Friday, October 8, 2010

Asking for advice

A bit off subject buy maybe this can be of value to others as well. I'm working on my Civil War book collection. You know the has spilled out on to the floor, isn't in very good order, you can't remember if you have a  book but can't find it if you do. Yeah that one. For those of you with considerable libraries how do you shelve your books? Is it straight by author? Do you divide by subject? If so, how? How do you keep track of  biographies? Are they by author or by the subject matter? If by subject how do you deal with authors with a large and varied body of work such as maybe Eric Wittenberg?

I have tried LibraryThing but have to admit that I just can't get motivated to enter everything. While that would help record keeping should something terrible happen it doesn't address the shelving issue.

Any ideas are appreciated before the shelves become completely out of control.


  1. Good question. I group my theme, largely because I can not always remember who wrote a particular book. I have my several groupings: Robert E. Lee, ANV battles and campaigns, AofT battles and campaigns, North Carolina (which is subdivided into general, regimental, geographical, etc), civilian section, Florida, Alabama, Federal (also broken down), and then a section on general Confederate topics – chaplains, justice, staff, etc. My biographies are grouped by person. I plan is to regroup them via the person alphabetically. Not got to that yet. This may not work for some people, but having all my Lee books, or all my Gettysburg books together works well for me. Or course, I probably use my books a little different than some…

  2. Robert, I do mine like this:

    Battles and campaigns
    Unit histories (including armies) Confederate and Union separate.
    Diaries, letters, & Journals (C&U sep)
    Memoirs (C&U Sep)
    Biographies (C&U Sep)
    Political Figures (C&S Sep)
    Community histories
    Photographs and Art
    Soldier Experiences
    Outbreak of the Rebellion
    War's Aftermath/Reconstruction
    Command, Strategy and Tactics

    I may have forgotten one or two in there.

  3. Mine are organized like this:

    Confederate bios
    Union bios
    General reference
    Eastern Theater campaigns/battles
    Western Theater campaigns/battles
    Confederate cavalry
    Union cavalry
    Other unit histories

  4. Robert - what a great question and interesting comments already!Like most of the other fellows-whose collections I am sure are much bigger than mine,I also separate mine by subject:

    - Historical fiction (all periods but mostly Sharon Kay Penman)
    - Civil War Medicine
    - WWII
    -all other conflicts
    -battle narratives
    -ORs and special sets
    - biography
    -soldier life

  5. Whoops -forgot I also have a shelf devoted to chaplains (all wars) and religious aspects of the Civil War

  6. I solved the problem the lazy way. I keep all my ACW books in one 19th century American Craftsman Style bookcase. I'm now accumulating them digitally on the Kindle, which works better since Amazon "stocks" them for me as I finish them.