The New History of the Old South: What the Filsons Collections Reveal about Antebellum Kentucky
Professor Christina Snyder researched much of her award-winning book, Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson, at the Filson Historical Society. Great Crossings was an experimental community in Scott County where America’s diverse peoples intersected and articulated new visions of the continent’s future. The town got its name the previous century, when bison habitually crossed Elkhorn Creek at that shallow spot. By the nineteenth century, the bison had disappeared, but Great Crossings became a different kind of meeting ground, home to the first federal Indian school and a famous interracial family. The story of this community reflects, in microcosm, the large-scale forces shaping the continent between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, but the place itself animated some of those changes, profoundly impacting those involved and influencing national policies in the United States and in Indian Country. This talk highlights some of the Filson’s manuscript collections, demonstrating how they enhance our understanding of the antebellum era.