Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Southern Famine Relief Commission Records
1867-1868 (bulk 1867)
  MS 2430

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jan Hilley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on August 12, 2014
Description is in English.

Container List

Series I: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains approximately 835 letters (unbound) resulting from the daily correspondence of the Commission. The letters are, for the most part, those received by Commission members; however, correspondence among members and some letters from members to other individuals are also included. Among the letters are a few telegrams and a number of other documents such as invoices, receipts, bills of lading, accounts and market price quotes. All items are arranged chronologically. The letters are in good condition with the exception of a few that are faded and difficult to read.

In every folder there are letters requesting aid. The requests, often from individuals seeking assistance for themselves and their families, tell stories of devastation and despair. Many requests are less personal in nature, asking for help in a specific geographic area or for a specific group of people. Lists of names are sometimes included, with information concerning family size, occupation and current situation. There are also quite a number of letters describing the overall living conditions. The Commission corresponded with local government officials and other reliable sources, asking that they confirm the severity of the situation; they had also advertised in newspapers, asking that individuals come forward with anecdotal information. Responses to these requests, along with the many applications for aid, paint a vivid portrait of the South in 1867.

The rest of the correspondence falls into such categories as requests for information and copies of the Commissions circulars; donations; logistics (corn prices, purchasing, shipping, distribution mechanisms, problem resolution, etc.); formation of similar groups and their activities; offers of services (free shipping, discounts on supplies, etc.); events held to raise funds; concerns and suggestions; complaints of inappropriate allocation; and reports of floods and disease exacerbating the already grim picture.

Beginning in March, 1867, letters acknowledging shipments and reports of corn distribution indicate the progress of the Commissions work. There are many letters of thanks; however, most of them suggest that more help is still needed. Towards the end of the letter collection, one begins to see hopeful reports of the coming harvest and a sense that the crisis is lessening.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Jan.
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 1-5
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 6-10
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 11-13
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 14-15
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 16-20
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 21-25
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Feb. 26-28
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 1-4
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 5-10
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 11-12
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 13-15
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 16-19
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 20-23
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 24-27
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Mar. 28-31
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 1-4
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 5-8
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 9-11
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 12-13
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 14-15
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 16-20
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 21-27
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Apr. 28-30
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Correspondence and Papers
1867 May 1-5
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Correspondence and Papers
1867 May 6-8
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Correspondence and Papers
1867 May 9-15
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Correspondence and Papers
1867 May 16-25
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Correspondence and Papers
1867 May 26-31
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Correspondence and Papers
1867 June 1-8
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Correspondence and Papers
1867 June 9-15
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Correspondence and Papers
1867 June 16-30
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Correspondence and Papers
1867 July
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Aug.
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Correspondence and Papers
1867 Sept.
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Correspondence and Papers
1868 Jan.
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Correspondence and Papers
Undated

Return to Top »