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New "Binding Wounds" Exhibit at Malpass Library Coincides with Civil War Book Discussion April 5

March 26, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University Libraries is hosting "Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine," a traveling exhibit developed by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, through Tuesday, April 24. The exhibit is displayed in the Leslie F. Malpass Library Garden Lounge on the WIU-Macomb campus and is available for viewing during regular Malpass Library hours (see

According to Marketing and Outreach Librarian Tammy Sayles, the "Binding Wounds" display is a six-panel exhibit that highlights men and women who served as surgeons and nurses during the Civil War, and shows how their work as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender.

In addition to the "Binding Wounds" panel exhibit, a collection of surgical instruments from the Civil War era will also be on display through April 24. The instruments belong to Dr. Donald Dexter of Macomb, who served as a surgeon at McDonough District Hospital, as well as a physician at Beu Health Center. A dental chair from the Civil War, which belongs to Macomb dentist Dr. Jerry Spolar, will also be on display Monday, April 2-Friday, April 6.

"University Libraries is honored to display these wonderful local artifacts," noted Dean of University Libraries Phyllis Self. "I encourage the public to come to the Malpass Library to see them."

Self also said the "Binding Wounds" exhibit complements the University Libraries' five-part reading and discussion series, "Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War," which will conclude with the Thursday, April 5 session.

The April 5 session is slated to start at 7 p.m. and will be led by WIU Assistant Professor of History Tim Roberts. The final session will continue to focus on, "America's War: Talking About the Civil War and the Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries," an anthology of historical fiction, speeches, diaries, memoirs, biography and short stories. (See

"The 'Binding Wounds' exhibit provides another compelling aspect to add to the conversation that has been going on about the Civil War through the 'Let's Talk About It' series," Self said.

Self added that a reception prior to the final "Let's Talk About It" book discussion will be held from 6-7 p.m. April 5 also in the Malpass Library Garden Lounge. Both events, the reception and book discussion, are open free to the public.

Last November
, Western Illinois University Libraries and the WIU Department of History started hosting "Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War." University Libraries is one system of 65 libraries or library systems nationwide that received a grant to host the series developed by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

For more information about the "Binding Wounds" exhibit or about the "Let's Talk About It" Civil War reading and discussion series, contact Sayles at (309) 298-3298 or via email at

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