A century-and-a-half ago, a much smaller United States was faced with anger, hatred, pain, suffering and more questions than had answers as two armies composed of native sons laid siege to each other in the name of freedom and blood.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Canby Public Library plans an eight-part series of related events running Feb. 25 to April 16.

At the center is a national traveling panel exhibition which will be on display at the library Feb. 25 to March 18. “Civil War 150” is organized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with the Library of America.

Four parts on the Civil War

To complement the exhibit, the library is hosting a four part reading and discussion series on the Civil War, led by scholar and acclaimed Civil War novelist Lois Leveen.

The first session will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. Other discussions will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 12; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2; and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16. Readings for each session will be available at the library.

How it happened

“As you may recall, last year, we hosted a very successful reading and discussion series focused on David McCullough’s book ‘1776,’ ” said Penny Hummel, library director. “Participants loved our scholar-facilitator, Lois Leveen, and asked for more. So, we applied for and received two grants to support a Civil War series in early 2013.”

One grant of $2,200 is from the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust, who also provided support for “1776” last year. The other is a $1,000 award from the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. They also selected the Canby Public Library to host a national traveling panel exhibition called “Civil War 150.”

“ We are excited about the range of programs we are offering as they will provide multiple ways to experience this unique era of American history,” Hummel said. “As with ‘1776,’ multiple copies of the reading materials will be available at the library.

Lincoln comes to life

On Saturday, March 2, at 2:30 p.m., the library will host “A Town Hall with Abraham Lincoln,” presented by Lincoln impersonator Steve Holgate. Other events include a talk on African Americans during the war (Tuesday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m.), a Civil War fashion show presented by Lavender’s Green Historic Clothing (Saturday, April 6, at 2:30 p.m.), and a musical concert featuring songs and melodies of the Civil War (Saturday, March 16, at 2:30 p.m.).

“Civil War 150: Canby Comes Together to Discuss a Nation Torn Apart” is made possible by grants from the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust, and the Friends of the Canby Public Library.

The national project, “Civil War 150: Exploring the War and Its Meaning through the Words of Those Who Lived It,” has been made possible in part through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. For more information, visit

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