Thursday, June 16, 2011

Galveston Research Summary #5 - Digital Resources at Rice University!

"I have now to chronicle an event which will be remembered by us all while we live..." - Alexander Hobbs, 42d Massachusetts, January 1, 1863

Previous "Galveston Research Summaries" can be found below:

#1 - Dissent, Sedition, and Confederate Secret Police (here)
#2 - Ursuline Sisters (here)
#3 - The Pearce Civil War Museum and Collection (here)
#4 - New Orleans Archdiocese Records a the Archives of the University of Notre Dame (here)
Summary of Galveston/Civil War Research Project (here)

And now, for the latest in Galveston Research Summaries (!):

The mission of the Woodson Research Center of the Fondren Library of Rice University in Houston, TX is: support the institutional, research and public service programs of the University. The Center collects, organizes, preserves and describes official records of the University, special collections of rare books and manuscripts; it makes these materials available for Rice faculty, students and alumni, as well as local, national and international resea
rchers via exhibitions, lectures, and other public events, and by publishing print and web-based materials highlighting the department's primary source collections. The Woodson Research Center’s strong service tradition and commitment to technology enhances access to and aids in the preservation of rare materials, and facilitates long-distance study and teaching.

The Woodson maintains a significant collection of material related to the Civil War and slavery, and a good amount of the material has been digitized and is available online (here). The items include letters, diaries, passes, scrapbooks, and other documents from Union and Confederate soldiers and civilians.

Of particular interest for my research on Galveston and the Civil War are several items, including the:

Alexander Hobbs U.S. Civil War Diary (here) - Hobbs was a private in the 42d Massachusetts Infantry; the diary describes the author's volunteer service during the U.S. Civil War, including the Battle of Galveston, a prison stay in Houston, and patrol duty in New Orleans. (Although not part of the digital collection, the Woodson also holds Hobbs' Bible from his days as a soldier).

The digital collection includes diary page images as well as a transcript of the diary contents.

Andrew Lang, a Ph.D. student in History at Rice, has written an excllent lesson plan for teachers and students utilizing the digital diary here.

Also of interest to me are the:

Neumann Family Papers, 1850-1955 (here) -Forty letters, chiefly to Louisa (Neumann) Bering, a resident of Houston, Tex., from her brothers and sisters, including letters from her brother, Emil Neumann, describing his service in the Confederate Army, stationed at Fort Eagle Grove (Fort Moore) and Galveston, Tex.; together with clippings and photos. Includes material relating to land in Texas, Bering family, and Little Rock, Ark., during the Civil War.

Ten of the 40 letters are digitized, including two of special interest to my project, noted above:

An early January 1863 letter (here) from Emil Neumann, a Confederate soldier, to his sister Louisa Neumann, from Galveston. The letter describes a battle in which Emil was in charge of a cannon "near the brick warehouse" on the Strand. He witnessed the capture of the vessel "Harriet Lane" and the escape of her companion ships, the "Orosco" and the "Clifton".

Another early January 1863 letter (here) in which Emil Neumann describes five vessels lying off Galveston Island that shot "over one hundred shots into town", as well as the execution of a deserter.

Many thanks to the Woodson Research Center for making this material available!

I certainly encourage other researchers to consult the digital collection (here) and the full collection (here) for material that might be useful to their interests!

The Woodson also maintains a blog (here) where they update readers on newly available digitized material!

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