The artifacts in the cases, along with many others held in Special Collections, belonged to James Anthony Beran, a Civil War enthusiast and collector. Beran was born on May 21, 1943 in Baltimore and spent his early years in Dundalk, Maryland. He was educated at St. Rita's School and Dundalk High School and volunteered with the Army in Vietnam from 1963-1966.
Beran met and married Marie Shifflett and they resided in Baltimore. He worked at the Plate Mill, Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point for 32 years.
He loved American history, particularly the Civil War era and visited as many Civil War battlefields as he could in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. "He was an avid collector," said wife Marie. "He was amazed by the fact that he could hold in his own hands, something that a soldier used over a hundred and fifty years ago."
Beran passed away on April 8, 2007. His family chose to donate his collection of Civil War memorabilia to Special Collections and College Archives, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College, so students and faculty could have the opportunity to handle these items themselves and enjoy the collection. Beran felt a strong affection for the area. "He loved the town of Gettysburg and the history here," said his wife. "He spent hours walking through the streets of Gettysburg and exploring the battlefield, at least once or twice a year for over thirty years."
Other family members supporting this donation include children Christine Dudley, Kathleen Rich, Lisa Flynn, Raymond Shifflett, and Laura Samek and godsons Brian Lapore, Robert Flynn, Jr.