Glimpses of the Great War Abroad and at Home, III

By: Martha Bace, Processing Archivist

This past week, we featured a series of blog posts dedicated to our current exhibition up in the Pearce Foyer of Gorgas Library. The exhibition, “Glimpses of the Great War, Abroad and At Home,” was curated by Martha Bace and Patrick Adcock and will be on view until mid-September. Read the first post and second posts of this series. 

2008.034.000012

WWI nurse, from the Wade Hall World War I photographs collection 2008.034

Materials from the following manuscript collections in the W. S. Hoole Library within the Division of Special Collections were used for the exhibition. Those interested in pursuing research on World War I or American military history should consider viewing these collections — many of these collections have more materials that are not currently on display.

Webber O. Brown. Mess kit. MSS.3186.

Henry De Lamar Clayton Bayonet, Sr. Papers. MSS.0313.

Andrew Dawson. Papers. MSS.1626.

Durst Family. United States Service Flag. MSS.0461.

Janie May Eppes. Scrapbooks. MSS.0461.

Alston Fitts. Letters and Photograph. MSS.0520.

Kenyon Putnam Flagg. Letters. MSS.2030.

Victor Hugo Friedman. Artifacts and letter. MSS.0545.

Mrs. Oscar Hall. Scrapbook. MSS.0611.

Wade Hall sheet music collection. Base call number M1646.

Wade Hall World War I photographs. 2008.034.

H.C. Howell. Artifacts. MSS.3822.

Arley E. Hughes Sr. Letters. MSS.3748.

Eli T. Hughes. World War I uniform and Outgoing Correspondence. July-September 1918. MSS.3748.

George Waring Huston. Materials related to the death of George Waring Huston. MSS.0724.

Walter Bryan Jones. Military artifacts. MSS.0788.

William March. Artifacts. MSS.0266.

Matthews family papers. MSS.3387.

John J. Sparkman. Artifacts. MSS.1319.

Third Liberty Loan. Subscriber window poster. MSS.3149.

Letter from Walt to Gypsy. MSS.1761.

Willie T. White. Papers. MSS.1548.

Joseph Wilbourn Young. Letters. MSS.1596.

Glimpses of the Great War Abroad and at Home, II

By: Martha Bace, Processing Archivist

This week, we are featuring a series of blog posts dedicated to our current exhibition up in the Pearce Foyer of Gorgas Library. The exhibition, “Glimpses of the Great War, Abroad and At Home,” was curated by Martha Bace and Patrick Adcock and will be on view until mid-September. Read the first post of this series from Monday

Over_There

Over There, Words and Music by George C. Cohan, M1646.C64 O93 1918x

Other items on display represent life on the home front.  Scrapbooks kept by Janie Mae Epps and Mrs. Oscar Hall show how the war was viewed by those left waiting for fathers, brothers, husbands, and friends to come home.  Newspapers were eagerly examined by those anxiously waiting for the latest word from the front.   The entertainment industry also did its part boosting morale with songs like “Over There,” “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” “After the War is Over,” and “When You Come Back.”  The sheet music for these and many other patriotic and sentimental favorites could be found in most homes across the nation.

Of particular note to me are the service flag and letters.  The service flag, featuring a white field bordered in red with blue or gold stars, hung in the windows of homes where a member of the family was serving in the Armed Forces.  The flags, which are still in use today, had one blue star for each family member serving.  However, the blue star was changed to gold if the family received notice of the death of their soldier.  And with the service flag, there are the letters… letters written by wide-eyed young men who had probably never been more than one hundred miles from their birthplace before… letters written by young men longing to be home with loved ones at Christmas… letters from soldiers describing the French and Italian countryside and the vehicles used by the Red Cross… letters written just to say “I’m fine” and “I was so happy to get your letter.”

F13.01

Telegram regarding Lt. George Waring Huston’s death, Huston Family Papers, MSS.0724

All these letters are interesting, but probably the most poignant item to me in the entire exhibit is the War Department telegram from the collection of the Huston family papers.  It was sent on November 18, 1918 – seven days after the Armistice was signed, stating that Lieutenant George Waring Huston was killed in action on October 16th.  You have to think that on November 11th, his family in Selma, Alabama, was jubilant thinking that their son would be coming home soon, only to have those happy thoughts crushed by a single sentence on a small tan piece of paper, just seven short days later.  Looking at the faces of these men and boys you see in the photos of this exhibit, most of whom are unidentified, you have to wonder if they made it back to the arms of their loved ones, or if instead, those patiently waiting loved ones also received one of the small, sparsely worded telegrams.

It has been fascinating to me to see this war – this “Great War” – virtually at first hand.  Reading the letters… examining the uniforms… looking at the faces of the soldiers… reminds me that many of us have a portion of this war in our pasts.  In my own family’s history, my recently wed great aunt, Catherine Smith, waited at home for her husband, Sergeant Oscar M. Smith.  Oscar was mortally wounded going “over the top” near Marne, France, on October 9, 1918; he died in hospital the following day – one month and two days before it was over, over there.  His is just one story among millions, and the University Libraries Division of Special Collections is fortunate to be the repository of many of them.

Glimpses of the Great War Abroad and At Home, I

By: Martha Bace, Processing Archivist

This week, we are featuring a series of blog posts dedicated to our current exhibition up in the Pearce Foyer of Gorgas Library. The exhibition, “Glimpses of the Great War, Abroad and At Home,” was curated by Martha Bace and Patrick Adcock and will be on view until mid-September.

Daddy_I_Want_To_Go

Daddy, I want to go, Words by Lt. Joseph F. Dunn and Music by Eddie Stembler, Wade Hall Sheet Music Collection M1646.S835 D23 1915x

It was the “Great War” – the war to end all wars.

On June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, sparking the kindling that ignited the ready-laid bonfire that was Europe.  By the end of August, Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia, Russia, and Belgium; Germany had declared war on France and Belgium; France had declared war on Austria-Hungary and was invaded by Germany; neutral Belgium was also invaded by Germany; and Great Britain had declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary.  It wasn’t until April 6, 1917, that the United States finally entered the conflict following the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and seven US merchant ships by German submarines.

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the University Libraries Division of Special Collections mounted an exhibit in the Pearce Foyer of Gorgas Library featuring selections from their collections that offer a glimpse into the lives of the men who fought in the conflict and their families and friends left behind.  The exhibit showcases material from several collections including: the Walter Bryan Jones papers; the Hughes family papers; the Schaudies, Ragland, and Banks families papers; the Wade Hall World War I photograph collection; and many others.

F10.01

Eli Hughes, Hughes family, MSS.3748

One of the more fascinating parts of the exhibit is the uniforms and military paraphernalia from the Walter Bryan Jones papers and the Hughes family papers.  The tunics especially command attention in that they are much smaller compared to the size of many 20-something young men today [Jones and Eli Hughes (whose tunics are shown) were 22 and 25 years old, respectively].  Besides the uniforms – which are interesting enough – the military equipment that is displayed shows only a small portion of what a soldier was expected to carry on his back.  Indeed, in a letter home to his mother, Arley Hughes (Eli’s older brother) says, “Mamma, we had a 12 mile hike from our last English camp to port.  Eli and I made [it] in good shape while some larger lads failed.  Honestly I believe I can carry 100 lbs. 12 miles in 6 hours.”

The majority of the photographs on display are from two separate collections.  The larger framed portraits are from the Schaudies, Banks, and Ragland families papers, while the smaller, “black and white” photos are from the Wade Hall World War I photograph collection.  Very few of the individuals in the photos from these two collections are identified in any way, which leaves you to wonder if they came home to their families or not.

 

 

Battle of Mobile Bay, Part III

By: Kevin Ray, Archival Technician

This week, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay, Kevin Ray gives an three-part account of the battle drawn from a combination of secondary sources and the two diaries held in the Division of Special Collections. All images are from these diaries, which were written by Ellsworth Hults and Eston C. Lambert, both of whom belonged to the Union. Read Part I from last Monday and Part II from last Wednesday.

FarragutLetter

Letter to be read aloud on all ships by David Farragut on August 6, 1864 from Esbon C. Lambert’s papers

Left alone, the powerful iron-clad ram Tennessee engaged in a furious battle with Farragut’s entire fleet. The fighting was brutal, deadly, and, at times, confused. Union guns were largely ineffective against Tennessee’s thick armor, but her guns were devastating against the wooden ships. She fired her guns and tried to ram the Union ships, but her slow speed made this difficult. In turn, Farragut’s ships attempted to ram the ram, which resulted in more damage to the Union vessels than to Tennessee. At one point, two Union ships managed to ram each other. Eventually, the Union Navy was able to inflict serious damage on Tennessee. Her smokestack was shot off, making it difficult to maintain engine pressure. Her exposed steering chains were broken, making it impossible to steer. A number of the gun ports jammed closed. Unable to continue the fight, and with Admiral Buchanan seriously wounded, CSS Tennessee surrendered at around ten in the morning.

The naval battle was over. Within days, Fort Powell was abandoned and Fort Gaines surrendered. Fort Morgan held out until August 23, when it too surrendered. Union forces had control of the entrance to Mobile Bay, but the casualty cost was high, and lopsided. Estimates vary, but the Union Navy lost over 300 men killed or wounded, including over ninety killed on the sunken Tecumseh. The Confederates lost just over thirty. Over 1500 were captured and taken prisoner, including Admiral Buchanan. The Union Navy also captured Tennessee and Selma, and added them to the Union fleet.

Today, Tecumseh and her crew still rest at the bottom of Mobile Bay, just off Fort Morgan. Both of the larger forts, Morgan and Gaines, are now museums. They help to tell the story of the Battle of Mobile Bay.

CoverofDiary

Map problems on the inside front cover of Ellsworth Hults’s diary

The W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library has two important primary source collections from Esbon C. Lambert and Ellsworth Hults that also tell that story in the words of the men who were there. Lambert served on board USS Itasca. His diary gives a brief entry for August 5, 1864, with a short narrative of the battle. His entries for the days before the battle likewise give short descriptions of the preparations that were being made. Hults, the paymaster aboard USS Galena, also kept a diary. Hults’s ntries for the days before, during, and after the battle are longer than Lambert’s, and include more detail. His diary includes two hand drawn maps showing the locations of landmarks, fortifications, and ships. Helpfully, a typed transcript is included with the dairy as well as a handwritten copy of an order from Admiral Farragut, dated August 6, 1864. This order, commending the Union officers and sailors after the battle, was read from the quarterdeck of every ship in Farragut’s fleet that day. These small, but important collections each tell part of the story of the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Bibliography

Bergeron, Arthur W., Jr. Confederate Mobile. Jackson, MS and London: University Press of Mississippi, 1991.

Ellsworth Hults diary. February-December 1864. MSS.3735. University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Esbon C. Lambert diary and letters. 1863-1864. University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Friend, Jack. West Wind, Flood Tide: The Battle of Mobile Bay. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004

Hearn, Chester G. Mobile Bay and the Mobile Campaign: The Last Great Battles of the Civil War. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1993.

Smith, C. Carter, Jr., ed. Two Naval Journals: 1864. Southern University Press, 1964.

Waugh, John C. Last Stand at Mobile. Abilene, TX: McWhiney Foundation Press, 2001.

 

 

 

 

Battle of Mobile Bay, Part II

By: Kevin Ray, Archival Technician

This week, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay, Kevin Ray wrote a three-part account of the battle drawn from a combination of secondary sources and the two Union diaries by Ellsworth Hults and Eston C. Lambert. These two diaries are held in the Division of Special Collections. If you need a refresher, Monday’s post contained Part I. Part III will be posted on Monday, August 11, so check back soon!

Farragut had a large advantage in numbers. His fleet totaled eighteen ships. Of these, fourteen were wooden ships and four were iron-clad monitors. His battle plan was to steam past Fort Morgan’s guns and into the relatively deep water at the south end of Mobile Bay. To protect his smaller gunboats, Farragut ordered that each of them be lashed to the port side of one of the larger ships, away from direct fire from Fort Morgan. Thus tied together, the ships would steam into the bay in a line, two by two, following the iron-clad monitors.

Buchanan’s ships lined up just north of Mobile Point. Their battle plan was simple: attack any Union ships making it past the torpedoes and Fort Morgan’s guns. As the ships moved in, the Confederate artillery at Fort Morgan began firing. It was around seven in the morning.

MobileBayMap1

Map of Mobile Bay drawn by Esbon C. Lambert

Almost as soon the fighting started, the Union fleet found itself in a near calamity. The faster wooden ships were catching up to the slower iron-clad monitors in front. The lead monitor, USS Tecumseh, moved too far to the western end of the channel and into the torpedoes. As the Union line of battle slowed and began to pile up, Tecumseh hit a torpedo and sank within minutes, with the captain and most of the crew aboard. In the chaos, Admiral Farragut made a crucial, but risky decision. He gave orders to steer his flagship USS Hartford, and the gunboat USS Metacomet which was lashed to it, around the stalled ships in front of him. The new course went into the torpedoes. The ships behind followed the admiral. All risked destruction, but all made it through safely. Farragut’s command is usually rendered as “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Those may not have been his exact words, but the quote does express the sentiment of the moment. Farragut already had received intelligence reports that the torpedoes in the bay were largely defective, probably due to wet powder. It was still a risk to cross through them, but at that moment the only other options were to retreat or to stop in range of Fort Morgan’s guns. Farragut needed to keep moving.

Map2Detail

Detail from map drawn by Esbon C. Lambert

Having made it past the torpedoes and Fort Morgan, the Union fleet entered a small area in the lower bay where the water was deep enough to accommodate the larger ships. Upon entering the bay they were met by Buchanan and his four ships. The three smaller Confederate gunboats were soon attacked by Union gunboats and taken out of action. CSS Gaines was damaged and began to take on water. She tried to make it to Fort Morgan, but was grounded and eventually sank. CSS Selma was pursued by Metacomet, overtaken, and finally surrendered. CSS Morgan eluded destruction and surrender, and made a daring run that night from the lower bay to Mobile and safety.

Battle of Mobile Bay, Part I

By: Kevin Ray, Archival Technician

This week, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay, Kevin Ray gives an three-part account of the battle drawn from a combination of secondary sources and two diaries held in the Division of Special Collections. All images are from Ellsworth Hults and Eston C. Lambert’s diaries. Both men belonged to the Union navy. Parts II and III will be posted this Wednesday and next Monday.

DetailedAug5

Ellsworth Hult’s diary entry from August 5, 1864

In the early morning hours of August 5, 1864, Rear Admiral David Farragut ordered his fleet of United States Navy ships into battle against the Confederate forces defending the entrance to Mobile Bay. This moment was the culmination of two years of planning and anticipation. In April, 1862, Farragut had led the U.S. Navy up the Mississippi River and captured New Orleans. The fall of New Orleans left Mobile, Alabama, as the South’s only major port of entry on the Gulf Coast. Blockade runners, bringing badly need supplies into the South, made use of Mobile. Mobile’s railroad connections added to its strategic importance for the Confederate war effort. Farragut advocated attacking Mobile Bay, and perhaps even the city itself, since the fall of New Orleans. But he had to wait for two years. In Washington, there were always more pressing objectives.

While Farragut waited, Confederate forces around Mobile Bay prepared. A naval invasion of the bay would be difficult under normal conditions. It was shallow, especially at its northern end, and would not accommodate a fleet of large ships. In addition, numerous obstacles had been placed in the bay by the Confederates. More hazardous, however, were the torpedoes. These were mines that had been laid in strategic areas. The entrance was defended by two large forts, along with one smaller fort. Fort Morgan stood at Mobile Point, on the eastern side of the entrance. Fort Gaines, on Dauphin Island, occupied the western side of the entrance. The smaller Fort Powell was on a little island between Dauphin Island and the mainland. The only opening available to an invading navy was a narrow channel to the west of Fort Morgan and to the east of where the torpedoes had been laid.

BattleLineUp

Ellsworth Hults’ diary entry detailing the lineup of ships into Mobile Bay

A small Confederate fleet under the command of Admiral Franklin Buchanan waited in the lower bay, just above the entrance at Mobile Point. The fleet consisted of only four ships. Three of the ships, CSS Selma, CSS Morgan, and CSS Gaines, were small side-wheel gunboats. The remaining ship, CSS Tennessee, was Admiral Buchanan’s flagship and perhaps the most powerful vessel in either navy. Tennessee was a large iron-clad ram, so called because of the iron protrusion at her bow that was used to ram enemy ships. She was heavily armored with iron platting up to six inches thick. In spite of her great power, Tennessee had two serious weaknesses: she was very slow and her steering chains were partly exposed. Still, she could wreak havoc on the Union fleet.

Come back on Wednesday to read what happened next! 

 

 

Why should you develop special collections assignments for your classes?

By Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

Last week, I posted about how to consider using special collections in your class and how to request a class session for this fall. This week, I thought I’d go over some of the key reasons special collections can help make your class an enriching learning experience for your students.

HooleReadingRoom

Hoole Reading Room, one of two locations where we can host classes. The Williams Reading Room in Gorgas Library is an additional space where we are happy to host students.

  1. Primary source assignments are nearly plagiarism-proof. The items students work with in special collections can be changed from semester to semester and holdings are unique to each institution, cutting down on students’ ability to plagiarize.
  2. Students enjoy learning about primary sources because they are different. Rather than reading yet another essay or book chapter, they can read a first-hand account or examine an item from the time you discuss. As a result, they will create projects that are unique, exciting, and original.
  3. When students feel ownership over their intellectual ideas, they are more invested in the learning process. Primary source work may be a bit more difficult than the type of reading and analysis your students are used to, but they will be motivated to push through their learning curve by their ability to say something new about items that may be infrequently viewed.
  4. Special collections assignments combat student passivity. Students cannot just sit at home on their computers to do research or go to a familiar library environment. They are forced to move out of their comfort zone and become competent at searching for information in new ways. The outcome is that students will become able to do primary source research for future classes and they will be learn to be assertive and articulate about their ideas when speaking to librarians and archivists.
  5. Special collections pedagogy is an emerging field. You can distinguish yourself as an instructor in your chosen discipline or in composition pedagogy by working with special collections.

Need some help thinking about how to integrate special collections into your assignments?

  1. Contact Amy Chen. Email Amy at ahchen [at] ua.edu to schedule a meeting.
  2. Read about a successful initiative at UA. Check out our pedagogy series featuring Brooke Champagne’s first year writing classes from Fall 2013. This upcoming semester, the majority of honors first year writing sections will take archives as the theme of their course as a result of our successful collaboration.
  3. Read about a successful initiative elsewhere. TeachArchives.org profiles a multi-year project held at the Brooklyn Historical Society to bring primary source materials into college classrooms. TeachArchives.org offers a number of examples to get your creative juices going as you think about what to offer on your syllabus this year.

Want to see for yourself? Schedule a session.

Bring your class to the Division of Special Collections

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

AmyInOffice-1A

Amy Chen, waiting to hear from you!

Every semester, the Division of Special Collections invites University of Alabama faculty members as well as local teachers and group leaders to bring their students to visit either the W.S. Hoole Library in Mary Harmon Bryant Hall or the Williams Collection in Gorgas Library.

Follow this link to find the form used to request a session. Or, go to Hoole Library’s website, where more information is located in “Visit,” the upper left-hand quadrant. (Note: Hoole Library’s “For Instructors” page provides the intake form for those interested in coming to either Hoole OR the Williams Collection.) If you want to discuss this opportunity at more length, feel free to email Amy directly at ahchen@ua.edu.

Right now is the best time to request a section! Ideally, requests will be made at the beginning of the semester; at least two weeks’ advance notice will be required.

Read  more about instruction services offered by Amy Chen on behalf of the University of Alabama’s Division of Special Collections: 

Continue reading

Introduction to French Revolutionary Holdings

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

In honor of Bastille Day, this week Cool@Hoole will provide readers with a three-part overview of the Division of Special Collection’s French holdings. On Monday, early modern books were covered and on Wednesday, the French Enlightenment was explored. Today, on the last day of our series, we will conclude with a discussion of French Revolutionary pamphlets. 

To provide a brief history, the French Revolution began in 1789 when the French proletariat stormed the Bastille on July 14. In August, the National Assembly abolished feudalism and released the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen (Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen). June 1790 brought the abolition of the nobility and, in May 1791, the Assembly determined that all citizens are equal, regardless of their skin color. King Louis XVI accepted the Constitution on September 1791, but he was tried for high treason in December 1792 and executed in January 1793. By October 14, 1793, his Queen, Marie Antoinette, also was executed. Further executions would follow during the Reign of Terror, which lasted from roughly September 1793 through July 1794. In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte began his ascent to power; in 1799, he staged a coup that consolidated his rule as first consul. In 1804, he became Emperor, a title he would hold until 1815, with the exception of a period between 1814 and 1815, when he was placed in exile on the island of Elba.

During this time, pamphlets were used to discuss human rights, the roles of citizenship, and class identity. Alabama holds 319 French Revolution pamphlets, which have been digitized and are available on Acumen. Take a moment to explore these pamphlets, which have had their interior pages as well as their covers digitized. Privately printed and meant to be ephemeral, these pamphlets served as an important medium to keep everyday citizens abreast of political and intellectual events during this significant era of French history. Their preservation allows us to read the words that shaped the discourse of the Revolution, which changed the history of France and, eventually, influenced global society to begin to consider the rights of citizens.

The pamphlets pictured here are A mon tour la parole: réponse d’Anacharsis Cloots aux diatribes Rolando-Brissotines (1792) and Essai de Charles Chabroud, membre de l’Assemblée nationale sur l’organisation de la justice en France (1790).

AMonTourLaParole EssaideCharlesChabroud

If you are interested in seeing pamphlets held at other universities, check out those from Ball State, Emory, and Brandeis. The Newberry Library and the National Library of Australia also have substantial holdings in this area.

 

Introduction to French Enlightenment Holdings

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

In honor of Bastille Day, this week Cool@Hoole will provide readers with a three-part overview of the Division of Special Collection’s French holdings. Early modern books were covered on Monday and, on Friday, our series will wrap up with a discussion of French Revolutionary pamphlets. 

The French Enlightenment was a cultural movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth century in Europe that eventually spread and influenced the development of the United States. The Enlightenment attempted to reform society using reason instead of tradition and faith. Notably, it promoted science, skepticism, democracy, and the separation of church and state. Significant writers from the period included Voltaire and Denis Diderot.

JeanneDArcPucille

Image from La Pucelle (1789) Hoole Library Rare Books PQ2080 .P7 1789

Voltaire

Francois-Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, lived from 1694-1778. Voltaire, an anagram of his surname and the word “the young,” adopted this name to distance himself from his family and his past — however, Voltaire was only the most famous of pen names. In total, he used 178 different noms de plume while writing across numerous genres. His first play, Œdipe (1718), gave him a national reputation; he wrote it while imprisoned in the Bastille. Voltaire then spent two years in Britain; while there, he began to admire England’s constitutional monarchy and their greater support for free speech. The book he eventually composed on the topic of England’s superior government, Philosophical Letters (1778), was burnt. Over his life, Voltaire’s repeated confrontation with civil and religious authorities made him a role model for revolutionaries. Pictured here is his Pucelle, or the maid of Orleans (1796), an epic poem about Joan of Arc.

Continue reading