852 RARE: The Weekly Special

April 12, 1861 marked the beginning of the Civil War with an early-morning attack at Fort Sumter.  One of Harvard Law School’s brightest alums, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. joined the ranks of the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment of the Union Army in 1861, and fought in the war until 1864.

The 35-star American flag carried by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. during the Civil War. The flag now hangs on the fifth floor of the library, across from Areeda 524.

Two years ago the library created the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Digital Collection, which features portions of the Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Papers relating to his experiences in the Civil War that received conservation treatment and were digitized thanks to generous funding from another HLS alum, Norman B. Tomlinson (J.D. 1951).  To see the digitized letters from Holmes to his parents, his military papers, and his civil war diary, click here.

To see the full catalog record for the flag, view the VIA record here.

Scroll to Top