Held at: Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library [Contact Us]4278 Griscom Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19124
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Home for Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic and Wives was established in 1894 and appears to have been in operation until 1951. The Home admitted ailing Civil War veterans and their wives. It was located on the southwest corner of 65th and Vine Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the former summer home of Peter Swift Loftis. Julia P. Shade, MD, was the founder and first President of the Home. The Home was rebuilt in 1903 by Charles Webber Bolton.
The records of the Home for Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic and Wives cover the years 1892 to 1951. The record group is organized into five series: Administrative Records, Financial Records, Inmate Records, Daily Records, and Miscellaneous. The records consist of twenty-eight bound volumes and one published booklet. It is not known how the G.A.R. Civil War Museum and Library acquired the records or if additional records survived or existed. The records document the administration of the Home and many aspects of the daily lives of the residents, known as "inmates."
Series I: Administration - This series consists of the minutes of the board of managers and the Eighteenth Annual Report for the Year 1913 of the Home of the Veterans of the GAR and Wives. The records of the minutes of the board of managers begin on May 7, 1894 and run to December 20, 1951. The minutes are in bound volumes arranged chronologically. The minutes from 1908 to 1913 and 1927 to 1935 are missing. The records following the missing minutes refer to the previous minutes, but they are not with the record group. The minutes for the periods January 17, 1906 to December 17, 1908, August 17, 1916 to May 20, 1920, and January 17, 1924 to October 20, 1927 also contain daily logs. The minutes for February 18, 1943 to December 20, 1951 include many financial accounts. The Eighteenth Annual Report for the Year 1913 of the Home of the Veterans of the GAR and Wives is the only published annual report in the record group. It is not known whether these reports were published annually and the records are lost, or whether this was the only published annual report.
Series II: Financial Records - This series consists of four account books, a receipt book, a D.B.A. (Death Benefit Association) account book, a record of donations, Donation Day books, a check stub book, and an admissions book. The account books cover the years 1903 to 1916. There are two general expenditures account books, both covering the years 1903 to 1908, and another general expenditure account book covering the years 1912 to 1916. The three volumes are arranged chronologically. The fourth account book, whose entries run from 1903 to 1907, details employees' salaries. It is arranged alphabetically by the name of employee. It is not known if there were further records documenting the accounts. There are numerous loose financial records tipped into the volumes. The receipt book is for the year 1930 to 1931. It records general expenditures and services at the home such as coal, gas, funeral, and painting. The check stub book covers the years 1925 to 1926 and reflects payments for general expenditures.
The Death Benefit Association (D.B.A.) account book is for June 1903. The D.B.A. was an organization whose members contributed to a fund to aid widows and children of veterans with burial expenses. The D.B.A. usually functioned as an organization within a G. A. R. post; this organization may be an internal organization within the G.A.R. Home.
The record of donations recorded donations to the G.A.R. Home for repairs and upgrades to the Home such as the installation of electricity and other improvements. The records of donation are in two volumes. The first book also contains a record of admissions to the Home and donations covering the years 1894 to 1932. The second record of donations dates from 1920 to 1944. The Donation Day book was used to keep track of donations given to the G.A.R. Home on Donation Day, a day held specifically for this purpose. There are two volumes of Donation Day. The first volume dates from 1948 to 1951 and contains a record of admissions that dates from 1910 to 1930s. The second volume dates from 1894 to 1901 and contains a record of what is possibly clothing measurements. There are other donation records tipped into other volumes in the record group.
The last record of the Financial Records Series is a bound volume that was predominately used to record admissions to GAR Home from 1894 to 1896. The same volume was also used to keep a record of the employees of home 1898 to 1932 and to list supplies from January 1896 to 1910 (which is probably donated supplies). Within the volume, there are papers from another book containing admissions records from 1895 to 1910 tipped in.
Series III: Inmate Records - The inmate records consist of five volumes. This series contains a Register of Inmates and an Inmate Directory. The Register of Inmates is a chronological listing of admissions to the Home that contains such information as the date the inmate was admitted to the G.A.R. Home, birth date, and personal information such as burial places, spouse name, contact information, and biographical information. The first Register of Inmates volume covers the period Sept 12, 1912 to December 24, 1925. The second volume of Register of Inmates covers the years 1894 to 1913. The third volume begins at the year 1895, then breaks and picks up again at the year 1900 and continues to the year June 3, 1927. Information is recorded in the book until 1937 because someone recorded the death of the inmates in the volume.
The second type of record in Inmate Records Series is an inmate directory. The title inmate directory is an educated guess based on information within the volumes. The volumes are alphabetical listings of possible inmates that include names, addresses, and some contain information on deaths. There is no date in the volumes but they are from the early 20th century. There are two volumes of register of inmates that contain overlap in information.
Series IV: Daily Logbook - The daily logbooks are books that document the daily happenings at the G.A.R. Home, including events, patient illnesses, donations, and other matters. The series consists of four volumes (although daily logs can also be found in the minutes in Administration Records series for the periods January 17, 1906 to December 17, 1908, August 17, 1916 to May 20, 1920, and January 17, 1924 to October 20, 1927.) The first daily logbook contains a Daily Record for the period October 8, 1906 to January 1910. It also has a record of donations received for the years 1900-1901, minutes, and a burial record that lists the deceased, the deceased's address, and place of burial. The second daily logbook covers the period March 13, 1920 to November 15, 1922. The third daily logbook, authored by Super Attendant H. J. Gooman, covers November 16, 1922 to February 16, 1927. The last daily logbook covers January 27, 1910 to December 31, 1914 and has death records tipped in for the years 1895 to 1902. There are gaps in the records from 1914 to 1920 and the records do not continue beyond 1927.
Series V: Miscellaneous - This series is comprised of the G.A.R. Register of Visitors and the daily log of meals/record of initiation/member accounts book. The G.A.R. Register of Visitors is the logbook in which visitors register their names when entering the facility. It covers the years 1894 to 1942, which is almost the entire span of the G.A.R. Home's operation. The daily log of meals/record of initiation/member accounts book appears to be a catch-all book in which a variety of types of information was recorded. The daily log of meals is a very detailed description of every meal served at the home for the period February 1911 to February 1918. The volume also contains financial information on member accounts for the years 1892 to 1894 and account information, called record of initiation, pertaining to women joining an unknown group for the years 1892-1894.
The records were rough sorted and placed in archival boxes by board members and volunteers of the GAR Civil War Museum and Library in 2008. In 2009-2010 they received preliminary processing by Archival Consultant Jack McCarthy and Intern Megan Atkinson, working on a project funded by grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and National Endowment for the Humanities. This finding aid is the result of that project. The grant funds allowed for only minimal processing and very little re-housing of the records; as noted above, the records require more thorough processing.
The finding aid created by McCarthy and Atkinson was converted to the EAD format in 2011-2012 as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Grand Army of the Republic. Dept. of Pennsylvania.
- Grand Army of the Republic.
- Home for Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic and Wives.
- Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Jack McCarthy and Megan Atkinson, 2009-2010. EAD conversion was completed through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories.
- This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
- Access Restrictions
Contact Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library for information about accessing this collection.