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.
In 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.
The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-653-9942 if you plan to attend.