Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Kansas Sourcebook

I have missed working on my blog but have been unavoidably detained by some special work assignments. Recently, Ohio University Press started publishing “The Civil War In The Great Interior” sourcebook series. The title of the series is based on the phrase, “the great interior region,” used by President Abraham Lincoln in his 1862 Annual Message to Congress. According to the publisher, this region included “the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and Kentucky; the area that would become West Virginia; and parts of Tennessee and the Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado territories” (p. xi). So far, the volumes on Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas have been published. Intrigued by this concept, I ordered Kansas’s War: The Civil War in Documents edited by Pearl T. Ponce. This surprisingly low cost book contains an array of primary sources written by civilians, politicians, and soldiers. Although a few documents are drawn from the Official Records, many have never been published before. The editor has included transcriptions of documents from the Abraham Lincoln Papers, the Kansas State Historical Society, contemporary newspapers, as well as other resources. Divided into chapters with short introductions that set the context, this is an interesting and helpful sourcebook that has guided me to some previously unknown resources. It also includes discussion questions so it could be used in a classroom setting. I’m planning now to order the Missouri volume, and I’m looking forward to those upcoming volumes on other trans-Mississippi states and territories.

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