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The history of the American Civil War is complex and diverse, and this is reflected by the range of materials held by the Library from this period.  These are some of the most important, the most visual, and the most interesting and curious of the many collection items that can be consulted in the Library's reading rooms or online.

Emancipation Proclamation

An edition of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln

Thornton papers

Diplomatic papers sent to Sir Edward Thornton

Civil War songsters

Selections from a book containing over 250 Civil War songsters

Abraham Lincoln's cortege

Silk cords from Lincoln's funeral cortege

Gardner's photographic book

A collection of photographs taken during the conflict

Confederate banknote

A $50 Confederate bill dated 17th February 1864

Bright papers

Correspondence to and from the British politician John Bright

Confederate seal

The official seal for the Confederate government

Layard papers

Primary sources detailing Britain's diplomatic relationship with America

Civil War prisons book

A contemporary analysis of the treatment of Union POWs

The Index

A pro-Confederate newspaper, printed and circulated in Britain

Elsewhere on our websites


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