Title page.  From Warren Lee Goss, The Soldierís Story of his Captivity at Andersonville, Belle Isle, and other Rebel Prisons, published in 1871

A Selection of Rare Books from the Robert Allen Ragland Sr. Memorial Civil War Collection

 

The late Robert Allen Ragland Sr. was a Murfreesboro native who attended Middle Tennessee State University.  He had a keen interest in history.  He was a member of various national and local historical organizations, and served as an engaging and energetic volunteer at Stones River National Battlefield, the Sam Davis Home, and Cannonsburg Pioneer Village.

 

Map of the Stones River battlefield.  From William D. Bickham, Rosecrans' Campaign with the Fourteenth Army Corps, published in 1863.

Although his historical interests were wide-ranging, Ragland was especially interested in the Civil War. He was curious about all aspects of the conflict--from the lives of famous generals to the experiences of common foot soldiers, from the unfolding events of decisive campaigns to the engineering problems associated with cannon construction. He indulged his curiosity by amassing a collection of some 1,000 books on the war. 

 

Chromolithograph illustration.  From Lafayette C. Baker, The United States Secret Service in the Late War, published in 1889.

Shortly after his death in August 2001, Raglandís collection was donated to Walker Library.  It was christened the Robert Allen Ragland Sr. Memorial Civil War Collection.  The collection is rich and varied, comprising books published during and shortly after the Civil War, and it also consists of regimental histories, memoirs, and other books written by veterans and published across the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 

Fold-out map of the Franklin battlefield.  From Jacob D. Cox, The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, published in 1897.

The Current exhibition in the Special Collections area celebrates Raglandís life as an avid reader and book collector.  But it also honors his generosity in wanting to find an institutional home where his books would be used to further the research of scholars and stimulate the historical imagination of students.      


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