Thursday, November 12, 2009

Franklin Academy Annual Exhibition 1863

From the collection of the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society (1974.190.1):

click to enlarge image

Every graduating class stands at the cusp of adulthood, both eager and anxious for the future.  The Franklin Academy class of 1863 was likely no different from those going before and coming after.  Those graduates were awarded diplomas on July 8 at an elaborate, afternoon and evening event that showcased the talents of students.  All this against the backdrop of a nation at war.  Earlier that week, the Battle of Gettysburg had begun in Pennsylvania.  The first Union Conscription Act was passed in March of that year, creating a draft.  Imagine the atmosphere of celebration and trepidation represented by this historical object.  Imagine the person who held this program in her hands, enjoying the music and orations, and thinking also of the local men who were dying in the war.

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