Eliza Richards (Fellow, 2010–11)
December 6, 2011
During the Civil War, Americans both North and South were surrounded by death. Battle claimed over 600,000 lives. A similar casualty rate in today’s America would result in about 6 million deaths. Just as we would struggle to make sense of such massive tragedy, our countrymen did 150 years ago. And then, as now, new communications technologies brought events into people’s lives with unprecedented speed and immediacy. How did innovations in journalism and photography heighten the impact of the War’s carnage on the home fronts? How did news and images from the battlefield challenge nineteenth-century beliefs about death and burial? And how did they challenge people to find meaning in the War?