Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Christian McWhirter  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1978 in North York, Ontario, Canada

-- Website --
-- Christian McWhirter on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

McWhirter moved to Springfield, Illinois, in 2013 to work at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library as part of the ''Papers of Abraham Lincoln'' project.

Biographical and Professional Information

Christian McWhirter is an Assistant Editor for ''The Papers of Abraham Lincoln'' and Editor of the ''Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association''. His first book, ''Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War'' (2012) was a selection of the History Book Club. He has also written articles for the ''New York Times Disunion'' blog, the ''Blackwell's Companion'' series, and ''Civil War Monitor''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War (Civil War America)
ISBN: 1469613670

The University of North Carolina Press. 2014

Music was everywhere during the Civil War. Tunes could be heard ringing out from parlor pianos, thundering at political rallies, and setting the rhythms of military and domestic life. With literacy still limited, music was an important vehicle for communicating ideas about the war, and it had a lasting impact in the decades that followed. Drawing on an array of published and archival sources, Christian McWhirter analyzes the myriad ways music influenced popular culture in the years surrounding the war and discusses its deep resonance for both whites and blacks, South and North.

Though published songs of the time have long been catalogued and appreciated, McWhirter is the first to explore what Americans actually said and did with these pieces. By gauging the popularity of the most prominent songs and examining how Americans used them, McWhirter returns music to its central place in American life during the nation's greatest crisis. The result is a portrait of a war fought to music.

On Lincoln's Mind: Leading the Nation to the Gettysburg Address
ISBN: 0942579267

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. 2013


  • History Book Club Selection, ''Battle Hymns''

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    For speaking engagements, please contact the marketing department at the University of North Carolina Press. The author is willing to speak on a wide variety of topics related to the Civil War and American history, although he is specifically qualified to speak on Civil War music and nineteenth-century popular culture. McWhirter can also speak on various aspects of Abraham Lincoln's life and career. At minimum, the author requires coverage of any travel and accommodation expenses, although he often requests a small speaking fee.