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Grand Army of the Republic Museum & Library fragmentary records group


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 Grand Army of the Republic [GAR] was a fraternal organization founded after the Civil War to provide all veterans of the Union Armed Forces with a forum for social and political activities and as a venue for debate and reminiscence of their service in the Civil War." (Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library)

"The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was a creation of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which was formed in 1866. Wanting to pass on its heritage, the GAR in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania created a Corps of Cadets in 1878 which later became the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America (SV)... In 1904, the SV elected to become a patriotic education society and in 1925 changed its name to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW)... Prior to disbanding and before the death of its last member, the GAR officially designated the SUVCW as its successor and heir to its remaining property. On August 20, 1954, the SUVCW was officially incorporated by an Act of Congress by the passing of Public Law 605 of the second session of the 83rd Congress." (Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War)


Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library. "Museum Informational Brochure." Accessed January 18, 2012.

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. "Introduction." August 30, 2010. Accessed January 18, 2012.

The following Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUV) records consist of records located at the G.A.R. Civil War Museum and Library that are incomplete, consisting of one record or volume per Post/Camp. The records are primarily from GAR Posts and SUV Camps throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey; there are single records for Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Illinois and California. Some of the record’s Post/Camp names and numbers were not identified at this time. Some records significant to GAR and SUVCW only, and are described below:

Description of Record Types Found in the Fragmentary Records Group

Black Books are records of applicants to GAR posts who were rejected for membership. An internal copy of the black book was kept at the post and a copy was sent to the Department. The black books detail the applicant’s name, rank, company, regiment or vessel, and information regarding his rejection or dishonorable discharge, which is preceded by information on which Post had black balled the applicant, the location and date of rejection, and the general order number as to why the applicant was rejected. The rejected, or black balled, applicants are listed alphabetically in the black books.

Burial Fund Association Records – Burial Fund Associations were sub-organizations within many GAR posts in which members contributed to a fund to aid widows and children with veterans’ burial expenses. In many posts it was also known as the Death Benefits Association or D.B.A.

Cemetery Books (or Burial Places of Our Deceased Comrades or Burial Records) document the burial places of deceased members and the dates of their deaths.

Descriptive Books contain detailed information on the posts’ members, including: member’s name, age, birthplace, residence, occupation, details on their entry into military service and final discharge (which includes date, rank, company, and regiment), length of service, cause of discharge, details of GAR membership, and remarks (which include death notices or notices of membership ending through leaving or transferring).

Member Applications contain materials submitted to or compiled by GAR posts in regard to applications of individuals for membership. The records include applications forms, transfer cards, proof of service certificates, applications for admission to the Soldiers and Sailors Home, and correspondence. These records are particularly rich in information on prospective members’ lives and military service.

War Memorial Sketch Books record the details of post members’ service in the Civil War, including dates of enlistment and discharge, rank, units in which they served, battles and campaigns in which they fought, if they were injured, the benefits to which they were entitled, and other information. There is also often information on the veterans’ personal lives and details of their membership in the GAR. The information in War Memorial Sketch Books was apparently originally recorded on Memorial War Sketch Forms (see below) and it was from these forms that the post historian extracted the information and entered it into the Memorial War Sketch Book.

Processed materials in archives room:

Box 1

1. Gregg Post No. 95 Bellefonte, PA Register of Members: 1887-1923

2. Anderson Post No. 394, NY Minutes: February 1936-January 1939

Box 2

3. Alexander Hamilton Post No. 182 NY, NY Descriptive Book: 1882-1935

4. Edward Seamon Post No. 481 Andover, NY Minutes: May 6, 1900-December 3, 1921

5. James C. Rice Post No. 29, NY Minutes: December 1, 1915-February 6, 1924

6. Anders and Williams Post No. 394, NY Descriptive Book: Circa 1919

7. Samuel Ackerly Post No. 426 Northport, NY Correspondence 1920

8. Knickerbocker Post No. 643 Amityville, NY Correspondence 1930

9. J.C. Waters Post No 641 Huntington, NY Photocopies of Correspondence and Application Records

Box 3

10. Starkweather Post No. 60 (Western PA, Monongahela City?) Descriptive Book: 1876-1928

11. Captain Walter S. Newhall Post No. 7 Philadelphia, PA Minutes: August 1, 1914-January 27, 1931

Box 4

12. General John F. Reynolds Post No. 71 War Memorial Sketch Book: circa 1892

Box 6

17. Camp 165 SUVCW of Ellwood City, PA various records in one volume: circa 1910s

18. Ellis Camp No. 9 SUVCW, PA Minutes: May 14, 1965- November 9, 1973

19. Williams English Post No. 10 Montana Minute Book, January 27, 1905-January 2, 1909

Box 7

20. General Sol Meridith Post No. 176 CA and NV; Reports of Adjutant and Quartermaster: October 17, 1901-July 1911

21. Bayard Post No. 178, PA Black Book: 1879-1880s

22. Amos Kiser Post No. 475, PA Black Book: 1885- 1892

23. Jno. C. Arnold Post No. 407 Black Book: 1889- 1894

24. Reno Post No. 64 Black Book: Circa 1880-1920

25. M. Hamper Post No. 181 Descriptive Book: 1880-circa 1929

Box 8

26. Memorial Committee Minutes for Decoration Day of 1879, New York: February 11, 1879- April 19, 1881

27. U.S. Grant Post No. 5 Pennsylvania Department Souvenir for US Grant Post 327, NY: October 18, 1887

28. Unidentified Descriptive Book: 1880s-1921

29. Post No. 394, New York Dues Book: 1910-1912

30. Unidentified Donation Book: 1920s to 1930s

Box 9

31. Camp No. 4 (?) Descriptive Book: May 1897 to June 1899

32. Unidentified Membership Directory: 20th Century

33. Unidentified two-volume Account Book: June 1951- December 1957

34. Unidentified Account Book January 1926-March 23, 1928

35. Black Book: 1871 Dept of PA 1871-1910

Separated from Boxes

36. H. Clay Beatty Post #73 Bristol County/Bucks County, PA R-Z Applications Binder

Unprocessed materials in archives room:

Post 2 Camp 299, Account book 1915-1921

Corporal Weaver Camp No. 295, Member accounts, 1930s-1980s

James C. Rice Post No. 29, (Dept. of New York) Member list, undated

Robert Anderson Post No. 394 (NY) Descriptive Book

Ladies of GAR Circle 7 (Newark, NJ) Receipt Book 1898-1972

Unidentified Posts, Black Book, 1871-1910

About 9 GAR/SUV charters, 1867-circa 1900

Post 10 Death book

GAR Ladies Trenton NJ Scrapbook 1949

General D. B. Bierney Camp No. 18, SVU, Descriptive record

104th Pennsylvania Survivors Association: correspondence, account ledger, ephemera, reunion notices, 1898-1921

National HQ Auxiliary to SUVCW Orders and Scrapbook, 1916

Rice Camp 20: Descriptive Book E-Z

Unknown check book, 1940-1942

Ladies of the GAR ritual book (annotated), 1946

Illinois GAR post descriptive book

Ledger book with lists of men from GAR posts from Philadelphia

Zook SUV Camp 244, Descriptive book 1934-1941

Zook SUV Camp 244 Descriptive Book, 1922-1926

Col. John Norris SUV Camp 3 (105 Federal St), Pittsburgh, PA: Minutes, 1939-1949

Ellis Camp 9 SUV Minute book, 1933-1955

Unknown receipt and insurance record, 1952-1953

Col. Heintzlman Camp 150 (Port Trevorton, PA) SUV Minute book, 1933-1955

Allen Camp 6 (PA) SUV Descriptive book, 1887-1899 and descriptive 1911-1914

Unknown check stubs, 1926-1934

Reynolds Camp 4 (Philadelphia) SUV descriptive book undated (1 vol)

Allen Camp 6 (Allentown, PA) SUV descriptive book (7 vols, circa 1905)

Joe Spratt Post 323 GAR (NY): Reports adjutant (1908-1911, photocopies) and insurance (1901)

Hatch Circle #2 Ladies of the GAR (Haddonfield, NJ) Minutes, 1991-1995

GAR Ladies Auxiliary: NJ Dept. (Circles): Membership propositions, 1908-1938 and records of eligibility, circa 1915-1940 (photocopies); Annual Convention, Dept. of NJ, Ladies of the GAR proceedings 1949-1961

GAR Dept of PA: Council of Administration minutes, 1931-1938

Quartermasters Department Fort Umpqua Oregon, Lt. L. Lorain 3rd Artillery, 1858-1859

Sam Clegg Camp 9 (Philadelphia) SUV By-Laws and membership list, 1890-1913 and account book 1937-1970s and descriptive book 1883-1937 and descriptive book 1883-1913

Death Benefit Association SUV, 1895-1935

James MacFadyen Camp 3/105 (PA) SUV descriptive books 1913-1918

Unknown descriptive roll

Col. John Gosline Camp No. 28 SUV (Bristol, Pa.) minute book, 1924-1930

Lt. John Greble Camp No. 10 (Philadelphia) Minutes 1917-1921

Gen D. B. Birney Camp No. 13 (Philadelphia) SUV minutes 1923-1927

Comdr. Henry J. Kearney Post No. 2 (NYC) Welfare beneficiaries 1932

Grand Army Association of Philadelphia and Vicinity, minute books: 1927-1930, 1931-1937; Correspondence with various camps, 1943-1950, alpha by sender; bank statements and returned checks, circa 1930s

Box of miscellaneous camps/posts (no more than one folder each)

Unprocessed materials in museum attic:

Various GAR Post charters

SUV National Organization correspondence, circa 1975-1980

Chester S. Shriver (Commander in Chief of SUV) correspondence, 1962-1963

(SW corner file cabinet, drawer 1:) Gen. J. F. Reynolds, Camp #4 (SUV, probably Philadelphia) 3 descriptive books, 1899-1900

Camp #10 LT. John T. Greble SUV (Philadelphia) Roll of officers and muster roll, and descriptive books, 1892-1910

Abraham Lincoln camp #39 descriptive books (3) and roll of members book

The records were rough sorted and placed in archival boxes by board members and volunteers of the GAR Civil War Museum & 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 & 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 Civil War Museum and Library
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Jack McCarthy and Megan Atkinson, 2009-2010. Additions to the finding aid and EAD conversion were 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 Civil War Museum and Library. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

No known restrictions. Contact the Grand Army of the Republic Museum & Library for information about accessing the collection.

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