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Guide to the Civil War Posters
1861-1865
  PR 55-3

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Trina Veckley and Elizabeth E. Arena

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 20, 2019
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Poster File, Civil War Posters
Dates [inclusive]: 1861-1865
Abstract: The Civil War Posters collection at the New-York Historical Society forms part of the society's vast collection of posters, which is comprised of approximately 5,000 items. As part of this major poster collection, the Civil War posters, consisting mainly of recruiting posters, illustrate a variety of advertisements by Civil War regiments as they were designed to appeal to potential recruits in the early 1860s.

304 of the Civil War Posters are digitized and available in the  Shelby White and Leon Levy Digital Library.
Quantity: 0.62 Linear feet (466 items)
Call Phrase: PR 55-3

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Scope and Content Note

The Civil War Posters consist of a total of 466 items. Of this total, 275 are recruiting posters, 31 are posters advertising auctions, drives, meetings, and the remaining 160 items refer to deserter lists, muster rolls, and various other announcements and newspaper clippings pertaining to the Civil War. The recruiting posters represent a variety of Civil War regiments from the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in the areas of artillery, cavalry, and infantry. Most of the recruiting posters come from New York followed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Also noted on many recruiting posters are the types of men desired. These desired men may have been African Americans, Germans (11 are written in German), Irish, married or single men.

The iconography of the recruiting posters also makes them quite distinct. Icons, in color and black and white, depict the spreading wings of an eagle with banners, valiant cavalry men on horses, beautiful harps, and the heroic face of George Washington to name only a few. For many posters, it is the icon that is the prominent image on the poster and draws the viewer's attention. Other posters of interest may be found in the 160 items which are not recruiting posters. Some of these items include songs, poems, and even a hospital slipper pattern. The deserter lists in these 160 items demonstrate the indignance of officials against deserters and the posting of rewards to track down such persons.

Arrangement

The recruiting posters, the first 306 items of the Civil War posters collection, are numbered in an arrangement by state, event (meeting, auctions, etc.), size (standard vs. oversize), regiment designation, and title. The remaining 160 items (deserter lists, muster rolls, etc.), are divided between Union and Confederate and arranged by state. The posters are physically arranged by size. The container list describes where posters are housed by number. An item-level database is available in the repository.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • King & Baird, printer

Document Type

  • Military Records
  • Muster Rolls
  • Prints (visual works).

Subject Organizations

  • Baker & Godwin

Subject Topics

  • United States. Army -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc. -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States. Marine Corps -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc. -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States. Army. Infantry -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
  • United States. Army. Cavalry -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
  • United States. Army. Artillery -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
  • United States. Army. Corps of Engineers -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
  • United States. Army. Invalid Corps. -- Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
  • Military service, Voluntary -- United States
  • Military deserters
  • Bounties, Military -- United States
  • War posters, American.

Subject Places

  • Pennsylvania -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories
  • New York (State) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories
  • New Jersey -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Posters
  • Maine -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories
  • Massachusetts -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories
  • Rhode Island -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The collection's accession dates span from the 1860s to 1937.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers, by appointment only.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 30 photocopies per day per person. Suitability of the original for photocopying is at the discretion of the staff. Neither blueprints nor tracings can be copied under any circumstances. Duplication of large-format items will be done by the house photographer. See Print Room guidelines for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 270
Fax: (212) 579-8794

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as PR 55-3, Civil War Posters.

Related Material at the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections

Other series of the Poster File contain similar items such as theater playbills and circus posters, book and magazine placards, war posters, and other political and cultural posters.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of 304 Civil War posters are available in the Shelby White and Leon Levy Digital Library.

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 1 Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York

General note

#s 5, 16, 17, 51, 55, 64, 203, 264

1861-1863
Folder: 2 Massachusetts, New Jersey

General note

#s 2, 4, 12-15, 18-22

1861-1865
Folder: 3 New Jersey

General note

#s 23-28, 48-50, 52

1861-1864
Folder: 4 New Jersey

General note

#s 53, 54, 56, 57, 59-63, 65

1861-1863
Folder: 5 Pennsylvania

General note

#s 255- 257, 259, 260, 262, 263, 265-267

1861, undated
Folder: 6 Pennsylvania

General note

#s 268-275

1861
Folder: 7 Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey

General note

#s 1, 3, 6, 8, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 39

1863-1864, undated
Folder: 8 New Jersey

General note

#s 58, 66, 68, 69, 76, 79-82, 84, 87

1861-1863, undated
Folder: 9 New Jersey

General note

#s 90, 93-96, 98-100

1863-1864
Folder: 10 New York

General note

#s 118, 127, 134, 136, 137, 141, 142, 162

1861-[1865]
Folder: 11 Pennsylvania

General note

#s 246, 247, 249, 250, 253, 254, 258, 261

1861-1864
Folder: 12 Pennsylvania

General note

#276, 282, 283-5, 287, 290, 294, 295, 300

1862-1863, undated
Folder: 13 Massachusetts, New Jersey

General note

#s7, 9, 10, 29, 32, 35, 37, 38, 40

1861-1864, undated
Folder: 14 New Jersey

General note

#s 41-47, 67, 70

1863-1865
Folder: 15 New Jersey

General note

#s 71-75, 77, 78

1861-1865, undated
Folder: 16 New Jersey

General note

#s 83, 85, 86, 88, 89, 91, 92, 97

1862-1863, undated
Folder: 17 New Jersey, New York

General note

#s 101, 103, 105-115

1861-1864, undated
Folder: 18 New York

General note

#s 116, 117, 119-126, 128

[1863], undated
Folder: 19 New York

General note

#s 129-133, 135, 138-140, 143

[1863], undated
Folder: 20 New York

General note

#s 144-153

undated
Folder: 21 New York

General note

#s 154-161, 163, 164

undated
Folder: 22 New York

General note

#s 165-174

undated
Folder: 23 New York

General note

#s 175-184

undated
Folder: 24 New York

General note

#s 185-195

undated
Folder: 25 New York

General note

#s 196-202, 204-206

1862, undated
Folder: 26 Pennsylvania, New York

General note

# 245, 248, 251, 252, 277-280, 282, 286

1861-1863, undated
Folder: 27 Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

General note

#s 288, 289, 291-293, 296-299, 304, 305

1861-1863, undated
Folder: Oversize 1 New York

General note

#s 104, 207-226

undated
Folder: Oversize 2 Oversize: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

General note

#s 11, 102, 227-244, 301-303, 306

1862-1863, undated

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