Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

August 9, 2012
The State Library celebrates the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War

The California State Library's monthly cultural series, "A Night at the State Library," resumes on Wednesday, August 15 and will feature Dr. Robert J. Chandler, a widely recognized authority on the American West, who will discuss California during the Civil War years. Even though the state was remote from the war's battlefields, many of its citizens actively fought in the hostilities, and Californians gave great financial support mainly to the Union. And even though California had been a free state since 1850, a fair amount of its population came from the South and supported slavery: the war once and for all settled the issue of which way California would turn.

Gettysburg.jpgIn conjunction with this presentation, some of the best Civil War materials in the library's collection are on display in its first floor rotunda. Among them are letters from Californians serving in the United States Army, some of whom did not come anywhere close to the Eastern battlefields and spent the war protecting Western facilities from local Native American tribes. Also on exhibit are pro-Union speeches by Reverend Thomas Starr King, the famous "wallpaper" edition of the Vicksburg, Mississippi Daily Citizen, an engraving of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and seldom seen textbooks and other volumes from the Confederate States, who found themselves cut off from the big Northern publishers and had to print these works themselves. In addition, the California History Section is showcasing books on the Civil War as it affected California and the Southwest for the August book display in its second floor reading room.

Monitor.jpgThe California State Library is located at 900 N Street in Sacramento. The "A Night at the State Library" event will, as mentioned above, take place on August 15. The doors open at 5PM and the presentation begins at 6PM. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free: please RSVP to or 916-653-9942 if you plan to attend.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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