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Welcome to Our "Museum"

Our goal in presenting this page is to show you some original items from the periods we depict in our reproductions. Some of these originals are the ones on which we base our reproductions. Also, if we find items of note, we will post them here so that visitors to this page can benefit.

Stationery

Shown below are 8 samples from the more than 60 original envelopes in our collection. Most of these are Patriotic Stationery, meaning that they have patriotic designs somewhere on the paper.

envelope01

Example 1 - A plain envelope, addressed, stamped, and canceled. Note the style of addressing envelopes.
envelope02 Example 2 - Liberty seated atop the world. Note the double cancellation, the city (St. Louis) and the "bullseye" cancellation of the stamp.
envelope03 Example 3 - An unused envelope with another patriotic design on it.
envelope05 Example 4 - Another unused envelope showing a cannon and flag design. This envelope has been reproduced by us and can be found as part of our stationery set CWS101.
envelope06.jpg (14226 bytes) Example 5 - An unused envelope with a soldier standing guard in a camp scene. This envelope has been reproduced by us and can be found as part of our stationery set CWS101. We have seen a Confederate copy of this envelope with the flag changed to the stars and bars.
envelope07 Example 6 - Always a popular topic, Soldiers and a pretty girl.
envelope08 Example 7 - "Shame on the Dastard who would dim a single star!"
Blue Envelope Example 8 - Private blue envelopes. These envelopes are very close to modern business envelopes in size, and note the embossed circular mark on the flap.
Envelope Flap Styles

Many people think that all envelopes made during the mid 19th century have the distinctive "teardrop" style flap. While this style can be found on many originals from the period, the style of flap varied from this curved style to a straight style that is virtually indistinguishable from modern envelopes. Shown below are three envelope flaps from originals in our collection.

Curved Tear Drop Style Example 1 - The distinctive and sharply curved "Teardrop" style.
Slight Tear Drop Style Example 2 - A second type of flap, less curved than the one shown above.
Almost Modern Example 3 - Looks like a modern envelope, doesn't it?
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Some Examples of Everyday Items
Here are some photos of items that saw everyday use.
From our collection
A hard rubber eraser, with a patent date of 1863.
A pencil sharpener. You place the pencil in the cone, while holding the sharpener between your thumb and forefinger. then you turn the sharpener and the blade (shown in this picture) sharpens the pencil.
Matches and case Gutta Percha Match Safe and Matches. I have seen more original examples of this style, which I refer to as a "picket fence" style, than I have of individual matches. Both styles were around however, so it would be incorrect to say this is the only authentic type.
Playing cards Playing cards. These cards actually date to the late 1860's. The company that manufactured them, Samuel Hart, put the street address of their company on the ace of spaces until just after the war. So 51 of these cards are correct as Civil War era cards. But the ace determines the date of the deck.
Pencils Pencils - These pencils date from 1840-48. Those are the years the B. Ball Pencil Company was in business. Here's our reproduction of this bundle.
Note the construction of the pencils in this detail photograph. Each pencil is made of 2 pieces of wood. One piece has a channel cut into it and the graphite clay is laid in the channel. Then the other piece of wood is glued on and the whole assembly is rounded. The seam on this pencil runs from about "10 o'clock" to "2 o'clock".
Toothbrush Toothbrush, made in London. This toothbrush is made with a bone handle and pig bristles.
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Original Labels and Packaging
We don't have a large amount of labels, and it is difficult to date the ones we have, but here are some.
Tobacco Label

Original tobacco label. Date unknown, but it "looks" like it very well could be a mid-19th century label. Note the Pictogram, which was very popular during the Civil War years, and the lack of any Trademark notification.

Tobacco Package

Tobacco pack. This package of tobacco came from Minnesota. The white spots in the photograph are actually reflections from the camera flash on the plastic wrap.

Dr. Strong's Pills

Package of Dr. Strong's Vegetable Stomach Pills. I've never gotten these analyzed to find out what their made of. I've always wanted to, though. It's a tiny box, about the size of a modern match box.

oinkwell.jpg (9539 bytes)

Typical Ceramic inkwell. Photo courtesy of Julio Zangroniz.

American Express

An express receipt from the American Express Company. American Express, Adams Express, Southern Express, and Harndon's Express, among others, were all package delivery companies of the Civil War era. After the war, Mr. Wells and Mr. Fargo left American Express to form their own company (note their names on the side).

Marriage License

Marriage License from Indiana. I really like this document, mainly because of the beautiful picture at the top of it. It has a revenue stamp on it, which helps date it even when you can't read the date of 1864.

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Money and Banking Items
Here are some original examples of currency used by both North and South, including a couple of checks.

When coins ran short, the government was forced to print paper money in values less than one dollar. At first, old stamp dies were used for this purpose. Finally, the government came up with specific designs for this small-value currency in 1862. These pieces were called Fractional Currency. These are the original issue pieces, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent pieces.

5 Dollar Louisiana

This is a state bank note from Louisiana. Note that it is printed in English and French. Supposedly, one of the origins for the word "Dixie" came from bills like this. Ten-dollar Louisiana notes had the French word "Dix", meaning Ten, on them as well as the word "Ten", and supposedly the 10-dollar notes were referred to as "Dixies". I can't verify this story, I'm just passing it along.

Bank of North America

Bank Check - A blank check for the Bank of North America.

Penn National Check

Bank Check - A cancelled check drawn on the Penn National Bank in the amount of $1,460.60. Note the revenue stamp.

Bank of Selma

A Confederate check - A check for $5,000 drawn from the Bank of Selma.

CSA 10 Dollar Note

Confederate currency - A $10 note. This note is from the series issued February 17, 1864.This bill was in the personal effects of my great-grandfather, Isaac Santmeyer, who was a private in Company D, 49th Virginia.

CSA 20 Dollar Note

Confederate currency - A $20 note. This note is from the series issued February 17, 1864. Like the one above, this bill was also in the personal effects of my great-grandfather, Isaac Santmeyer, who was a private in Company D, 49th Virginia.
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Source List and Acknowledgements

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to travel and see many collections in many places. These documents have come from:

  • New Hampshire Historical Society
  • Connecticut Historical Society
  • The David Library of the American Revolution
  • Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
  • Ft. Union National Monument
  • Georgia State Archives
  • Gettysburg National Park
  • Maryland State Archives
  • Museum of the Confederacy
  • National Archives
  • New Mexico State Archives
  • New York Historical Society
  • North Carolina State Archives
  • South Carolina State Archives
  • Various Private Collections

Some folks who have helped me locate documents and have lent kind assistance to this gathering of information include:

  • Bob Balcius
  • Ron Beifuss
  • Vicki Betts
  • Rich Blousosky
  • Kevin Coyle
  • Fred Gaede
  • Phil Katcher
  • Frederick Maisel
  • Bill McIntosh
  • Chris Nelson
  • Scott Sheads
  • Spencer Waldron

 

 
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