Friday, June 29, 2012

Treasure of the State Library for June, 2012

With the nation marking the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, there have been commemorations across the nation. The Massachusetts State House has had numerous events to mark this anniversary.

Just recently, Susan Greendyke Lachevre, Arts Collection Manager for the State House, completed a volume detailing the Art of the Civil War at the Massachusetts State House. The State Library has recently added copies to its collection and at some point in the future, the report will be available online. As Ms. Greendyke Lachevre notes, publication coincides with the Sesquicentennial of the War. Her beautiful work, a detailed listing of holdings in the State House, was written by the Massachusetts Art Commission.

As is the case with many libraries across the country, the State Library owns artwork from the Civil War Era. The first of note is a plaster bust of Arthur Buckminster Fuller, a prominent Massachusetts clergyman who was killed in the battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862. A blog entry from 2011 describes this sculpture and its focus

A second item owned by the library is a portrait of Charles Carleton Coffin painted by Frank H. Tompkins in 1891. Coffin, a New Hampshire native, lived for many years in Massachusetts. Unable to enlist in the war due to an injury in his youth, Coffin became one of the most famous journalists covering the war. He donated his portrait to the State Librarian C. B. Tillinghast and his successors in 1896. 

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department
State Library of Massachusetts