Wednesday, January 05, 2011

More Centennialist Thinking*: part one


I've been going through my books as a way to prompt Civil War Centennial memory.  As a kid I was swept away by the Centennial observance and glommed on to as much of the literature and ephemera of the moment as I could.  Though much of it has since fallen by the wayside,  some gems remain.

These three items came from the first trip to Gettysburg, I think I was eleven, in 1963 or '64.
This booklet by Frederick Ray whetted my appetite for what would later become the graphic novel.

   Back when finances were pretty tight for my family, my mother, nonetheless, mailed off to the Government Printing Office for these booklets.  She was actively encouraging my interest it the moment of the Centennial as well as the larger ideas of the War.

These two, I purchased.

Here's a typewritten insert for the Gettysburg booklet that I bought for myself (25 cents) while visiting the park from Michigan.  It is headed "New Park Facilities".

Hmmmm.  the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As I remember, the Cyclorama building hadn't opened yet.  Still one of my favorite buildings.

The State of Michigan (and all others, I'd guess) printed their own sets of Centennial booklets and pamphlets, some of which are pretty good resource material.  Michigan's were referred to as "the blue books".

Life magazine compiled their pictorial features of that period in a bound form.  Filled with some really fine illustration art which helped fire my imagination.

Two nights ago my wife and I watched the profile of Robert E. Lee on American Experience.  I'm hoping the the imaginations of a new generation of future Park Rangers will be so fired over the next four years.

See you at the battlefield,

Ranger Mannie

* regards to Dimitri


Unknown said...

Awesome collection o' stuff, Mannie.

John A. Miller said...


I have several products of the Centennial of the Civil War as well that my parents handed down to me or that I pick up at an old book store. Pennsylvania and the Civil War and the Glades Star by the Garrett County Historical Society, Maryland both published in 1961. I also have the first edition of the Carroll County Maryland Historical Society's Just South of Gettysburg. Prelude to Gettysburg published by the Hanover Chamber of Commerce in 1963. I personally enjoy the colorful trinkets that local businesses handed out. The best one that I have is a dimesaver from Farmers & Mechanics Citizens National Bank. Very colorful artwork. The idea was to follow the historical events of the Civil War with dimes and once you finished, you have $3.00 from there you could start a new account or deposit your savings. Great collection, Mannie and thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have the Petersburg booklet and you can still buy the Gettysburg booklet in one of the bookstores here. We've got one behind the desk along with a booklet on "Geology and the Battle of Gettysburg". (Apparently the Rebs were trying to get the Yankees off of the rocks.)

John C. Nicholas

Anonymous said...

Could not help but notice that you are missing the Centennial era booklet on Antietam... you are obviously a "late comer" to the significance of this battle. I have one of the Revised 1961 versions with original cover. I believe I paid 35 cents in 1966 for the "Historical Handbook Book Series No. 31." That booklet was sold in the bookstore with a different cover for I believe $9 until four or five years ago. Now you can go to this site to complete your collection...
Ron Dickey

Mannie Gentile said...


Just as Manassas bubbled to the surface yesterday evening, so too, I hope, will the Antietam booklet.


tom said...

Nice. I still have that Life collection and the Frederick Ray comic book, also purchased on my first trip to Gettysburg.

How about the American Heritage Pictorial History of the Civil War (junior version). I think that book is responsible for a couple generations of Civil War nuts.