sectblog1

Wednesday, 08 August 2018 20:09

The Great Sanitary Fair

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Upon first glance, this green glass mug may not appear to be historically significant. However, according to our records, it was bought in 1864 at the Soldiers’ Fair in Logan Square, Philadelphia. The Soldiers’ Fair, also known as Sanitary Fairs, was a grassroots movement where U.S. citizens used their own unique skills to sell products to provide funding for Union soldiers during the American Civil War.[1]

 

Capture

Glass Mug, HSMC, 1923.7452.001

 

When the Civil War began in 1861, women across the Northern U.S. organized local fundraising events to provide supplies for Union Soldiers.[2] As this localized fundraising became popular, a law to create the U.S. Sanitary Commission was passed on June 18, 1861. This law allowed the civilian run Commission to organize the funding and distribution of medical and sanitary supplies for the Union Army.[3] As the Commission became more organized, larger fundraising events, like the Sanitary Fairs, became more prevalent.

 

 SanFair e1337457351171 575x273

The Great Central Fair in Logan Square, 1864. Photo Credit: (Library of Congress)

 

The 1864 Great Sanitary Fair, sometimes referred to as the Great Central Fair, opened on June 7, 1864 in Logan Square, Philadelphia. This fair lasted for three weeks and had roughly 250,000 attendees.[4] With different venues for attendees to shop and dine, the Great Sanitary Fair raised approximately $1,046,000.[5] The success of the fair even set a precedent for future fundraising and celebratory fairs in Philadelphia. In 1876, Philadelphia city leaders used the 1864 Great Sanitary Fair as a template to plan for the Centennial celebration.[6] 

 

 Fairgrounds

Ground plan of buildings of the Great Central Sanitary Fair, Logan Square, Philadelphia, June 1864.

(Philadelphia: Printed & Lithogrd. by P. S. Duval & Son, 1864). Photo Credit: Library Company of Philadelphia.
                                                                                                                                                                  

 


[1] Kerry L. Bryan, “Civil War Sanitary Fairs,” The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, Rutgers University, 2012, http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/civil-war-sanitary-fairs/

[2] Henry W. Bellows, D.D., The United States Sanitary Commission, G. P. Putnam’s Son Sons Printers, N.Y., http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/gdc/scd0001/2013/20130904008un/20130904008un.pdf

[3] “United States Sanitary Commission Records 1861-1879 [bulk 1861-1872]”, The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts, December 2013, http://archives.nypl.org/mss/3101

[4] Harry Kyriakodis, “Logan Square, Lincoln & The Great Sanitary Fair of 1864”, Hidden City Philadelphia, June 20, 2014, https://hiddencityphila.org/2014/06/logan-square-president-lincoln-the-great-sanitary-fair-of-1864/

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

Read 14 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 August 2018 20:28