Lydia H. Hurley

Hi! My name is Lydia Hurley. I’m a senior at Keene State College with a double major in History (European focus) and English (writing focus.) I am currently enrolled in the Keene State History and Archiving masters program and hope to move on to a career in libraries or museums. My areas of interest mostly revolve around culture in the early Middle Ages, especially literature and art. I have always enjoyed seeing how different historical movements, including military and political, affect the arts of a specific region, and though I usually stick to the Middle Ages, the Civil War of America is also a fascinating study into what war can do to a people and their culture. I look forward to continuing my search for answers in this subject.

For my research project, I propose to look beyond the battle lines and into the homes of those who remained behind, particularly children, but also the family as a unit. What was it like for children to see their fathers, brothers, and neighbors leave, and for many, never come home? What was it like for the young boys who could not go to battle, and watched others march away? I plan on focusing on the change in childhood during/after the Civil War, including looking at children’s books, games, and toys. I will be looking into education during/after the Civil War, how it developed, and what it was like for freed slave children. I will also be doing a brief exploration on young boys who did make it to the battle grounds, in one way or another. I will be using primary sources such as Reluctant Witnesses by Emmy Werner as well as archival evidence to see the Civil War through the eyes of the children who lived it.

A Seminar at Keene State College