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Library Welcomes MET School Scholars

Elyssa Tardif, RIHS Education Director, leads a close reading of a letter collection
Students from the MET School in Providence visited the library this week to research primary documents about the Civil War. The visit was arranged by Elyssa Tardif, RIHS Education Director, and Robert Goldman who teaches at the MET School and directs Living History, a nine year old program that engages high school aged youth from Providence’s MET school in reenactment activities specific to the experience of Rhode Island’s 14h Regiment of Black Civil War soldiers. Rob will be directing the student research under a RI Council for the Humanities Grant.
Diaries of Mary (Congdon) Dearstyne, 1861 - 1862
“Everything was for the Union. I did not see a single seccession flag” , July 5, 1861. Mary ( Congdon) Dearstyne Diaries, 1861 – 1862, from The Congdon Family Papers, Mss 363
The students studied a Civil War officer’s uniform from the museum collections and three primary documents: 1) a leather-bound diary written by a young woman reflecting on the War, 1861 – 1862; 2) The letters of a Rhode Island doctor stationed in South Carolina in 1862 – 1863 with his descriptions of the suffering of the wounded; and 3) Company A, 3rd Regiment, Rhode Island Cavalry “Clothing Book” documenting supplies distributed to soldiers in 1863.
The library staff is looking forward to working with the students when they return to continue their research in the weeks ahead.
For more on RHODE ISLAND IN THE CIVIL WAR see the library’s manuscript collection Civil War Military Records (MSS 673 sg 4)

The Rhode Island Historical Society holds a great variety of records relating to the state’s military units. In addition to official records like muster rolls, clothing accounts and troop returns, there are also innumerable unofficial records such as diaries and letters written by soldiers; post-war memoirs; records of veteran groups; and records of organizations from the home front that supported the troops.

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