AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The Special Collections and Archives Department of Auburn University Libraries has added another significant historical document to its collection of materials documenting the American Civil War. Through a donation by the family of Nancy Eckert Galbreath, the Thomas Thompson Eckert diary has become a permanent part of Special Collections and Archives’ documents available to scholars studying this chapter of American history.
The Eckert diary, with entries written between Jan. 2 and Dec. 1865, offers a glimpse into a time when the United States was preparing for the end of the Civil War and the period immediately after. Eckert, at the time the general superintendent of military telegraph at the War Department with the rank of major, was a confidant of President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton. He participated in the failed Hampton Roads peace conference in February 1865 and was at Lincoln’s bedside when the president died on April 15, 1865.
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University Libraries has acquired a rare collection of Civil War papers and documents that offer insight into the peace negotiations that took place between emissaries of the Union and Confederacy aboard a steamer at Hampton Roads, Va., in February 1865. The Hampton Roads Peace Conference is featured prominently in the movie “Lincoln,” which has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards.
The papers will be added to the Ralph Brown Draughon Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department, supporting the already rich physical collection of Civil War-related material preserved there. They will also be digitized and made available to researchers and Civil War historians around the world.
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – “Deep Water in the Deep South: Coastal Alabama’s Complicated Response to the BP Oil Spill” is the topic of the Feb. 6 Discover Auburn lecture.
Judith Sheppard, an associate professor in Auburn University’s Department of Communication and Journalism in the College of Liberal Arts, will give the talk at 3 p.m. in the Special Collections and Archives Department of the Ralph Brown Draughon Library. Jack Simms, former chair of the Department of Journalism, will introduce and moderate the free public program.
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The spring season of the Discover Auburn lecture series begins Jan. 29 with a talk by Steven Brown on his new book, “John McKinley and the Antebellum Supreme Court: Circuit Riding in the Old Southwest.” Brown’s talk is at 3 p.m. in the Special Collections and Archives Department at the Ralph Brown Draughon Library.
According to Brown, an associate professor in Auburn University’s Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts, Andrew Jackson once called McKinley “the most important man in Alabama.” Brown said McKinley not only played a prominent role in the settling of Alabama as a major land speculator but also contributed to the creation of its educational institutions as one of the first trustees of the University of Alabama and served Alabama politics as a member of the state legislature.
AUBURN – The Auburn University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives Department has collected for archival preservation items that were placed at the base of the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner following the news that the trees had been poisoned.
The collection will be on display in the Ralph Brown Draughon Library beginning Tuesday, April 12, through A-Day weekend, April 16-17, during regular library hours. The library opens at 1 p.m. on Sundays and remains open continuously until 6 p.m. on Fridays. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
AUBURN – The recent donation to Auburn University Libraries of a letter written by Alabama statesman and politician John Williams Walker (1783-1823) sheds light on an important chapter in Alabama history. In the letter, dated February 1818, Walker lobbied for a western boundary with Mississippi that would keep the majority of the Tombigbee River within Alabama’s borders.
The letter is a plea from Walker for the recipient in Washington, D.C., as yet unidentified, to work hard to ensure that the largest part of the Tombigbee, then known as the Tombeckbe, stay within the Alabama Territory and not become part of Mississippi. Walker wrote the letter from the Alabama Territory capital of St. Stephens as he served in the territorial legislature less than two months after Mississippi was admitted to the union in December 1817.