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The Project

The archives at Hofstra University (Long Island, New York) is  made up of several special collections, each containing various unique objects.  As students in Professor Susan Yohn's history class, it was our duty and pleasure to choose an object from one of the collections and research it, situating the object into the timeline of history and giving the object meaning. My object of choice was the 1866 Smith & Wesson Revolver, from the Special Collections – Rare Books and Manuscripts.

When we began this project, it was thought that the revolver might have been a woman's gun used as protection while families were moving west, to the frontier. During the course of the research, however, I determined that it was a weapon used by men, especially during the Civil War. While this particular weapon was not used during the Civil War, as it was manufactured afterword, the general model was used.

This project outlines the general specs for the type of the revolver, the creation of the revolver from the rifles that preceeded it, a brief history of the company that produced this particular revolver, how it was marketed (what made it so popular), and finally how this revolver marks a key part of the gun culture brought about by the Civil War.

The image to the right shows the revolver in my own hand in order to give you as the viewer an idea as to the size of the weapon.

Should you as the viewer have any questions or comments regarding the site, please feel free to contact me.

Emma Lagan
Hofstra University Undergraduate
Anthropology/Archaeology major

Photo by the author