Skip to main content

Civil War Resources in the Special Collections Research Center: Home

The Special Collections Research Center has extensive holdings of manuscripts and rare books dealing with the American Civil War. This guide describes the bulk of those holdings, although it is not a comprehensive list.

Access Tools

Special Collections Research Center Search Tool List: There are a variety of tools available to guide you in finding materials in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). Don't forget that you also may come into the SCRC in person and consult with the staff member on duty for guidance.

Civil War Resources in the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections in both its Manuscript and University Archives areas that relate to the Civil War. The Civil War holdings of Swem Library are comprehensive. Scholars interested in social issues and civilian affairs may find this guide especially helpful as enlisted men, non-combatants, and women are documented in the manuscripts collections. Both sides of the conflict are well represented, although there are more Confederate manuscript sources because of the large number of Virginia family papers held by the library. Please keep in mind that the general collections of Swem Library also support research in this subject area, including newspapers, magazines, government documents, published memoirs, etc.

The transcription project of "From Fights to Rights: The Long Road to a More Perfect Union" is a massive effort by volunteers to transcribe thousands of manuscripts such as diaries and letters from Special Collections and make them available online. The transcriptions are an important part of making the documents accessible to the public. 

If you get stuck along the way, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help. Just click the HELP tab at the top of any page in this guide to get contact information for Special Collections Research Center staff

You may also find the guide created for the course History 490: Civil War Experiences useful especially for finding appropriate secondary sources including databases. Swem Library has created other guides that will be of interest to researchers including a Research Paper Writing and Citation Guide, Primary Sources Guide, and Copyright Guide.

Best of luck with your research!