To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the exhibition Bowdoin Boys in Blue—and Gray honors the role of Bowdoin’s own during those defining years for national identity, states’ rights, and individual freedoms.
Fully twenty-five percent of then-living Bowdoin alumni and students—317 men (including eighteen Confederates)—served during the Civil War, a participation rate higher than that of any other northern college. Among those ranks were four Medal of Honor recipients, a member of Lincoln’s cabinet, several commanders of U.S. Colored Troops, and soldiers serving throughout the various theatres of combat, from Gettysburg to Louisiana. Their letters, diaries, and other personal papers, selected from the holdings of Bowdoin’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, illuminate the Civil War period both in the field and on the home front.
The exhibition, located on the second floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, is open to the public daily from January 21 through June 1, 2013, free of charge.