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Products for grant FZ-231557-15

I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters
Christopher Hager, Trinity College

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I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters (Book)
Title: I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters
Author: Christopher Hager
Abstract: When North and South went to war, millions of American families endured their first long separation. For men in the armies—and their wives, children, parents, and siblings at home—letter writing was the sole means to communicate. Yet for many of these Union and Confederate families, taking pen to paper was a new and daunting task. I Remain Yours narrates the Civil War from the perspective of ordinary people who had to figure out how to salve the emotional strain of war and sustain their closest relationships using only the written word. Christopher Hager presents an intimate history of the Civil War through the interlaced stories of common soldiers and their families. The previously overlooked words of a carpenter from Indiana, an illiterate teenager from Connecticut, a grieving mother in the mountains of North Carolina, and a blacksmith’s daughter on the Iowa prairie reveal through their awkward script and expression the personal toll of war. Is my son alive or dead? Returning soon or never? Can I find words for the horrors I’ve seen or the loneliness I feel? Fear, loss, and upheaval stalked the lives of Americans straining to connect the battlefront to those they left behind. Hager shows how relatively uneducated men and women made this new means of communication their own, turning writing into an essential medium for sustaining relationships and a sense of belonging. Letter writing changed them and they in turn transformed the culture of letters into a popular, democratic mode of communication.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780674737648
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

"What Comes to Hand: Archives of Exigency, 1864" (Book Section)
Title: "What Comes to Hand: Archives of Exigency, 1864"
Author: Christopher Hager
Editor: Benjamin Fagan
Editor: Kathleen Diffley
Abstract: Visions of Glory brings together twenty-two images and twenty-two brisk essays, each essay connecting an image to the events that unfolded during a particular year of the Civil War. The book focuses on a diverse set of images that include a depiction of former slaves whipping their erstwhile overseer distributed by an African American publisher, a census graph published in the New York Times, and a cutout of a child's hand sent by a southern mother to her husband at the front. The essays in this collection reveal how wartime women and men created both written accounts and a visual register to make sense of this pivotal period. The collection proceeds chronologically, providing a nuanced history by highlighting the multiple meanings an assorted group of writers and readers discerned from the same set of circumstances. In so doing, this volume assembles contingent and fractured visions of the Civil War, but its differing perspectives also reveal a set of overlapping concerns. A number of essays focus in particular on African American engagements with visual culture. The collection also emphasizes the role that women played in making, disseminating, or interpreting wartime images. While every essay explores the relationship between image and word, several contributions focus on the ways in which Civil War images complicate an understanding of canonical writers such as Emerson, Melville, and Whitman.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Book Title: Visions of Glory: The Civil War in Word and Image
ISBN: 9-780-8203-559

“How the Civil War Taught Americans the Art of Letter Writing" (Article)
Title: “How the Civil War Taught Americans the Art of Letter Writing"
Author: Christopher Hager
Abstract: Soldiers and their families, sometimes barely literate, wrote to assuage fear and convey love
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Format: Magazine
Periodical Title: Smithsonian Magazine
Publisher: Smithsonian Magazine

“The Civil War Letter as Medium and Genre” (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: “The Civil War Letter as Medium and Genre”
Abstract: Jackson Distinguished Lecture series, Department of English, West Virginia University
Author: Christopher Hager
Date: 02/10/2016
Location: Morgantown, WV

"Letter, Email, Text Message: Communicating in New Media, Then and Now" (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: "Letter, Email, Text Message: Communicating in New Media, Then and Now"
Abstract: keynote address, Prindle Institute Undergraduate Ethics Symposium, DePauw University
Author: Christopher Hager
Date: 04/15/2016
Location: Greencastle, IN

"Struck Out: The Illiterate Hand on the Literate Page" (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: "Struck Out: The Illiterate Hand on the Literate Page"
Abstract: keynote address, The Futures of Handwriting symposium, Univ. of Louisville and the Filson Historical Society
Author: Christopher Hager
Date: 04/12/2019
Location: Louisville, KY