Civil War Civilian Living History

Interpreting the American Civil War Home Front

Web Sites

Please contact me through the About Me page to suggest additional resources.

1860s Hairstyles.
Instructions for women’s hairstyles of the 1860s presented by Anna Allen.

American Ballroom Companion from the Library of Congress,
This site offers a listing of dance manuals from the 19th century; some of which are available in their entirety online. In addition, the Library of Congress offers videos of some dances and links to specific dance instructions here.

Anna Worden’s Blog
Contains articles and other items of interest to the 19th Century living historian.

Association of Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums
ALHFAM serves those involved in living historical farms, agricultural museums and outdoor museums of history and folklife. provides information on ALHFAM and up-to-date news on the living history museum community.

Authentic Campaigner
“A Web Site for the Authentic Civil War Living Historian” offers some wonderful research articles and good information on impressions. There are three civilian specific forums. It tends to be more oriented toward national events and environs east of Texas. The long time users can also be rather harsh with new users and repetitive questions. Be sure to use the search function thoroughly before posting your questions.

Capering and Kickery
A blog for social dance historians, reconstructors, performers, social dancers, writers of historical fiction, and anyone else who wants solid, research-based information about historical social dance in Europe and America from the 15th through the early 20th centuries. Site includes links to music and dance videos.

Civil War,The Online Harper’s Weekly periodicals from the Civil War era.

Civil War Books and Authors blog
Books reviews, news, interviews, profiles and commentary, with an emphasis on small publishers, university presses, and local history. Subject areas include antebellum politics and all aspects of the Civil War, as well as the U.S.-Mexican War and Indian Wars. All areas are covered, but geographical focus is on the West and Trans-Mississippi theaters.

Civil War Discovery Trail, The
The Civil War Discovery Trail links more than 600 sites in 32 states to inspire and to teach the story of the Civil War and its enduring impact on America.

The Civil War for Kids
While there are a lot of Civil War web sites, there really aren’t many that help kids like me understand what the Civil War was about, how many American’s gave their life and what kids can do to make sure we don’t erase our history. Building on a battlefield is like erasing history. I didn’t want to let that happen. So I asked my dad to help start this web site to help you learn about the war, learn how to protect battlefields, help parents and have fun.

Civil War Grand Balls
Welcome to the Civil War Grand Balls information site! We are glad you stopped by. Here you will find the listing and detailed information of all upcoming Civil War Grand Balls and Civil War Civilian Events held throughout the country and hosted by the renown dance mistress, Prof. Karen (Chartrand) Duffy.

Civil War Librarian Blog
Blog of Rea Andrew Redd, follows new and classic American Civil War books and media.

Civil War Preservation Trust, The
America’s largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields. The Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war’s history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it.

Civil War Women: Primary Sources on the Internet
Provides links to manuscript collections at Duke which have been scanned and transcribed as well as links to other Civil War women’s archival documents which are available in cyberspace.

Commonwealth Vintage Dancers, The
This site includes instructions for several different dances one might have done in a Civil War ballroom. It also includes a link to the Spare Parts website that includes some music samples.

Confederate Reckoning Podcast
University of Pennsylvania professor of history Stephanie McCurry, looks at the Confederate War through the experience of the South’s women and slave struggles in her new book, Confederate Reckoning. We’ll talk to her about how women and slaves influenced the demise of the Confederacy, including how they took on the Jefferson Davis government on government enlistment, and tax and welfare policies.

Core Historical Literature of Agriculture
The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture (CHLA) is a core electronic collection of agricultural texts published between the early nineteenth century and the middle to late twentieth century. Full-text materials cover agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, animal science, crops and their protection, food science,forestry, human nutrition, rural sociology, and soil science. Scholars have selected the titles in this collection for their historical importance. Their evaluations and 4,500 core titles are detailed in the seven volume series The Literature of the Agricultural Sciences, Wallace C. Olsen, series editor.

Denbigh Project
The Denbigh Project is an effort by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University to identify, document and preserve the wreck of Denbigh (41GV143), one of the most successful blockade runners of the American Civil War.

Discovering the Civil War
Beginning on April 30, 2010, the National Archives will peel back 150 years of accumulated analysis, interpretation, and opinion to reveal a Civil War that is little-known and even more rarely displayed in a new exhibition.

Documenting the American South
A digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes ten thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.

There are many Civil War civilian focused groups on Facebook. Conduct a search for Civil War, civilian, 19th Century, women, fashion and combinations of these terms; you will get more results than you can probably keep up with.

Genteel Arts Academy
This is the site for Carolann Schmitt. She conducts classes on civilian clothing and produces the “Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The conference is a great resource for information on the clothing and material culture of the 1860s.

Gentleman’s Page, The
A resource for those who wish to look and act like; or perhaps better understand, the 19th Century American man.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Civil War and Reconstruction
Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. The Institute has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that now operate in all fifty states, including a website that features the more than 60,000 unique historical documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

At we are committed to helping others experience 19th century fashions through modern and period sewing techniques.

Home Economics Archive
HEARTH is a core electronic collection of books and journals in Home Economics and related disciplines. Titles published between 1850 and 1950 were selected and ranked by teams of scholars for their great historical importance. The first phase of this project focused on books published between 1850 and 1925 and a small number of journals. Future phases of the project will include books published between 1926 and 1950, as well as additional journals. The full text of these materials, as well as bibliographies and essays on the wide array of subjects relating to Home Economics, are all freely accessible on this site. This is the first time a collection of this scale and scope has been made available.

Historical Census Browser
University of Virginia Library. This site allows you to search several census years by state and county. This site offers numbers only, not detailed information regarding individuals. This site will be closed at the end of December 2016.

Invitation to Dance, An
This site is an online exhibit from the American Antiquarian Society. The exhibit includes much information about the development of social dance in America.

Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts
The Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts is a scholarly, refereed e-journal presenting new research about the decorative arts and material culture of the American South prior to 1860.

Leicestershire Victorian Dance Group,The
This group is based in England. They offer downloadable booklets with dance steps as well as videos showing several dances.

Library of Congress: American Memory
Historic maps, photos, documents, audio and video.

Making of America
The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts.

Mid-19th Century Victorian Ball, A
This article is on the Victoriana website. It includes information about ball etiquette, dress and a link to dance instruction information.

Mormon Pioneer Foodways Blog
1847-1869. Not just Mormon specific.

National Park Service Civil War Home Page
From 1861 to 1865, the American union was broken as brother fought brother in a Civil War that remains a defining moment in our nation’s history. Its causes and consequences, including the continuing struggle for civil rights for all Americans, reverberate to this day. From the battlefields to the homefront, the cost of the war was steep…its lessons eternal.

Not Even Past
Provides dynamic, accessible, short articles on every field of History. Founded in 2010 and developed by the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, Not Even Past speaks to everyone interested in the past and in the ways the past lives on in the present.

On the Home Front: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life
As Americans observe the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, the Kent State University Museum will present an exhibit about the material circumstances and domestic life during the Civil War and in the years that followed. Through the display of women’s and children’s costumes, which will be supplemented with related photographs, decorative arts and women’s magazines, the exhibit “On the Home Front: Civil War Fashions and Domestic Life” will focus on the daily life and experiences of the American civilian population during the Civil War. Far from being a simple trivial diversion during such a critical period, fashion provides a unique window into the lived experience of Americans who despite being far from the battlefields were deeply and immediately touched by the conflict.

Rally on the High Ground
The National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and Eastern National sponsored a symposium on May 8 and 9, 2000 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. They brought together many of the leading scholars on the Civil War era with park managers, interpreters and educators to explore new research and interpretations of this period of American history. This symposium, Rally on the High Ground, became much larger and more important than the sponsors envisioned. It was broadcast nationally on C-Span, and many of the nation’s leading media sources covered the event. The papers from this symposium are published here in Rally on the High Ground: The National Park Service Symposium on the Civil War Eastern National, softcover, 120 pages.

Richmond Daily Dispatch 1860-1865
The Richmond Daily Dispatch is the result of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and collaboration between the University of Richmond, Tufts University’s Perseus Project, and the Virginia Center for Digital History. There are currently 1384 issues of the paper available online, ranging in date from November 1860 through December 1865.

Sewing Academy, The
The website of Elizabeth Stewart Clark offers research and forums for men’s, women’s and children’s civilian clothing. She also offers her own line of patterns for children and some free patterns on this site.

Smithsonian Folkways: Civil War Songs and Sounds
Speaking of the impact music had on his troops, Confederate General Robert E. Lee said, “Without music you cannot have an army.” With this in mind, the music collected here is not so much an account of what came to be known as America’s most violent war as it is the culmination of the anxieties, politics, and the racial divide that started the war in the first place. Certainly the origins of the Civil War are present in its music: the abolitionist’s cry for freedom in songs such as “The Ballad of Frederick Douglass” and “John Brown’s Body”; the irrevocable violence and censure laced into America’s founding in “Cumberland Gap”; and the bureaucratic irony of warfare in “All Quiet Along the Potomac.” But many of the era’s songs also convey intense personal longing, and struggle (see: “Just Before Battle, Mother” and “Go Down, Moses”). Frederick Douglass (through the voice of actor/activist Ossie Davis) speaks of this struggle in the playlist’s final track when he says: “A man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others.”

Society of Civil War Historians, The
The Society of Civil War Historians (SCWH) is an association of scholars dedicated to exploring slavery, the sectional crisis, Civil War, emancipation, and reconstruction roughly from the 1830s through 1880.  The society also looks at the legacies of the conflict that continue to have an impact on society today.  SCWH’s mission is to encourage scholarly activity and academic exchange among historians, graduate students, and professionals who interpret history in museums, national parks, archives, and other public facilities.  SCWH’s goal is to bring greater coherence to the historical field by encouraging the integration of social, military, political, and other forms of history and generally to promote the study of the Civil War era.

Trans-Mississippian, The  
A blog about the Civil War west of the Mississippi River. The bulk of Civil War historiography has focused on the war east of the Mississippi, but the war west of the big river has seen increasing attention in recent years. Particularly since the 1980s, historians have started to realize that even though armies and battles were of smaller size and scale in the West, it does not mean that these actions were unimportant or insignificant. There are also some interesting features to the war west of the Mississippi such as the role of Native Americans, guerrilla warfare, the role of African-American troops, refugees, the challenges of campaigning on the frontier, and operations along the Gulf Coast and the Pacific coast.

Vicki Betts’ Website
A wonderful resource with newspaper transcriptions and a link to her homespun dress research.

Victorian Dance Ensemble
The Ensemble is a group of living historians who share a love for the grace and beauty of mid-nineteenth century dancing. We are devoted to fostering an appreciation for the dance and social customs of the Civil War era by presenting demonstrations, classes, balls and other related programs. The site offers dance instruction and articles on Civil War era balls.

Why Not Then
A website dedicated to the study, preservation and reproduction of historic clothing. Here you will find detailed pictures of original garments from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as other resources from my collection for study. You will also find accurate reproductions of fashions of days gone by and articles, patterns and other helpful tidbits to help you create your own accurate reproductions!

Why This is Good: Looking at Clothing
Anna Worden’s Bauersmith’s Blog