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Grant number like: FZ-231557-15

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Christopher Hager
Trinity College (Hartford, CT 06106-3100)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 8/31/2016

I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters

The research and writing of a major study of Civil War letter writing, using working-class Americans' correspondence to craft a history of emotional life during the Civil War. 

My book, the first major study of Civil War letter-writing, uses working-class Americans’ correspondence to craft a history of emotional life during the war. By training a literature scholar’s eye on documents that historians have used principally to reconstruct events, I interpret soldiers’ inward experiences of being absent from home and their families’ experiences of separation, adaptation, and loss. In addition to deepening our understanding of war and military service, this book contributes to historical knowledge of written communication. Epistolary culture’s path from signet rings and sealing wax to text messages and Twitter runs through Civil War letters, and this book makes this pivotal moment accessible to a general audience. In addition to describing and analyzing these letters as a genre, the book's chapters gravitate around the written exchanges of a select cast of characters, creating a narrative of the war through ordinary Americans' private letters.