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Memorializing the Civil War

February 06, 2014

The role of Civil War monuments in helping the nation deal with the aftermath of conflict as well as the classical models that served as the blueprints for many of those memorials will be examined during Angelo State University’s Civil War Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17.

“Memory and Meaning:  Civil War Memorials and Their Artistic Antecedents” will be explored by Dr. Kimberly Busby, assistant professor of art in ASU’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts.  The free public lecture will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 in the C.J. Davidson Center in ASU’s Houston Harte University Center at 1910 Rosemont Drive.

The lecture is the fifth of eight programs in this academic year’s Civil War Lecture series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. 

Busby will provide a brief overview of war memorials in antiquity and how they influenced the design and symbolism of Civil War monuments after the end of the war.  Her lecture will focus on four specific monuments as representing the national trends:  1) the Civil War Unknowns Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery; 2) the Peace Monument, also known as the Civil War Sailors Monument, in Washington, D.C.; 3) the Illinois State Memorial in Vicksburg, Miss.; and 4) the Civil War Memorial in Sycamore, Ill.

Her analysis of those monuments will document the 19th century revival of Egyptian, Greek and Gothic styles and will explore their meaning in the context of Civil War memorials.  Busby will link those four memorials to “the mystic chords of memory” line from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address and to the nation’s remembrance of the war that cost more casualties than any other in American history.

The Civil War Lecture Series is sponsored by the ASU History Department and supported by Fort Concho; Fort Concho Foundation; the Office of the ASU Dean of Arts and Sciences; ASU’s Gender Studies Program; the West Texas Collection; the Porter Henderson Library; Shannon Medical Center; the Texas Historical Commission; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Library of America; and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Other upcoming programs and speakers in the series are:

  • March 4:  “The Texas Historical Commission’s Sesquicentennial Activities,” 7 p.m., Davidson Center, William McWhorter, program coordinator, Military Sites Program, History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission.
  • March 27:  “Baseball and the Civil War,” 6 p.m. period baseball game, Fort Concho parade grounds, and 7 p.m. lectures, Fort Concho Stables, Bob Bluthardt, site manager, Fort Concho, and Dr. David Dewar of ASU’s History Department.
  • April 22:  “Medicine and the Civil War,” 7 p.m., Fort Concho Stables, Dr. Robert Hicks, Measey Chair for the History of Medicine and director of the Mutter Museum and Historical Medical Library at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
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