University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

Ink on Cracker

Hard tack with writing
Photograph by Chris Dissinger


Ink on Cracker

The Fleming Museum’s current exhibit “EAT: The Social Life of Food” includes this poignant piece—an inscribed square of American Civil War hardtack mailed home to his mother by a Vermont soldier. Some sixty years later, that soldier’s daughter, Miss Lillian Wainwright, would donate the well-preserved cracker to the Fleming. The exhibit was curated by UVM Honors College students enrolled in a spring 2013 course, “Introduction to Museum Studies.” Madison Moran, one of the students in the class, led a recent tour of the exhibit. She noted that the soldier actually enjoyed hardtack, wanting some of it at home as a keepsake. And using it as a tool for correspondence with his mother illustrates a guiding concept of the exhibit—the bridge from food to human connection. 


Next Extra Credit

Contact UVM © 2019 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131