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Rosenbach Museum begins long look at Civil War

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. History organizations across the country will be rolling out events, exhibits and literature about the Blue and the Gray.

John Henry Brown agreed to paint a portrait of the future president, but would not vote for him.

One Philadelphia organization is jumping the gun. A local museum has started to blog the war in real time.

When did the Civil War start?

When the first shot was fired?

When did the South secede from the Union?

The Rosenbach Museum starts the clock the day Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Nov. 6, 1860. During the next five years, a few times each week, the museum will post images of original documents created on that day, 150 years ago.

Curator Kathy Haas says the blog begins with a journal entry by a Philadelphia-based portrait painter who voted against Lincoln in favor of Democrats John Breckenridge and Joseph Lane.

“Breckenridge and Lane being the only true representation of the equality of all the states, and also how the Republican’s fundamental principle is opposition to the further extension of slavery,” says Haas of the entry. “So it’s a nice one to get started on because it lays out the facts, the issues, and his own personal position all in one paragraph.”

Haas says the blog project will allow people to watch the events of the Civil War unfold day by day. She will draw on the Rosenbach’s extensive collection of presidential speeches, military correspondence, and personal letters by soldiers to their loved ones.

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