South Carolina ETV

Walter Edgar's Journal

Found: Mary Chesnut’s Civil War photo albums


Friday - October 07, 2011


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About This Show

Mary Chesnut’s diary, originally published forty years after the Civil War as Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, is generally acknowledged today as the finest literary work of the Confederacy. Spiced by the author's sharp intelligence, irreverent wit, and keen sense of irony and metaphorical vision, it uses a diary format to evoke a full, accurate picture of the South in civil war.  Her words, however, were originally complemented by three personal photograph albums that were filled with annotated pictures of the many people found throughout the diary.

Lost or stolen since the 1930s, the albums were only rediscovered in 2007. Now the photos are about to be published, with the original, Diary from Dixie-version of Chesnut’s diary, as Mary Chesnut’s Illustrated Diary, Mulberry Edition Boxed Set. In addition, the photo albums are being given by Chesnut’s descendents to USC’s Caroliniana Library to be re-united with her original journals.

Joining Dr. Edgar to tell the story of these remarkable photos are Martha Daniels, a descendant of Mary Chestnut; Harvey Teal, an authority on 19th century photographs and author of Partners with the Sun; and Henry Fulmer, Curator of Manuscripts, for the South Caroliniana Library.


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