From 1861 - 1865, the fate of the United States was threatened by a horrific civil war that divided the populace, ravaged the country and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. To commemorate the American Civil War’s 150th Anniversary the Smithtown Special Library District is offering a series of informative adult, young adult and children’s programs that will highlight many of the important issues and events related to this seminal conflict. In addition, a Civil War-themed Long Island Room exhibit will be on view through June 2014.
Long Island and the Civil War
Thursday, May 8 • 7:00- 8:30 pm
Explore the fascinating story of Long Island’s role in the American Civil War as Harrison Hunt, author (Hallowed Ground and Heroes of the Civil War), historian, reenactor and former curator of history for the Nassau County Museum System presents this illustrated talk. This program will describe the historic units and ships in which Long Islanders served, the famous Civil War leaders and events connected with Long Island and the home-front activities of Long Island’s civilian population. Registration begins Tuesday, April 1.
The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom
Thursday, May 15 • 7:00- 8:30 pm
Developed as a means by which southern slaves could escape their oppressive bondage and flee north, the Underground Railroad was an expansive network of individuals committed to the cause. Join Dr. Kathleen Velsor, SUNY Old Westbury Professor and author of The Underground Railroad on Long Island: Friends in Freedom, as she presents this illustrated lecture about the local people and places associated with Long Island’s Underground Railroad route. A book signing will follow the formal presentation. Registration begins Tuesday, April 1.
A History of Company H, 119th Regiment New York State Volunteers
Thursday, May 22 • 7:00- 8:30 pm
On August 13, 1862, Benjamin Willis, a young lawyer from Roslyn, held the first in a series of recruiting rallies at Hewlett’s Hotel in Hempstead. Inspired by the patriotic rhetoric and the sight of Captain Willis and his company in uniform, one hundred men from the Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead volunteered for service in the 119th Regiment New York State Volunteers. Designated as Company H, these brave recruits participated in a number of key Civil War engagements including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and General Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea”. Learn more about this local regiment as fully uniformed and equipped members of the Company H, 119th NY Volunteers Historical Association, a living history reenactment organization, discuss the exploits of the unit, the military equipment used by Union soldiers, and what daily life was like for an enlisted man during the Civil War. Registration begins Tuesday, April 1.
Civil War 150 Book Discussion
Thursday, May 29 • 7:00- 8:30 pm
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
Join Dr. Wilbur Miller, Professor of History at SUNY Stony Brook, as he leads this informative book discussion on Eric Foner’s critically acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning history about Abraham Lincoln and his evolving views on America’s “peculiar institution”. Registration begins Monday, April 28. Books will be available at the Smithtown Main Building's Circulation Desk upon registration. PLEASE NOTE: Registration is limited to 30 participants.
For Young Adults:
Young Adult Civil War 150 Book Discussion
Wednesday, May 21 • 4:00-5:00pm
Riot by Walter Dean Myers
In 1863, fifteen-year-old Claire, the daughter of an Irish mother and a black father, faces ugly truths and great danger when Irish immigrants, enraged by the Civil War and a federal draft, lash out against blacks and wealthy "swells" of New York City. Recommend for grade 7 and up by School Library Journal. Registration begins Monday, April 21. Books will be available at the Smithtown Main Building's Circulation Desk upon registration.
Battle of Gettysburg I-Spy and Trivia Contest
Wednesday, May 28 • 4:00-5:00pm
The Battle of Gettysburg I-Spy Mural is back by popular demand. Try to be the first to spy the historical objects hidden within the Mural, then join us in a Civil War trivia contest. We'll supply the materials. All you need to bring is your curiosity and passion for history. Registration begins Tuesday, April 1.
Civil War Games and Pomander Craft
Tuesday, May 27 • 5:00- 5:45pm (Grades 2-5)
Go back in time for 45 minutes as we play some old fashioned games and make a pomander ball craft—
something to make your home smell nice, even in the 21st century! Registration begins Tuesday, April 1.
All programs take place at the Smithtown Main Building.
This program series is part of Civil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning Through the Words of Those Who Lived It, a project presented by the Library of America in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.