5 Resources for Civil War History on iTunes U

Have any of you explored the resources relating to the Civil War era on iTunes U? You might be surprised at the breadth, depth, and quality of the resources available — especially in relation to our work this quarter.

As you seek to connect units of the National Park Service to the NPS’ thematic framework for commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial (articulated, in part, in Holding the High Ground), the lectures, talks, and other media available for free access and download via iTunes U may greatly inform your research and better help you connect visitors to compelling stories and significant places.

At iTunes U there is much content related to the Civil War, so I’ve culled five sources that you might find especially valuable to your work. (Others not enrolled in our class might also find these sources useful.)

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has several iTunes U collections with direct relevance to almost every one of our sixteen themes. Here are a few you might find especially interesting and applicable:

Another good resource (in both audio and video podcast format) is a series of 27 lectures from historian David Blight’s course at Yale University titled Civil War & the Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877. Not only do these lectures provide a good refresher for many of the themes we’re working with, they may also connect you to additional links or source material to enhance our project.

In addition, Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West has posted lectures from four eminent historians that explore Abraham Lincoln and the American West. While part of the Lincoln Bicentennial of 2009, they still may help inform themes such as War and the Western Movement, Reconstruction, and Legacy.

The Archives of Appalachia at Eastern Tennessee State University offers in audio format, a “sampling of materials” from their extensive collection of historic recordings and oral history interviews. Today in class we touched on the value of first-hand narrative, and while these are not necessarily first-hand sources they do represent the public memory of the Civil War and the oral tradition in Appalachia.

The Auburn University Academy for Lifelong Learners has posted an eight-part lecture series on the Economics of the Civil War by Mark Thornton. While an obvious source for the Industry and Economics theme, it may also provide context for the themes of Causes, The Eve of War, Consequences, and Legacy.

Again, theses are just five sources you may find helpful. Are there others that I’ve missed or that you’d add to your top five list?


About Greg Shine

Adjunct faculty in the History Department at Portland State University, where I teach historic site interpretation. Former Chief Ranger & Historian at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
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