Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 22: Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Fetter-Vorm, author and illustrator of Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, chosen by the ALA as 2013’s best graphic novel for teens, and Kelman, professor of the Civil War era at Penn State and author of A Misplaced Massacre, have teamed up for a unique and illuminating view of the War Between the States. Using Fetter-Vorm’s full-color panoramas and Kelman’s concise, penetrating commentaries, each chapter begins with an ordinary object—a pen, a flag, a set of manacles—which then gains extraordinary meaning for its wartime role.

Politics & Prose 
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
On Our Shelves Now
Hill & Wang - May 5th, 2015

Monday, July 01, 2013

International Ink extra: Gettysburg: The Graphic History

The Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the Civil War, took place 150 years ago today. Gettysburg: The Graphic History by Wayne Vansant (Zenith Press, 2013, $20) is a graphic history of the story of the battle. Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army had led his troops north to Pennsylvania, hoping to both shock the North and reprovision his armies with food and clothing captured from Union states. The Union, or Federal troops, under the newly appointed Major General George Meade, intercepted them near the small town of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania. Although Lee did not want to fight a pitched engagement, his cavalry scouts under JEB Stuart had wandered south towards Washington and didn't warn him away from the Union (or Federal) troops. Once some of his troops were committed, Lee decided to fight, hoping to punch a whole in the Union line of defenders. For three days, the two sides fought with thousands of men until the Union broke a last chance charge by General George Pickett. On July 4th, the Confederates retreated, and Meade didn't follow them in spite of President Lincoln's urgings.

The story is so big and complex that it doesn't fit well into 96 pages. Vansant does a competent job of explaining the preparations before the battle, the three days of the battle and the aftermath, including the full text of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address which dedicated the Union cemetery. He's obviously used reference photographs, and his artwork makes the famous people recognizable, if a bit stiff. He approaches the story chronologically, and one can get an idea of how the battle unfolded, but the book remains rather dry. Given his young adult audience, Vansant draws a minimum of bloodshed. When he writes, "Down below, General Hood's left arm was shattered by a shell burst," he draws Hood and his horse blinded and pushed to one side by the explosion and only colors them with a golden wash. I do not think most readers would actually want any more graphic detail than that, but Vansant's decision does sap some of the essence out of the story. His need to jump from one small segment of the battle to the next, unavoidable as it may be, has the same effect.

The story appears to be factually correct, although some items such as drawing Confederate General Lewis Armistead advancing with his hat speared on his sword aren't explained. Perhaps he thought sharpshooters would aim for his hat? A final round of proof-reading would have avoided mistakes such as "Choked with emotion because he did not want to make this attack, Longstreet nearly nodded." (p. 81) Presumably 'merely' is meant, not 'nearly' since a near nod is not much of a military command.

In conclusion, this book is most likely to appeal to a boy who already has an interest in the Civil War or military history, and is a perfectly reasonable starting place for someone looking at the vast amount of Gettysburg literature.

Still coming next - Tommysaurus Rex.

Friday, March 01, 2013

More cartoons on view at Library of Congress

Continuing our recent survey of the Library of Congress' cartoons on exhibit - the Civil War in America show has at least three cartoons in it. Although they appear to our eyes as political cartoons, these were published as stand-alone prints that one would buy to admire and look at frequently - almost the television of their day. Go see them in person to get a better view than these pictures taken without a flash.




In the Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress, 1912–2012 exhibit, there's two original paintings by Arthur Szyk for playing cards.



Down to Earth: Herblock and Photographers Observe the Environment is only open for three more weeks.

Monday, January 03, 2011

January 6: Civil War political cartoons at Newseum

Here's a tip from Warren Bernard. This is a National Archives event and hopefully will be free, but it doesn't specify on their calendar yet.

Thursday, January 6, at 7 p.m.

Presented at the Newseum's Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater

555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C.

Political Cartoons of the Civil War and Their Role in Shaping History

How do political cartoons from the Civil War era reveal what Americans thought about the war and how they participated in the politics of the day? Join us for an illustrated discussion focusing on political cartoons—whether humorous, clever, or scathing—and their role in providing insight into the economic, political and moral issues surrounding the Civil War. Featured will be both Union and Confederate political cartoons. Moderated by Harold Holzer, co-author of The Lincoln Image: Abraham Lincoln and Popular Print, panelists include Joshua Brown, author of Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America, John Adler, who compiled for the online resource HarpWeek, Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines, and Richard West, co-author of William Newman: A Victorian Cartoonist in London and New York.

The National Archives Experience is pleased to present tonight's program in partnership with the Newseum.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Marvel's Civil War plays out on Post blog

The rationale behind Marvel's Civil War storylines plays out on Ezra Klein's Post blog where he wrote a paragraph concluding "Iron Man was right" in favor of superhero registration - and then the comments begin...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dec 8: Swann fellow speaks on Civil War prints

Just a reminder from the Library of Congress -

Of possible interest to those in the Washington, D.C. area -- an invitation to a public lecture by Mazie Harris, Swann award winner, on Civil War era chromolithographs created by Henry Louis Stephens, a major illustrator and caricaturist for Vanity Fair. Her talk, entitled, "A Colorful Union: The Development of Union Patriotism in Henry Louis Stephens’ 1863 Chromolithographs," will be on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008, at noon in Dining Room A, 6th floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately I probably can't make this one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dec 8: Swann fellow speaks on Civil War prints


101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC 20540
Phone: (202) 707-2905
Fax: (202) 707-9199

November 17, 2008

Public contact: Martha Kennedy (202) 707-9115,


Swann Foundation grantee Mazie Harris, in a lecture at the Library of Congress, will discuss the Civil War Era chromolithographs by Henry Louis Stephens, the primary illustrator for the satirical New York journal Vanity Fair.

Harris will present the lecture, “A Colorful Union: The Development of Union Patriotism in Henry Louis Stephens’ 1863 Chromolithographs,” at noon on Monday, Dec. 8, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC.

In her illustrated talk, Harris will describe her research on the work of Stephens (1824-1882), a caricaturist as well as illustrator. She will draw on examples of his imagery from works held in the Library’s Marian S. Carson Collection and other source material in the Prints and Photographs Division.

The Emancipation Proclamation compelled Stephens to reconsider his previously virulently anti-abolitionist propaganda, according to Harris. In her talk, she will contend that after Abraham Lincoln’s groundbreaking executive orders in 1862 and 1863, Stephens deployed color printing and caricature in an attempt to reformulate views of race relations in the North and mobilize military enlistment.

Harris will analyze Stephens’ visual narratives by considering hand-written directions to the printer that the illustrator scrawled on the margins of each sketch for the series. These technical notes on color, which could be regarded simply as artistic instructions, when carefully examined and assessed, make explicit the particular political ideology of the prints.

Harris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Brown University. She completed an M.A. in art history from Boston University, and became interested in the work of Henry Louis Stephens while working as a curatorial assistant in the Agnes Mongan Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs in Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum.

This presentation is part of continuing activities of the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world. The foundation is overseen by an advisory board composed of scholars, collectors, cartoonists and Library of Congress staff members.

The foundation strives to award one fellowship annually (with a stipend of up to $15,000) to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. For 2008-2009, because of an unusually large number of strong applications, the foundation’s advisory board chose to support five applicants with smaller awards instead of selecting a single recipient of the fellowship.

Applications for the academic year 2009-2010 are due Feb. 13, 2009. For more information about the fellowship, visit or email

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ISSN: 0731-3527