Exhibit Opening Ceremony Monday, September 16 at 10:30am – Please Join Us!

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September 16 - October 26, Alfred C. O'Connell Library

civil war veterans

The perspectives of surgeons, physicians, and nurses are richly documented in the history of Civil War medicine, which highlights the heroism and brutality of battlefield operations and the challenges of caring for the wounded during wartime. Yet the experiences of injured soldiers during the conflict and in the years afterwards are less well-known.

More than three million soldiers fought in the war from 1861-1865. More than half a million died, and almost as many were wounded but survived. Hundreds of thousands were permanently disabled by battlefield injuries or surgery, which saved lives by sacrificing limbs. Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War explores the experiences of disabled Civil War veterans who served as a symbol of the fractured nation and a stark reminder of the costs of the conflict.

GCC library and college faculty and staff members have enhanced this exhibit to include displays of Civil War era medical devices and instruments from John Potera’s extensive private collection, and a life-sized diorama depicting a typical field hospital in action. In addition, several speakers are planned who will discuss different aspects of the war, from its impact on families to its influence on the practice of medicine and nursing, and modern prosthetics used to address challenges faced by today’s amputees. Additional images and documents and objects on loan from the Holland Land Office Museum will also be displayed in the library Media Room throughout the exhibit.

Photos and text courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

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