In August 2013, Bowdoin College hosted "The Afterlife of the American Civil War, a four-day series of lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions, and music presented in commemoration of the Civil War's sesquicentennial celebration. Bowdoin has many important connections to the Civil War through eminent alumni, faculty, and other historical figures associated with the College—including Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (class of 1852), Oliver Otis Howard (class of 1850), William Pitt Fessenden (class of 1823), and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who began writing "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" while her husband was a Bowdoin professor. The Alumni College event, which focused on Bowdoin's involvement in the post-war years, included lectures by Bowdoin faculty and alumni.
The keynote address was delivered by Nina Silber, professor of history at Boston University. Her books include "The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900" (1993); "Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War" (1992); "Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War" (2005); and "Gender and the Sectional Conflict" (2009). She has also worked as a consultant for the Gettysburg National Battlefield, the United States Constitution Museum, and the “American Experience” television series.