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  • Item Type > Diary/Letter (x)

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An African-American Soldier Writes on Behalf of His Fellow Troops

John F. Shorter, an African-American solider writing on behalf of his fellow members of the Massachusetts 55th Regiment, addresses President Lincoln over the issue of unfair pay. Shorter charges that he and his fellow soldiers have received no pay [...]

A US Marine Writes a Letter Home from Vietnam

In September 1968, Captain Rodney R. Chastant, from Mobile, Alabama, extended his 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam with Marine Air Group 13, 1st Marine Air Wing, Da Nang. He was killed 22 October. He was 25 years old. David is his brother.

Item Type: Diary/Letter
A Soldier in Vietnam Reacts to the Assassination of Martin Luther King

In this letter home from Vietnam Sergeant. Phillip Woodall writes his father about the recent assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Comparing King's death with that of his platoon leader, an African-American lieutenant who died in battle, Woodall [...]

A Plantation Mistress Decries a "Monstrous System"

Mary Boykin Chestnut was the wife of a wealthy South Carolina planter who kept a diary during the Civil War. Published long after the war, the diary included many insightful and pointed criticisms of slavery, such as this passage, in which she calls [...]

James Madison Considers the Problems of a New Democracy

The United States Constitution, though ultimately ratified unanimously by all thirteen states, was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. James Madison, a Virginia patriot and later the fourth president [...]

A New York Farmer Outlines His Opposition to the Constitution

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Among those opposed to ratification were many small farmers in the North. As this letter written by "A [...]

A Destitute Famine Victim Sends a Desperate Letter from Ireland

Like many victims of the Great Famine, Mary Rush and her husband Michael had only one place to turn for assistance: parents or other relatives who had already emigrated. On September 6, 1846, the illiterate Mary dictated this desperate letter, [...]

A Salem Resident Cautions New York on the Dangers of Hysteria

Fires were not uncommon in New York in the early 18th century. The city's ever-present fear of destruction by fire was heightened by the suspicion that the fires of 1741 were ignited by rebellious slaves. Arson was used by enslaved New Yorkers in [...]

An Immigrant Writes a Letter Home to Ireland

Mary Ann Rowe emigrated to America from Ireland in 1888 because her father promised to leave his farm to her younger sister as a marriage dowry. Her letter to a friend back home in Dunnamaggan, suggests the homesickness experienced by millions of [...]

A Nativist New Yorker Disparages Irish Arrivals

The following are excerpts from the diaries of George Templeton Strong (1820-1875), a prominent New York lawyer. Written between 1838 and 1857, the entries reveal Strong's undisguised contempt for the Irish immigrants who were then flooding the [...]

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