Press Kit - The Civil War at The Huntington

The Civil War at The Huntington




To supplement “A Strange and Fearful Interest: Death, Mourning, and Memory in the American Civil War” (on view from Oct. 13, 2012, through Jan. 14, 2013), The Huntington has produced an interactive web component containing selected images from the exhibition accompanied by written and audio commentary designed to elicit deep engagement with the objects.


Available beginning Oct. 13, 2012, via The Huntington’s main website at, the website is organized around the exhibition’s themes, presenting key photographs, prints, and other works with an emphasis on details not clearly visible to the naked eye. Each image has several “zoom-in” points paired with short texts that elucidate larger themes or describe important aspects of the work.
Expert Commentary
Audio commentary by renowned scholars accompanies many of the objects, placing them within the larger historical context of the Civil War, particularly as they relate to the exhibition’s overarching themes of death, mourning, and memory. Scholars included in the audio component are David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory and American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and currently at work on a book about the redemptive West in post–Civil War America; Alice Fahs, author of The Imagined Civil War: Popular Literature of the North and South, 1861–1865; James M. McPherson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era; Joan Waugh, author of U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth; Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War and The Union War; and Richard Wightman Fox, who is working on a book on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral.

Assassination Witness’s Account
The website also includes audio excerpts of a dramatic account by Joseph H. Hazelton (1855–1936), who was, at age 10, handing out programs at Ford’s Theatre on the night of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865. This exceedingly rare recording, the original of which is in The Huntington’s collections, contains Hazelton’s harrowing recollections of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the events surrounding that fateful night. The Huntington’s recording was made in 1933 at Freeman Lang's studios in Hollywood, Calif.

New Video and Artwork
Another feature is a short contemporary video showing artist Barret Oliver in the field using the same 19th-century techniques practiced by Civil War photographers covering the conflict. “In the Usual Manner” was shot primarily at the mausoleum at The Huntington, where Henry E. Huntington and his wife, Arabella, are interred, to offer a glimpse into Oliver’s darkroom and field processes.


Artist Steve Roden’s contemporary audio piece, completely silenced, which was commissioned for the exhibition, will also be available on the website.

The Huntington’s “A Strange and Fearful Interest” website is designed by Alison Glazier, of Muse & Memory, Los Angeles.


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CONTACTS:  Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260,
                         Susan Turner-Lowe, 626-405-2147,

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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