Collections and Resources, Events, Exhibits, North Carolina History, Special Collections, UNC History

Chapel Hill and UNC During Civil War To Be Topic of Exhibit, Lectures


Home Front on the Hill: Chapel Hill and the University during the Civil War
Feb. 1 – May 8, 2011
Wilson Special Collections Library, Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
Free and open to the public
Information: or (919) 962-3765

How did Chapel Hill and the University experience the Civil War? Home Front on the Hill: Chapel Hill and the University during the Civil War, an exhibit in UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library, will look at the conflict through the eyes of students and civilians.

The free public exhibit will launch the Library’s four-year series of programming in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It will be on view Feb. 1 through May 8 in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room on the third floor of Wilson Library.

On display will be about 160 items from Wilson Library collections, including:

  • Letters related to the firing in 1856 of a UNC professor for his opposition to extending slavery into new territories;
  • An 1860 letter from the professor’s mother-in-law describing a local secessionist rally;
  • Minutes from University Baptist Church in Chapel Hill documenting when, in 1865, African-Americans left to form their own church; and
  • Three eyewitness accounts of the April 1865 occupation of Chapel Hill by Union troops.

Free talks and programs will accompany the exhibit, as follows. For additional information about the exhibit or events, contact Wilson Library: or (919) 962-3765.

  • Feb. 16 – Gallery talk with Ernest Dollar, director of the Chapel Hill Preservation Society, discussing Chapel Hill during the war. 3 p.m.
  • March 30 – Lecture by LeeAnn Whites, professor of history at the University of Missouri. Her title will be “Battle for the Home Front: Revisiting the Role of Women in the Civil War.” Reception and exhibit viewing at 5 p.m.; program at 5:45 p.m.
  • April 13 – Gallery talk with Frank Fee, associate professor in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, discussing ways that news was gathered and disseminated to Orange County residents during the war. 3 p.m.

In April the Library will launch the website “The Civil War Day by Day,” featuring daily posts chronicling events from each day of the war, from the first military engagement on April 12 until the 150th anniversary of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in 1865. Additional exhibits will also be mounted in 2013 and 2015.

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