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Collection Guide
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Bierce (Ambrose) Foster family collection of materials
M2146  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection consists of correspondence (including one letter from Ambrose Bierce to a family member), photographs, maps, field notes, receipts, dispatches, telegrams, and printed material, chiefly relating to the Civil War career of Bierce as a surveyor as well as his extended family in Indiana, especially sister Almeda Sophia Bierce Pittenger (the original source of this collection), father Marcus Aurelius and brothers Albert and Addison Bierce.
Background
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce was born in Meigs County, Ohio on June 24, 1842, the tenth child of Marcus Aurelius and Laura Sherwood Bierce. Little is known of his childhood; he became a printer's apprentice in Kosciusko County, Indiana, before entering the Kentucky Military Institute in 1859. Shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War, Bierce was a laborer and waiter in Elkhart, Indiana. Bierce enlisted in the 9th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers following Lincoln's call for volunteers and served for nearly the duration. Bierce was one of the few war veteran writers to have such front-lines experience, surviving some the war's most bloody battles, including Shiloh, Missionary Ridge, and Chickamauga. Bierce progressed in rank from private to lieutenant and became the acting topographical engineer on Gen. W. B. Hazen's staff. At the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Bierce sustained a near-fatal head wound from which it took months to recover. It is clear that his war experiences did much to inform his "Bitter Bierce" persona.
Extent
3.0 Linear Feet : 2 boxes, 1 half-box, 1 flat box
Restrictions
While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.
Availability
Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.