Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), Vol. 1 No. 2: November-December 2012 Page: 6
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Michelle Krowl is the Library's Civil War and
Reconstruction specialist in the Manuscript Division and
one of the curators of "The Civil War in America," a major
Library exhibition opening Nov. 12. She discusses her
work at the Library and her life long interest in the Civil
What's your job at the Library?
I am the Civil War and Reconstruction specialist
in the Manuscript Division. My work varies day
to day, but generally I answer reference questions,
consult with researchers about relevant collections,
recommend the acquisition of new materials, and
work on special projects. Most recently, I have
been focused on curating materials for display in
the Library's upcoming Civil War exhibition.
What is your academic and professional
I am a third-generation San Diegan who went
to UC Riverside for my B.A. and UC Berkeley
for my M.A. and Ph.D. in history. I was an
assistant professor of history at Northern Virginia
Community College, and an archival processor
and library assistant at the Historical Society of
Washington, D.C. I was also one of Doris Kearns
Goodwin's researchers for "Team of Rivals," which
involved research in the Abraham Lincoln Papers
and many other Civil War-era collections housed
in the Manuscript Division. I spent so much time
at the Library during the "Team of Rivals" project
that it already felt like my second home before I
joined the staff in 2010.
My "Team of Rivals" experience has continued
into my new position. Director Steven Spielberg
has adapted the book into his new film "Lincoln,"
starring Daniel Day-Lewis. I've fielded some
reference questions related to the film, and even
had a chance to visit the set in Richmond last year.
That sounds exciting. What was that like?
It was a lot of fun to watch the filming process
and be surrounded by people in Civil War
costumes! I had the chance to meet Steven
Spielberg, screenwriter Tony Kushner, some
of the production crew I knew from e-mail
exchanges and a number of the actors in the film.
What impressed me most about the day was the
seriousness of purpose everyone shared in telling
the story with historical accuracy and, that despite
all the star power in the room, everyone was just
as nice as could they could be. It was a memorable
6 LCM I Library of Congress Magazine
What inspired your interest in the Civil War?
A childhood book, which I still have, called "Meet Mr. Lincoln"
introduced me at an early age to Abraham Lincoln. While still in
elementary school, I received a picture book on Lincoln's life and
remember poring over all the pictures from the war with great interest.
From then on I was hooked, and the Civil War has always been my
favorite era in history.
Who is your favorite Civil War figure, and why?
Abraham Lincoln, no question. There are so many qualities about him
to admire. He overcame tremendous obstacles in his life. He valued
knowledge and worked to educate himself. He was a wonderful writer,
and he bore the heavy burden of prosecuting the Civil War, often in the
face of crushing defeats and great criticism. Yet he persevered through it
all with both a sense of purpose and a sense of humor. And despite being
ambitious for success, he was also willing to compromise and take abuse
when he saw that the cause was more important than his own ego.
Have you learned anything new about the Civil War while working in the
I always knew the Library offered amazing Civil War resources, but
their depth continues to surprise me as I further explore our collections.
About a year ago, I happened upon the note from Confederate Gen.
Beauregard's representatives to Union Major Robert Anderson on the
morning of April 12, 1861, that Fort Sumter would be fired upon in an
hour, which it was. It was like having the Civil War's birth certificate in
front of me! You never know what great stuff you'll find when you poke
around in a box of manuscripts.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Office of Communications, Library of Congress. Library of Congress Magazine (LCM), Vol. 1 No. 2: November-December 2012, periodical, November 2012; Washington, D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc133017/m1/8/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .