Nineteenth-century ledger and scrapbook that documents the Civil War period in Savannah now available online

The Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) is pleased to announce the availability of a nineteenth-century ledger and scrapbook from our partners at the Coastal Heritage Society that features entries from the the Civil War period recorded by employees of the Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia, at The ledger was digitized and described as part of the DLG’s 2018 Competitive Digitization grant program, a funding opportunity intended to broaden DLG partner participation for statewide historic digitization projects.

Lydia Moreton, the Curator of Collections for Coastal Heritage Society notes: “The Carpentry Shop ledger is a snapshot in time at one of the busiest industrial railroad complexes in the South just prior to and during the American Civil War. It is a highly prized object in the Coastal Heritage Society collection. This ledger has detailed information spanning four years at the Carpentry Shop in the Central’s Savannah Shops. This includes fabricating weapons for the war effort and construction of the Passenger Shed which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.”

The ledger/scrapbook spans from 1860 to 1864 (for the ledger) and the 1870s to the 1890s (for the scrapbook). Sections of the ledger record the tasks of white employees and laborers, as well as work performed by enslaved African Americans, providing a snapshot in time at one of the busiest industrial railroad complexes in the South just prior to and during the American Civil War. The scrapbook portions of the book feature assorted newspaper clippings from the 1870s to the 1890s that include popular poetry, illustrations, and newspaper articles related to love, death, murder trials, funerals, and topics surrounding bereavement.

Rita Elliott, Education Coordinator and Research Associate at the Lamar Institute in Rincon, Georgia states: “The many types of history the ledger contains make it a unique source for multiple audiences. It can provide content for exhibit design, public outreach programming, history books, and 6-12th grade curricula. Exhibit designers and public outreach professionals will delight in the historical script reflective of important historical themes. History scholars as well as graduate students will find it a potent source to mine for their specific research interests. Railroad buffs will be fascinated with the information it contains. Teachers can benefit from a unique primary document to use in their curricula.”

About the Coastal Heritage Society (Savannah, Ga.)

The mission of Coastal Heritage Society is to provide educational experiences for the public through the preservation and presentation of the historic resources of coastal Georgia and adjacent regions. Coastal Heritage Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation founded in 1975 which operates five historic museums for visitors to explore. These include the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the Savannah Children’s Museum, the Savannah History Museum, Old Fort Jackson, and the Pin Point Heritage Museum. Visit the Coastal Heritage Society at

About the Digital Library of Georgia

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture and life. This primary mission is accomplished through the ongoing development, maintenance and preservation of digital collections and online digital library resources. DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.