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Home Front

Daily Life in the Civil War North

More than one hundred and fifty years after Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, the Civil War still occupies a prominent place in the national collective memory. Paintings and photographs, plays and movies, novels, poetry, and songs portray the war as a battle over the future of slavery, often focusing on Lincoln’s determination to save the Union, or highlighting the brutality of brother fighting brother. Battles and battlefields occupy us, too: Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg all conjure up images of desolate landscapes strewn with war dead. Yet the frontlines were not the only landscapes of the war. Countless civilians saw their daily lives upended while the entire nation suffered.

Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North reveals this side of the war as it happened, comprehensively examining the visual culture of the Northern home front. Through contributions from leading scholars from across the humanities, we discover how the war influenced household economies and the cotton economy; how the absence of young men from the home changed daily life; how war relief work linked home fronts and battle fronts; why Indians on the frontier were pushed out of the riven nation’s consciousness during the war years; and how wartime landscape paintings illuminated the nation’s past, present, and future.

A companion volume to a collaborative exhibition organized by the Newberry Library and the Terra Foundation for American Art, Home Front is the first book to expose the visual culture of a world far removed from the horror of war yet intimately bound to it.

216 pages | 90 color plates | 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 | © 2013

Art: American Art

Chicago and Illinois

History: American History

Native American Studies

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Director’s Foreword
David Spadafora
Director’s Foreword
Elizabeth Glassman
Foreword: Picturing War
Adam Goodheart

The Home at War, the War at Home: The Art of the Northern Home Front 1
Sarah Burns and Daniel Greene
The Fabric of War: Cotton, Commodities, and Contrabands
Peter John Brownlee
Other Homes, Other Fronts: Native America during the Civil War
Scott Stevens
Nothing Daunts Chicago: Wartime Relief on the Home Front
Daniel Greene
Rending and Mending: The Needle, the Flag, and the Wounds of War in Lilly Martin Spencer’s Home of the Red, White, and Blue
Sarah Burns
Nature, Nurture, Nation: Appetites for Apples and Autumn during the Civil War
Diane Dillon

Exhibition Checklist


Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award

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