AP PHOTO/KEITH SRAKOCIC
By: KEVIN BEGOS
In this Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, photo, Soldiers and Sailors Hall curator and historian, Michael Kraus shows a toy wooden horse from the U.S. Civil War era in a storage area at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial museum in Pittsburgh. This and other letters and artifacts from the Civil War will be the centerpiece of the kick off the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.
Even as terrible battles were fought, toys and Santa Claus had a place in American life during the Civil War.
For the start of an annual Toys for Tots campaign Friday, Michael Kraus was dressed in Civil War garb at a Carnegie Mellon University display of 1860s toys. Toys from the era were on loan from the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Museum in Pittsburgh.
Kraus, the museum curator, has been drawn to toys from the Civil War era since he was a boy.
"You'd see these things come out of houses in the 1960s so I started to learn about them," Kraus said.