A major collection of Civil War documents is now part of the permanent collection entrusted to Tulane University. The papers include those written by Confederate President Jefferson Davis as well as the diaries of soldiers.
The Louisiana Research Collection was used by documentarian Ken Burns in his “Civil War” series. But spokesman Leon Miller says the information is available to anyone with a project, even a middle school student.
“The only reason we have these things is to make sure that they are permanently preserved and made available for everyone to use.”
The collection was so extensive that it could stretch out to four linear miles. The latest donation adds another 400 feet.
It draws Civil War scholars from around the world studying all aspects of that time.
“People studying food — the history of food — will use the diaries to see what the soldiers were eating during the war. Scholars of transportation will use the collection. It’s used by a wide variety of fields. And we’re always surprised at how scholars come up with new and creative ways to use the collection.”
None of the items can leave the Tulane library, and there's no browsing. Those needing to use its documents for research will need photo identification and a specific request.
They can use their laptops, non-flash camera and scanner as they examine the past.