Friday, December 24, 2010

News--- Wyoming Offers Bruce Catton's Papers Online

Civil War Historian Bruce Catton’s Papers Accessible at UW, University of Wyoming Publicity Release, December 20, 2010.

An inventory of papers and correspondence of Bruce Catton, widely regarded (along with Shelby Foote) as the most popular of America's Civil War historians, is now accessible online through the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes, and the collection is open to the public.

Catton (1899-1978) was a newspaper reporter in Cleveland and Boston before working for the War Production Board and the U.S. Department of Commerce during World War II. The first of his 15 Civil War histories was published in 1951. His "A Stillness at Appomattox" won both the Pulitzer Prize for history and the National Book Award in 1954. He was an editor with "American Heritage" from 1954-1978.

A description and inventory for this collection, accessible at , contains correspondence, research and biographical materials and other items related to Catton's professional career and personal life.

The collection includes 12 boxes of Catton's correspondence (1944-1978); transcribed copies of correspondence (1834-1875) chiefly covering the Civil War period; photographs; speeches; book reviews; newspaper clippings; reports by UW historian E.B. Long concerning research for Catton's three-volume centennial history of the Civil War; and miscellaneous other materials.

The AHC is the University's repository of manuscripts, rare books and the university archives. Its collections focus on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West (including but not limited to politics, settlement and western trails), environment and conservation, the mining and petroleum industries, air and rail transportation, the performing arts (particularly radio, television, film and popular music), journalism and U.S. military history.

Text Source: University of Wyoming

CWL: In the early 1960's Catton's Army of the Potomac Trilogy, published in the late 1950s and the early 1960s, had every bit the impact that Ken Burn's The Civil War, the films Glory and Gettysburg, and James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom had in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In a study of the Civil War's impact on 20th Century America's popular culture and the remembrance of the war, Catton's works are foundational. Catton, as a writer and editorial border member of the American Heritage magazine, brought Civil War history out of the ivy covered walls of academia and onto the airport spinner racks and bookstore shelves. My sister gave me the Army of the Potomac trilogy while CWL was in elementary school. Mom told me not to waste flashlight batteries by reading the books in the dark during a power outage. CWL has read them three times and has bought used copies and handed them out to middle school and high school students. Both the Army of the Potomac trilogy and The Centennial History of the Civil War trilogy are still in print. Catton changed the writing style of future historians. His roots in journalism allowed him to write in a clear, concise, accurate and interesting manner.

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