The BookPrison Pens is the third book in the New Perspectives on the Civil War Era series, edited by Judkin Browning and Susanna Lee, for the University of Georgia Press. Information about this exciting series and the books on its list can be found here.
Work on this project began in September 2014. That summer, Tim Williams worked with the collection of letters between Wash and Mollie at the Special Collections and University Archives in Newman Library at Virginia Tech and suggested co-editing the collection for the New Perspectives on the Civil Warseries. As it so happened, Evan Kutzler had spent part of the same summer at the Virginia Historical Society, where he came across a written manuscript copy of Wash Nelson’s memoir. It soon became clear that these two collections complemented each other in unexpected ways. While the letters and memoir were not designed to be read side by side, pairing the wartime and postwar sources allows access into the historical mind of men and women and the creative process of reading, writing, and interpreting the Civil War era.
Kutzler and Williams worked from high resolution digital scans of Wash and Mollie’s letters, which are held at the Virginia Tech Special Collections Library at Newman Library. You can view the originals on the library’s website by clicking here.