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Higher Education

About the Module   |   Class 1 | Class 2 | Class 3 | Class 4 | Class 5 | Class 6   |   Projects & Bibliography

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Potential Topics for Papers or Projects

The following topics can be assigned as research paper, small group presentations, classroom debates, etc. Each topic allows students to expand their understanding and analysis of the classroom discussions. A bibliography is provided to facilitate further research and reading for the assignment.

  • Using the broader historical literature on "women's sphere" or the "rights for women" during the nineteenth century, consider how the role of women during the war changed the debates ongoing about women's proper roles in society. Perhaps compare to other wars, such as the "Rosie the Riveter" phenomena in World War II. (Works by Taylor, Forten, Schultz , Reverby, Morantz-Sanchez and Walsh in the bibliography provide a starting point for these questions.)

  • Consider the role of African Americans within Civil War medicine against the backdrop of abolitionism in the 1840s and 1850s. Compare, for example, Augusta's actions to those of William Lloyd Garrison or John Brown.

  • Explore the modern memory of the Civil War among southerners who staunchly defend the Confederacy and all it stood for. These opinions can be found online with a bit of searching. They have used the presence of southern blacks as workers for the Confederacy as an argument that slavery "was not all that bad." How would you answer or support this argument? (In addition to the readings in class 6, see Copp reference in bibliography).

  • Create an imaginary autobiography of yourself as an African American who became a healer during the Civil War. Describe your early life, training, and activity during the war. Draw on the autobiographical material in the exhibition, course readings and the bibliography for inspiration and information.

  • Research what skills were most important for an army surgeon to have, based on medical understanding of that time. Take on the perspectives of homeopaths, eclectics, or regulars. Argue about your legitimacy as practitioners, and whether you should be commissioned as surgeons in the U.S. Army. (Sources for this project are included in the bibliography, including Chisolm, Gross, Hammond, Berman/Flannery, Gevitz).

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Bibliography:   Primary   Secondary   Online Resources


Abbott, Anderson. Papers, notebooks, photographs, and other records. Abbott Collection. Toronto Public Library, Canada.

———. "Civil War Memoirs. " Reprinted in Catherine Slaney, Family Secrets: Crossing the Colour Line. Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2003, 201-206.

Berlin, Ira, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland, eds. Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Selected from the Holdings of the National Archives of the United States. Series II: The Black Military Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. This 852 page volume reproduces documents from the National Archives, with editorial commentary.

Chisolm, J. J. A Manual of Military Surgery. Richmond, VA: West & Johnson, 1861. Reprinted. San Francisco: Norman Publishing, 1989. Available online at,+Chisholm&source=bl&ots=Zqt2pjCDOF&sig=r8wRG0T8FNvN1QbGMC2V4Guhkwk&hl=en&ei=3HajS_nsCY2VtgfJh_yzBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false (accessed 10/01/2010)

Forten, Charlotte. The Journals of Charlotte Forten Grimke. Edited by Brenda Stevenson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Gross, S. D. A Manual of Military Surgery. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1861. Reprinted. San Francisco: Norman Publishing, 1988. Available online at (accessed 10/01/2010)

Hammond, William. A Treatise on Hygiene: With Special Reference to the Military Service. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1863. Reprinted. San Francisco: Norman Publishing, 1991.

Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (1861-1865). Washington: GPO, 1870-1888. Reprinted in 12 vols. and 3 index vols. Wilmington, N.C.: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1990.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, 1-53; Series II, 1-8; Series III, 1-5; Series IV, 1-4. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1880-1901. Available online at These volumes consist of the reprinting of various official documents saved from the war and reprinted together in the 1880s and 1890s.

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Adams, George Worthington. Doctors in Blue: The Medical History of the Union Army in the Civil War. New York: Henry Schuman, 1952. Reprinted. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.

Berman, Alex, and Michael Flannery. America's Botanico-Medical Movements: Vox Populi. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 2001.

Copp, Roberta. South Carolina African-Americans in the Civil War: Two Sides to a Story. Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1990.

Costa, Dora and Matthew E. Kahn. Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Cunningham, H. H. Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service. Baton Rouse: Louisiana University Press, 1958. Reprinted. 1993.

Flannery, Michael. Civil War Pharmacy: A History of Drugs, Drug Supply and Provisions, and Therapeutics for the Union and the Confederacy. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 2004.

Gevitz, Norman. Other Healers: Unorthodox Medicine in America. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

Glatthaar, Joseph T. "The Costliness of Discrimination: Medical Care for Black Troops in the Civil War," In Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas. Edited by L. J. Gordon and J. C. Inscoe. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005, 251-271.

———. Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990.

———. "'Glory,' the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, and Black Soldiers in the Civil War." History Teacher 24 (1991): 475-485.

Haller, Jr., John S. American Medicine in Transition, 1840-1910. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981.

———. Medical Protestants: The Eclectics in America, 1825-1939. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1994.

Lee, Chulhee. "Prior Exposure to Disease and Later Health and Mortality: Evidence from the Civil War Medical Records," In Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past. Edited by Dora Costa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003, 51-88.

———. "Socioeconomic Background, Disease, and Mortality among Union Army Recruits: Implications for Economic and Demographic History." Explorations in Economic History 34 (1997): 27-35.

Morantz-Sanchez, Regina Markell. Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Reverby, Susan. Ordered to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing, 1850-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Savitt, Todd. Medicine and Slavery: The Diseases and Health Care of Blacks in Antebellum Virginia. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978.

———. Race and Medicine in Nineteenth- and Early-twentieth Century Medicine. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2007.

Schultz, Jane. "Seldom Thanked, Never Praised, and Scarcely Recognized: Gender and Racism in Civil War Hospitals." Civil War History 48 (2002): 220-236.

Shaffer, Donald. After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004.

Slaney, Catherine. Family Secrets: Crossing the Colour Line. Toronto: Natural Heritage Books, 2003.

Slawson, Robert G. Prologue to Change: African Americans in Medicine in the Civil War Era. Frederick, MD: National Museum of Civil War Medicine Press, 2006.

Walsh, Mary Roth. "Doctors Wanted, No Women Need Apply:" Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession, 1835-1975. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.

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Online Resources: all accessed 10/01/2010

Congressional Globe--//

Harper's Weekly--Civil War issues available on line at

National Museum of Civil War Medicine--

Virginia Commonwealth University--research guide to Civil War medicine available on line at //

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