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Regional History Center’s online exhibition commemorates 150th anniversary of Civil War

April 6, 2011
Civil War exhibit poster

The image featured behind the exhibit's title is a commemorative Civil War memorial postcard sent to Julius Brown of Batavia, Illinois.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University has created an exhibit titled “Vestiges of a Nation Divided: The Civil War’s Impact on Northern Illinois.”

The exhibit, which is entirely online, features items from the Regional History Center’s archives, including letters, political cartoons and pictures from the Civil War era.

The war began April 12, 1861, with shots fired on Fort Sumter.

While exhibit documents originate from across the country, each has roots that trace back to the northern Illinois region.

They are displayed against a map of the United States to demonstrate that although the land was not used as a battleground, the war’s impact upon northern Illinois’ residents was far-reaching. Its farmers, doctors and tradesmen were sent to the distant corners of the country, while wives ran every aspect of the home in the absence of their men.

C.A. Butts, DeKalb, Illl., age 15.

C.A. Butts, DeKalb, Illl., age 15.

The online collection will be on display indefinitely. 

The Regional History Center is a unique component of NIU’s commitment to education, research and public service.

The center’s goal is to acquire, preserve and make available to the public the most significant historical records of the northern Illinois region. The center actively collects historical material from the 18 northernmost counties of Illinois, excluding Cook.

Since 1964, the center has evolved from a small university archive to a multifaceted research center containing three related sets of historical records available to researchers: Regional Collections, University Archives and Local Governmental Records.

For more information, call (815) 753-1779.