Happy Holidays, Historic Fund Volunteers

This has been a great year for our Green-Wood Historic Fund volunteers–our best yet. Volunteers staffed our new Historic Fund cart, welcoming visitors to historic Green-Wood Cemetery, answering their questions, and selling self-guided walking tours, books, and other items. Other volunteers worked on our Civil War Project, coming in once a month to search the cemetery’s chronological books for men of appropriate age to have served in the Civil War, the initial stage of efforts to identify Civil War veterans at Green-Wood. Volunteers have written biographies of Civil War veterans, proofread those biographies, and supplemented those biographies with extensive online research. In the next few weeks we will be publishing our second edition of our Civil War Biographical Dictionary–with an amazing 4,300 biographies, hundreds of portraits, and hundreds of photographs of the most interesting gravestones of Ciivl War veterans.

This is Terry Svensen, a volunteer who diligently has searched the cemetery grounds for several years now, looking for gravestones that note service in the Civil War or men whose life dates create the possibility that they might have served in the Civil War. Terry then seeks to identify the service records of these men and supplies me with a list of those who are in unmarked graves. Mark and Stephanie Carey then complete the Department of Veterans Affairs applications for government-issued gravestones and I locate the necessary document to prove their service. Lo and behold, a few months later a gravestone arrives, to be installed by Rich Sneddon and his grave department staff at Green-Wood. So far, they’ve installed about 1,000 such gravestones to honor these Civil War veterans!

Just this past weekend, we morphed our Civil War Project volunteers into archivists, under the supervision of Brooklyn College’s Professor Tony Cucchiara, who trained them to process the cemetery’s unique archives for long-term preservation. Below is a photograph of our volunteers in action.

Our volunteers are a great group. I am honored to work with them on discovering and preserving Green-Wood Cemetery’s history. At the top of this post is a photograph of some of our volunteers, gathered on the steps of Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel, where we celebrated 2009 with our Volunteers’ Holiday Party this past Sunday. Happy Holidays!

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