Muster

1818-2018, The Mary Lincoln Bicentennial: Sisterhood and the Civil War

1818-2018, The Mary Lincoln Bicentennial: Sisterhood and the Civil War

Just over two hundred years ago today, on December 13, 1818, Mary Ann Todd came into the world screaming. Or at least, we assume she came into this world screaming, as most babies do. It was a rainy Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky. Mary’s mother Eliza likely sent for the midwife ...
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The Mystery of William Jones, An Enslaved Man Owned by Ulysses S. Grant

The Mystery of William Jones, An Enslaved Man Owned by Ulysses S. Grant

On March 29, 1859, Ulysses S. Grant went to the St. Louis Courthouse to attend to a pressing legal matter. That day Grant signed a manumission paper freeing William Jones, an enslaved African American man that he had previously acquired from his father-in-law, "Colonel" Frederick F. Dent. Described as being ...
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Editor’s Note: December 2018 Issue

We are pleased to present the editor's note for our December 2018 issue, chock full of fascinating articles. To subscribe, please visit our subscriptions page. This issue features essays on the political and social contexts of the sectional crisis, looking carefully at what Americans read and how they voted—and for ...
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Shaping Public Remembrances of Abolition and Emancipation: Memory in the Post-Emancipation Era at the 2018 SHA

Today we share the last of our conference reports on the November 2018 annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association, held in Birmingham. Thank you for following along with us as these four reporters shared details about these fascinating and thought-provoking panels. When one attempts to explain to non-historians that ...
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Defining Defeat and Redefining the Lost Cause: An SHA Panel Recap

Today, the Lost Cause is rarely far from historians’ minds. Headlines of Confederate monuments coming down compete for space with stories of southern lawmakers proposing monuments to black Confederates. States are finally rewriting their curriculum to address slavery’s central role in the causation of the Civil War, while reality TV ...
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Spatial Roots, Lawsuits, and Leisurely Pursuits: A SHA 2018 Recap

Spatial Roots, Lawsuits, and Leisurely Pursuits: A SHA 2018 Recap

Morning panels on the last day of conferences can be difficult. But a Sunday morning panel at the SHA 2018 Annual Meeting offered refreshing perspectives on Reconstruction Studies scholarship. The three panelists of “Emancipationist Memory and Radical Dreams of Freedom: New Directions in African American History of the Reconstruction Era” ...
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War Trauma and the American Civil War: A Roundtable Discussion

Today we share the first in our series of panel reports on the recent Southern Historical Association annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. There were a number of timely Civil War era panels that we are excited to share with readers. Follow along the rest of this week! As Diane ...
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Author Interview: Bradley Proctor

Author Interview: Bradley Proctor

Today we share an interview with Bradley Proctor, who published an article in our September 2018 issue, “‘The K.K. Alphabet’: Secret Communication and Coordination of the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan in the Carolinas.” Bradley Proctor is a member of the faculty at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Originally ...
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A Transnational View of Medicine and Medical Practices during the Civil War

A Transnational View of Medicine and Medical Practices during the Civil War

Interest in the medical history of the Civil War has increased in recent years, not in small part due to Shauna Devine’s Tom Watson Brown Award-winning work, Learning from the Wounded.[1] Tens of thousands of U.S. and Confederate soldiers suffered some form of injury in the course of the Civil ...
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Fighting the Good Fight

Today we share the conclusion to our fiction roundtable here on Muster, by our guest editor, Sarah E. Gardner. You can read all of the roundtable reviews by clicking on the links in her introduction. We hope you've enjoyed these reviews as much as we have here at The Journal ...
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<i>Lincoln in the Bardo</i>

Lincoln in the Bardo

Our final review for this week's roundtable comes from Nina Silber, Professor of History and American Studies at Boston University. You can read all of the roundtable contributions by clicking on the links in the guest editor's introduction. In this imaginative and deeply moving book, George Saunders has re-envisioned the ...
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A New “Alternative” History: Ben Winters’s <i>Underground Airlines</i>

A New “Alternative” History: Ben Winters’s Underground Airlines

Because most are poorly-plotted, barely-disguised apologies for the Lost Cause, many historians have a low tolerance for “alternative histories” of the Civil War. Whether in the form of Confederate memorials like Silent Sam or Harry Turtledove novels, folks love to fantasize about what the United States would have been like if ...
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James McBride’s Reimagining of John Brown and His Legacy

James McBride’s Reimagining of John Brown and His Legacy

Below you will find the third review in our Civil War fiction roundtable, from Hilary Green, an associate professor at the University of Alabama. Previous and subsequent reviews in the series are available by following the links in the guest editor's introduction. The controversial figure of John Brown--and his connections ...
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Slavery and the Historical Imagination: A Review of Patrick Chamoiseau’s <i>Slave Old Man</i>

Slavery and the Historical Imagination: A Review of Patrick Chamoiseau’s Slave Old Man

Today's contribution to our fiction roundtable comes from Timothy J. Williams, assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. You can read previous and subsequent entries by using the links here. In 1997, Patrick Chamoiseau, author of a dozen works about his native home of Martinique, published Slave Old Man ...
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Confederate Widow Confidential: Varina Tells (Almost!) All

Confederate Widow Confidential: Varina Tells (Almost!) All

Today we share the first post in our roundtable on recent Civil War fiction. The guest editor's introduction, by Sarah E. Gardner, includes links to all the posts and can be found here. The cover of Charles Frazier’s Varina: A Novel identifies its author as the “bestselling author of Cold ...
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Fiction Fights the Civil War

This week, Muster begins a series on recent fiction about slavery and the Civil War. Interest in how the war is represented in popular literature remains unabated because the legacies of slavery and the war endure, a point emphasized by Carole Emberton in her roundtable review of Underground Airlines. Who ...
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