A Guide to Civil War Materials
in the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Duke University


[ General search strategies | Specific topics | Selected other resources ]

The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library houses a large collection of manuscripts and printed materials pertaining to the Civil War. Most of the individual manuscript collections contain less than a thousand items and both Union and Confederate sides are represented. Topics include specific battles and regiments, medical concerns, camp life, and civilian life during the war. Views regarding slavery leading up to the Civil War are also reflected in the library´┐Żs holdings.

General search strategies

In order to find materials on specific topics, it is necessary to use a combination of searches to make sure all relevant manuscript collections and published works have been located. Following are three main tools to consult in order to make a comprehensive search:

Specific topics

Below are a number of aspects of the Civil War and ways to find out what materials the library has on the topic and what terms to use to help in your search.

African American Troops
Camp Life
Civilian Life
Confederate and Southern States Currency
Destruction and Pillage
Foreign Participation
Foreign Public Opinion
Public Opinion about the War
Recruiting and Enlistment
War in Specific Areas or Regions
Women and the Civil War

Selected other resources for studying the Civil War
Web Sites
Electronic Databases
Published Reference Sources
Illustrations List

Guide to Civil War Materials
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library - Duke University
Compiled November 2001 by Janie Morris
See our contact information page if you have any questions.