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Hornbake Library Showcases Civil War History

A new exhibition featuring rare items from the University of Maryland Libraries explores how women perceived and experienced the Civil War.

Women on the Border: Maryland Perspectives of the Civil War features photographs, sheet music, rare books, manuscripts, and materials never before displayed together, including a rare sketchbook drawn by John Jacob Omenhausser, a Confederate prisoner whose gritty depiction of prison life is offset by his colorful sketch of idealized Southern belles.

"We have never looked at the Civil War through the lens of women's history before,"says curator Elizabeth Novara, who selected items from collections housed in the university's Hornbake Library.

"Women were witnesses, writers, soldiers, spies, nurses, cooks, mourners, and organizers," Novara says. "They weren't just staying at home knitting."

Items in the exhibition all have a connection to Maryland, either because the authors or subjects were born or lived here during the conflict. Many women wrote letters and diaries relating their observations and experiences during the war.

Learn more, including Hornbake gallery hours.

View the online exhibition.