Library of Congress


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Walt Whitman, half-length portrait, seated, facing left, wearing hat and sweater, holding butterfly

[Detail] Walt Whitman holding butterfly

Historical Research Capabilities

Students can use Whitman's notebooks and other resources to research various aspects of the Civil War and to learn to validate their resources. For example, they can browse Notebooks #94 and #101 for Whitman's accounts of battles and hospitals to compare with accounts from other writings. A suggestion of other writings can be found in the Read More About It bibliography for Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865. This collection's images are a resource as well. Searching Civil War across the American Memory collections also brings up countless useful documents including Reminiscences of Pioneer Days in St. Paul, describing various battles and army life, and Crusader and Feminist; Letters of Jane Grey Swisshelm: 1858-1865, recording the experience of a Civil War nurse.

This research process encourages students to determine the evidence for a document's authenticity, authority, and credibility. What does it tell them about the point of view, background, and interests of the author? What point of view can they support from their research?