Home Front: Boston and the Civil War

The Boston Public Library presented Home Front: Boston and the Civil War from June 11-December 31, 2011. The Associates underwrote the exhibition, as well as conserving, cataloging, and digitizing many of the anti-slavery and Civil War materials on display.

For Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, Boston during the mid-1800s represented the very cradle of the “Yankee” North. The city served as a vibrant epicenter of industrialization and Bostonians spearheaded some of the most important social reform movements of the period including abolition, temperance, and women’s rights.

When war broke out in 1861, Boston played an essential dual role: as provider of vast numbers of men to the front lines and as a vital support network on the home front, where its citizens banded together to make enormous contributions and sacrifices on behalf of the Union.

This original exhibition focused on a group of notable Bostonians to tell the story of the Civil War through the eyes of those who lived it. Through original manuscripts, prints, artifacts, and other material from the Boston Public Library’s special collections, Home Front provided a deeply personal look at this extraordinary period in American history and the war’s enormous and lasting impact on Boston and its citizens.

Digitally explore the basis of the exhibition, the BPL’s Anti-Slavery Collection.
Many of these materials were conserved, cataloged, and digitized with our donors' support.