vp: Most ca. 1861-1864.
About the item
99 individual covers, measuring approximately 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 to 3 x 6 inches. Folio album. Pro-Union Covers in Contemporary Album. Contemporary folder, with "PML 3958" on paper label on upper cover, covers secured loosely to album leaves by means of string and held in place by string. Covers with occasional light dustsoiling, folder with some chipping and wear. See Stephen Boyd, Patriotic Envelopes of the Civil War (LSU 2010).
An album of nearly 100, unadressed pro-Union pictorial envelopes assembled during the war and housed in a contemporary album made for the purpose. The illustrations on the envelopes are done in the style of caricature, and bear an array of pro-Union and anti-Confederate slogans and mottoes. (A very few of the envelopes have patriotic themes not related to the Civil War.)
Some 15,000 such covers were privately printed in the North during the war, circulating patriotic sentiment among those who were not directly engaged in battle, and intended to boost morale of the soldiers who might receive a letter from home tucked into one of them. The covers were also marketed as souvenirs, with albums like the present one being sold for the express purpose of preserving the covers. (One of the envelopes advertises "Haine's Envelope Holder for Holding and Preserving Illustrated Envelopes," of which this folder is an example.) While individual covers aren't uncommon on the market, it is unusual to encounter a collection assembled in the period and housed in a contemporary album.