographic image of Brown [bearded] taken in 1858, photos of weapons used by Brown in Kansas [44. caliber Sharps rifle, 52 caliber Sharps carbine, .31 caliber six -shot revolver] and August 10 1857 personal letter from John Brown to George Stearns regarding funds that bought the arms used in Kansas.

Established in 1846, The Smithsonian Institution has often been described as “the nation’s attic.” Stored within its many museums and research facilities are 137 million items, the treasures of the United States. Its facilities contain items from every era of American History, including the 1903 Wright Flier, and Archie Bunker’s chair from the television series “All in the Family.”One Hundred Fifty years have passed since the end of the Civil War, and the Smithsonian’s collection of items related to the war began during the war and continues to grow today. The very best of the Smithsonian’s collection has been gathered together in a lush “coffee table” book, “Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection.”Issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, “Smithsonian Civil War,” contains 150 brief chapters, each dedicated to some aspect of the war, its participants, or items in the Smithsonian’s collections. Its article by article narrative begins with the antebellum era, works its way through the war and ends with reconstruction. It also spans the breadth of those who experienced the war, from Secessionist “Fire-Eaters,” abolitionists, The Union, the Confederacy and also African-Americans; men, women and children.Contained within its covers are hundreds of photographs, sepia toned, black and white, and lush color photographs of the items within the institutions vast collections.

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