Friday, June 17, 2011

Jared P. Hubbard

A photograph of a bearded man in uniform."Dear Mother. We are at last out of fighting…at least for a while." So begins one of the letters from Jared P. Hubbard, a Union soldier with the Second Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, to his mother. Jared was twenty-four when he joined the army. Married, he wrote to his wife Judith regularly, telling her about his experiences and describing his surroundings. The 2nd New Hampshire regiment, organized in 1861, was the longest serving volunteer regiment of the State of New Hampshire fighting in all the major battles of the Civil War, from Bull Run to Gettysburg. At Gettysburg Jared narrowly escaped death when "the cannonading was the most terrific ever seen. The shells passed over our heads so close that we could feel the wind of it." Death, however, was everywhere. "The ground was actually covered with dead and wounded men, union and rebels all together, with hundreds of horses, and the stench was awful."

A handwritten letter.
51,000 men died in the three-day battle. Jared's regiment, which had entered the battle with 353 soldiers, saw 47 killed, 136 wounded and 36 missing in the first three hours. When not in battle Jared's letters depict the sometimes mundane, every day life of a Union soldier, from asking for more shirts and stamps from his wife to scolding his mother for her accusation that he cared "nothing for her interest."

To read more of Jared's letters ask for MS-1157.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not to be removed from the Reading Room

A photograph of a book with a few chain links attached to its edge.The materials in Rauner are available for use only in our reading room, but we do at least let our users pick up and handle the items they request. The owners of a German law book in our Bindings collection clearly wanted to make sure the volume's users didn't walk away with the text - so they chained the book to its shelf. The manuscript was written in Latin around 1450 and bound with oak boards thick enough to support the substantial chain, which is fastened with a metal staple through the upper edge of the rear board. This somewhat drastic approach to security was fairly typical in institutional collections. Manuscripts were time-consuming to produce and hard to replace, especially if the source text was difficult to find. The practice of chaining books to their shelves was gradually abandoned as printing made texts cheaper and more easily available and as more fragile pasteboard bindings were substituted for heavy wood covers.

Ask for Bindings 122 to see this relic for yourself.

Posted for Anne Peale '11