New Civil War Index – Temple Exclusive!

Background William Still’s Underground Railroad was first published in Philadelphia in 1872, and is considered by many historians to be the most important primary-source document available on the subject. As a consequence of its historical significance, Still’s book today is widely available in print, microfiche, and online (see, for example, the original 1872 illustrated edition from Quinnipiac University Library; or the 1878 revised edition at Project Gutenberg). Portions of the Underground Railroad are also available in two Temple-only Alexander Street Press databases: The American Civil War: Letters & Diaries and North American Women’s Letters & Diaries. For each letter writer in Still’s book, Alexander Street Press indexes the following: name; places of birth and death, if known; gender; nationality; race; ethnicity; religion; occupation; education level; school attended; political allegiance (Union or confederate); state of residence; military status and rank, if applicable; marital and parental status; and cause of death. It is easy to restrict a search to any combination of these fields (e.g. male letter writers from Pennsylvania who were Quakers). Temple Exclusive Temple University Libraries is pleased to make available the McGowan Index – Copyright 2003 by Temple alumnus, James A. McGowan — a new and wholly unique index to William Still’s important work. The focus here is on the runaways. McGowan’s database indexes name and alias (of runaway); day, month, and year of escape; city, county, and state of origin; gender; age; color; number of escapees in the party, including number captured if applicable; children in the party; ability of runaway to read/write; conductor name; party armed or unarmed; violence or no violence involved in escape; mode of escape; owner name; and estimated monetary value of runaway in and out of home state. The McGowan Index opens up new opportunities for research, and it beautifully complements the indexing done by Alexander Street Press. Note that page numbers refer to the 1970 Johnson Publications reprint of the Underground Railroad, not the original 1872 edition. All researchers, Temple and non-Temple alike, are encouraged to download the Index (350 K), which is in Excel spreadsheet format, from the U.S. Civil War Subject Guide. Using Excel filters, users can limit searches to a particular field or combination of fields. The McGowan Index may be used for educational purposes only. —David C. Murray

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