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Events | exhibitions


American Civil War remembered in new Treasures display

A new display at the National Library of Scotland commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War.

'Yankee cries and Rebel yells' uses material from the Library's rich American collections to give insights into the conflict that led to the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Rare letters, political pamphlets, newspapers and memoirs from the era illustrate the days of slave plantations, political discord and violent conflict.

Lasting from 1861 until 1865, the war tore apart the nation, killed and maimed more than a million Americans and remains a topic of debate and argument today.

Among key items in the display are:

  • A request for the release of a Confederate prisoner of war signed by US President Abraham Lincoln
  • The deed of sale of a slave woman and her child for $278 in North Carolina in 1829
  • The pocket diary of a Union soldier fighting in Confederate Virginia in 1862
  • A rare signed first edition of the novel 'Gone with the wind' by Margaret Mitchell.

US and Commonwealth Curator Dora Petherbridge hopes that the original documents on show 'will offer visitors perspectives on the era that they may not have encountered before.'

Read more in our American Civil War display media release.

22 January 2015


The 1715 Jacobite rising — a 'Game of Crowns'

'Crown of blood' illustration

Treachery, power struggles, royal in-fighting and religious wrangling are all reflected in 'Game of Crowns' — the winter exhibition at the National Library of Scotland.

The exhibition tells the story of the 1715 Jacobite rising as the 300th anniversary approaches. Using contemporary records, books, maps, portraits and songs, it explains this turbulent period of British history.

One of the documents on display will be the order for the massacre of Glencoe, when 38 members of the clan MacDonald were slaughtered because of their suspected Jacobite sympathies.

James VIII
James VIII.

The exhibition looks in detail at the period from 1688 to 1715, showing how the Stuarts were removed from the throne and replaced by the Hanoverians, and the fierce contest for the Crown of Great Britain.

Defeat in the 1715 rising was not the end of the Jacobite story, and the exhibition closes with a look ahead to the attempt of Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim the throne for his father.

'Most people will know bits and pieces of the history of the time but may be less familiar with the full story,' said Robert Betteridge, the curator who has worked on 'Game of Crowns'. 'What we hope to do is paint a picture of what Scotland was like at this time.'

Read more in our 'Game of Crowns' media release.

10 December 2014

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