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Religious Aspects of the American Civil War

Selected resources at Harvard Divinity School Library



Harvard Divinity School Library has a long history of collecting  pamphlet and other ephemeral materials. As Dean Charles Carroll Everett reported in his 1881/82 Report to the President of Harvard University: "The Librarian urges the importance of preserving in the Library pamphlets relating to the theological questions of the day. Many of these, which may now seem of small value, will in the future be of great importance, as illustrating the thought and temper of the time." As primary sources, pamphlets give the reader a chance to step back in time and experience the words and thoughts of that time. Pamphlets like these are in many respects comparable to blogs today.

In preparation for a pilot digital preservation project in the spring of 2013, pamphlets in the library printed in the American Civil War period were surveyed and selected ones were chosen as potential candidates for digitization. Seventy-four of these, ones without freely available digitally preserved copies, were then digitized by the Harvard Library's Imaging Services; 58 more were added in January 2014. Special thanks go to Todd Bachmann of Imaging Services for his help. The results of this inventory process are presented in this guide.

What is in this Guide?

This guide is to materials in Harvard Divinity School Library's collection that also have a digital version available. It is not a complete inventory of materials in the library from this time period--in addition to those that are scheduled to be digitized, there are many more with existing digital copies that have been added to this guide. Given the library's history and location, many of the items are from the northeastern United States and reflect the library's Unitarian and Congregational heritage, but there are items from other areas and from other traditions (Presbyterian, Reformed, Methodist, Episcopalian, and others), including one by Rabbi David Einhorn.

The guide is arranged by genre. There are links to a digitized copy available at Harvard, Hathi Trust, or other freely available sources. Some additional material from the manuscripts and archives collection have been added.


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Service by Rev. Dr. Weston at Camp Cameron - May 5, 1861

Service by Rev. Dr. Weston, Chaplain of the Seventh Regiment, at Camp Cameron, on Sunday, May 5, 1861

From Harper's Weekly. May 25, 1861

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