CATTON, BRUCE

Remarkable 31 Letter Archive by Civil War Historian Bruce Catton with Excellent Content

Item #19617


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CATTON, BRUCE - Remarkable 31 Letter Archive by Civil War Historian Bruce Catton with Excellent Content
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CATTON, BRUCE - Remarkable 31 Letter Archive by Civil War Historian Bruce Catton with Excellent Content

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“What I propose to discuss is the chain of events which led President Lincoln to dismiss General McClellan – and by chain of events I mean practically everything from the battle of Ball’s Bluff on down through Antietam”

 

CATTON, BRUCE. (1899-1978). Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and founding editor of American Heritagemagazine;author of A Stillness at Appomattox. Archive of 31 typed letters signed. (“Bruce Catton” & “Bruce”). 32pp. February 25, 1951 to February 12, 1976. On his personal stationery as well as American Heritage and New York’s Civil War Centennial Commission letterheads. To notable Civil War scholar, author and collector, ARNOLD F. GATES (1914-1993) and several other members of the New York Civil War Round Table.

 

“I am at the moment writing another book which begins about where ‘Mr. Lincoln’s Army’ closed, and the delivery date for the manuscript is beginning to seem very near; for a few weeks I’m afraid I will be kept fairly close to Washington. Meanwhile, I am very glad that you liked the book. It has seemed to me, sometimes, that I must have had far more temerity than brains, to go ahead and write a book on a subject concerning which there are so very many well-informed experts as the Civil War…” February 25, 1951

 

What I propose to discuss is the chain of events which led President Lincoln to dismiss General McClellan – and by chain of events I mean practically everything from the battle of Ball’s Bluff on down through Antietam. I also propose to take as a point of departure the idea that this present generation is ideally fitted to understand the problems which confronted soldiers and statesmen of the Civil War period, because we are having such similar problems today…” April 20, 1951

 

I would rather like to talk about the beginning of the Civil War, although I wonder whether Roy Nichols won’t cover a good deal of that ground; however, the subject is pretty broad and I guess there will be room for both of us.” October 7, 1960

 

“Somehow I never seem to put a title on a speech. Can you, by any chance, remember what in hell I talked about last time I spoke to the Round Table here? I’d hate to repeat myself; the thing I have in mind right now dwells on the tragic nature of the Civil War experience, but if I have sounded off before this group on that subject in the past I’d better switch to something else. Might do a review of the 1860 election campaign that started the whole fuss.” November 14, 1960

 

I am asking the publishers of the ‘Civil War Bibliography’ to send you a copy… I think you will find this a useful compendium and if you don’t get a copy very soon, please let me know.” May 2, 1962

 

Governor Rockefeller and a most distinguished group of Americans dedicated to the ideals of Abraham Lincoln and the principles of freedom as he first proclaimed them in September, 1862 –

will join with us to honor the Centennial of the Emancipation at a dinner in the Park-Sheraton Hotel, New York City at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, September 12, 1962… The now priceless original document of Emancipation – in the hand of President Lincoln – will be with us so that you may read the original – truly one of mankind’s most cherished treasures – which has been held by the Empire State as a possession and a sacred trust…” August 30, 1962

 

About all I can suggest in the way of a topic is a general discussion of what we all learned from the Civil War centennial period…” October 22, 1965

 

I gather you are not too enthusiastic about the Stonewall Jackson Memorial, and I certainly won’t try to talk you into it. The opening at Lincoln Memorial University might be something else again. Technically, of course, that university is in the South but it is in the East Tennessee country, and I don’t believe you would encounter nearly as much of the prejudice and injustice there that you might run into in places further south. The university, as you doubtless know, is rather small, but I have been there a few times and have a rather high regard for it, and you just might find that being Director of the Department of Lincolniana was a rewarding sort of job…” April 26, 1966

 

Catton was a World War I veteran, journalist and federal employee prior to penning his Army of the Potomac trilogy, a Civil War history comprised of Mr. Lincoln’s Army, Glory Road and A Stillness at Appomattox, the lastvolumeof whichwon him a Pulitzer Prize for History and a National Book Award for Nonfiction. His other works on the Civil War include U.S. Grant and the American Military Tradition, Banners at Shenandoah: A Story of Sheridan’s Fighting Cavalry and This Hallowed Ground and were recognized by the Civil War Roundtable of New York. For his work, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 by President Ford who noted that Catton “made us hear the sounds of battle and cherish peace.”

 

In 1957, Congress passed a resolution creating the United States Civil War Centennial Commission which coordinated the commemoration of the war which lasted until 1965, the 100th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox. The events were diverse and included everything from reenactment of battles to historical roundtables. It was undoubtedly because of his scholarship and high profile that Catton was chosen to serve on the Civil War Centennial Commission.

 

Taking place during the Cold War, the commemoration was meant to promote “the successes and advantages of Western democracy over communism and totalitarianism. However, American society was in the midst of a growing civil rights movement, with the centennial of Bull Run in 1961 occurring only seven years after the Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools in Brown v. Board of Education. The national commission’s events planned for the anniversary of the firing upon Fort Sumter got headline news when an African American delegate from New Jersey was denied accommodations in the same restaurant and hotel facilities as other event participants in Charleston, South Carolina.  The New Jersey, California, Illinois and New York state delegations promptly boycotted the meeting.  President John F. Kennedy wrote the national commission insisting on a non-discrimination policy in its activities,” (“Preserving the Memory - Centennial Celebration,” NPS.gov). Southern states used the centennial to promote Jim Crow and the Southern way of life. Sadly, “the Centennial Commission was never able to promote its original vision of national unity nor was it able to promote its anniversary events and to draw the large crowds that it had once envisioned.  The controversy surrounding the centennial events demonstrated that the legacies and repercussions of the Civil War had not yet been completely comprehended or entirely solved,” (ibid.). Catton touches on these matters in his correspondence which includes letters related to his speaking engagements, publications, his talks and attendance at the New York Civil War Round Table, the Advisory Committee to the State of New York Civil War Centennial Commission, publication of the centennial’s history, and possible jobs for Gates.

 

American historian Roy Nichols (1896-1973) won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book The Disruption of American Democracy.

 

Gates, a well-respected amateur historian of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, devoted 50 years to researching those subjects, reviewing books for the Lincoln Herald and contributing to such works as the anthology Lincoln for the Ages. He was an avid letter writer and “friend and unofficial agent of many a noted author,” (“Autographica Curiosa: How Not to Impress Emily Post,” Autograph Magazine, Butts).

 

In excellent condition.

 

Item #19617


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