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Elmira Telegram

Historical Society To Hold Civil War Lecture Series

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The Chemung County Historical Society is hosting its annual Civil War programming series this on Thursdays at 7pm this May.  All programs are free and open to the public. The series is generously sponsored by Welliver. Call 607-734-4167 ext. 205 for more information.


May 4 at 7pm: “The Accursed Ills I Cannot Bear,” Confederate Veterans & Their Families: Suicide and Suffering in the Defeated South, Dr. Diane Miller Sommerville, Binghamton University

Professor Sommerville will examine the return of Confederate veterans to the homefront after the Civil War and discuss the difficulty many faced making that transition. She will address manifestations of war trauma (commonly referred to as PTSD) including depression, anxiety, and paranoia that resulted in social & personal pathologies like alcoholism & addiction, domestic violence, and, in extreme cases, suicide. 


May 11 at 7pm: The “Great Risk” of “Opium Eating”: Opiates, Army Doctors, and Civil War Veterans, Jonathan Jones, Binghamton University

By treating badly wounded Civil War soldiers with the only pain medications of the day – the highly addictive drugs opium and morphine – military doctors and surgeons inadvertently caused an epidemic of opiate addiction during the 1860s-1880s. Americans quickly realized the magnitude of this devastating health crisis. In response to harsh public criticism, physicians took a series of radical steps to try to stop the opiate epidemic in its tracks – a situation that mirrors today’s opioid epidemic. 


May 18 at 7pm: "This is the last time I shall ever leave my family": Fatherhood in Civil War America, John P. Riley, Binghamton University

The Civil War affected soldiering family men in unique ways.  Far from being the greatest adventure of their lives, these men endured additional hardships beyond those of their young, unmarried, and childless comrades by trying to serve as heads of household in absentia while fulfilling their duties to the state.


May 25 at 7pm: “Lily’s Family,” performance by Cathleen Wiggs, The Quilt Lady Stories

Lily and her family have so very little left to them after the war; until one day an unexpected visitor shows up at their back door, and the healing begins.  A story of women's ways, trials and triumphs after the war between brothers. 


Where:  Chemung County Historical Society

415 E. Water St., Elmira, NY


When: Thursdays in May, 2017 at 7 pm


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