Thursday, January 10, 2013

New on the Shelf : U.S. Army Unit & Organizational Histories

It doesn't take long as a family or local history historian to learn to appreciate bibliographies.  What is a bibliography?  Simply put it is a listing of resources pertinent to one subject, such as a geographic location or topic of interest.  These listings can be invaluable in locating obscure items in remote places. 

We are pleased to announce the addition of United States Army Unit and Organization Histories : a bibliography, compiled by James T. Controvich.  The set was gifted to the Local History Collection by the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS) in memory of member & local history volunteer Kenneth Hartman of Dowagiac who passed away last summer. 

Kenneth Hartman
Comprised of two hard-cover volumes, listings in this bibliography are broken down into pre-WWI and WWI to present.   To illustrate, let's assume that we had an ancestor who served in the 17th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War, and that we would like to know all we can find out about not only him personally, but the unit's history. 

Using the chapter entitled "State Militia, National Guard, and Military Histories before 1917" broken down by state, we flip to the Michigan section and follow the numbered units to find the 17th Michigan which is listed on page 317.   Some of the listings for the 17th include:
  • Comrades 17th Michigan Infatry [Communications from the Secretary, Chas. D. Dowles, including a roster of survivors], 1885
  • Roster 17th Michigan Infantry, 1892
  • Roster of Seventeenth Regiment, Michigan Infantry, 1901
  • "The West in the War of the Rebellion, as Told in Sketches of Some of its Generals," Magazine of Western History, 1886
  • Recollections of the East Tennessee Campaign, Battle of Campbell Station, 16th Nov., 1863, Siege of Knoxville, 17th Nov.-5th Dec., 1863, William H. Brearley
  • "Charge of the Stonewall Regiment," Dartmouth Magazine
  •  Stonewall Regiment : a history of the 17th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, by William Christen
  • Southern Prisons : or, Josie, the Heroine of Florence, by Morgan E. Dowling
  • A Soldier's Diary, by David Lane
  • My Experiences as a Prisoner of War, by Frederick W. Swift
 Excerpts from the book's introduction:
With this compilation the listing becomes the most comprehensive listing of the subject matter yet compiled as it includes an entire spectrum of American wars...The compiler has researched various state and major libraries trying to expand the number of entries.  The unit history is and was often a product that was written and produced for a very narrow audience.  They were frequently distributed in extremely limited numbers by small presses and often instantly out of print...
The following criteria is listed for inclusion in the set:
  • Officially sponsored or produced histories
  • Produced by the unit or command public affairs office
  • Privately sponsored of "unofficial"  histories
  • Photographic or pictorial histories
  • Printed or published personnel rosters
  • Route of Battle maps
  • Posters, broadsides, etc.
  • Personal narratives that are unit specific or identifiable in content
  • Periodical articles 
  • State, county, city and town memorials
 Not included in this bibliography are manuscripts, thesis papers, scrapbooks, etc.   Reference sets, this one included, cannot yet be found on Google Books or any other online environment, but can be viewed at a library.  The true military buffs may consider purchasing a set, albeit pricey.

Patrons may view the set in the Local History Collection anytime during operation hours.  Contact us with any questions.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 unknown woman
Photographer - Horton, Gobleville (Gobles)

Can you identify the young woman in this cabinet card?  Do you have knowledge of the photographer?  Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.    

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