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February 4, 2013

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust to Commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial at the Library of Congress

An estimated 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers lost their lives in the Civil War. These deaths permanently transformed the character of American society.

Drew Gilpin Faust, 28th President of Harvard University and Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will join Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns in exploring this theme on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at noon in the Coolidge Auditorium, located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.

This event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

The event is presented in conjunction with the Library of Congress exhibition "The Civil War in America," which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the war and runs through June 1, 2013.

As part of the presentation, Burns will feature clips from his PBS documentary "Death and the Civil War," which was based upon Faust’s book "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War" (2008), winner of the Bancroft Prize in 2009 and a finalist for both a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Faust will sign copies of her books immediately following the presentation. Also participating in the presentation will be Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

In addition to her work as president of Harvard, Faust is one of the foremost historians of the Civil War and the American South. She was the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and served on the history faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for 25 years. Faust is the author of six books, including "Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War" (1996). She was elected to the Society of American Historians in 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994 and the American Philosophical Society in 2004.

Burns has been writing, directing and producing historical documentaries for nearly 20 years. His documentaries "Eugene O’Neill" (2006) and "Andy Warhol" (2006) won Emmy Awards for outstanding writing for non-fiction programming. He is best known for his eight-part series "New York: A Documentary Film" (1999). He co-produced the PBS series "The Civil War" (1990), with his brother Ken Burns.

The exhibition "The Civil War in America" reveals the complexity of the Civil War through those who experienced it firsthand, including through items in the Library’s collections never before on public view that offer a human perspective on the war and shed new light on the many ways that this terrible conflict helped shape the American people and the nation. The exhibition, free and open to the public, is on view from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in the Southwest Exhibition Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Made possible by the generous support of the James Madison Council, additional funding is also provided by Union Pacific Corporation, the Liljenquist family and AARP.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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PR 13-021
ISSN 0731-3527

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