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Ladies State Sanitary Fair register

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0328

Scope and Contents

The collection is formed by one bound volume printed for a Sanitary Fair held at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore, April 1864. Each page of the volume is titled, "Register of Visitors to the Ladies' State Sanitary Fair held at the Maryland Institute, Baltimore, April 1864." Signatures and place of residence of persons attending the Fair are listed on more than fifty pages of the volume. Most notable are the signatures of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. President Lincoln apparently attended the Fair with his wife, members of his cabinet, and ministers from several foreign nations including Russia, Prussia, Belgium, France, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Peru, and Chile. Cabinet members who signed the register were Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase and William Henry Seward, Secretary of State. Two other men who accompanied the president and signed the register were Augustus W. Bradford, Governor of Maryland and Major General Robert C. Schenck who commanded Union troops stationed in Baltimore City.


  • Creation: 1864 April

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Administrative History

The United States Sanitary Commission was a voluntary organization developed at the beginning of the Civil War to aid in the care of soldiers in the Union army. The commission was an outgrowth of the Woman's Central Association of Relief, an organization to coordinate soldiers' aid in the New York City area and was similar to the British Sanitary Commission that had been created during the Crimean War. Henry W. Bellows, a New York City Unitarian minister, and physicians, Jacob Harsen, Elisha Harris, and William Van Buren were the original founders of the Commission. The Commission received official recognition through an executive order signed by Abraham Lincoln, June 19, 1861. The American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, became the Commission's secretary and chief executive officer. The goals of the Commission were to relay the latest medical and scientific knowledge to army doctors and to implement sanitary reforms to prevent the spread of contagious diseases in the army. Higher standards in diet, clothing, hygiene, and housing were promoted by the Commission. The Commission also collected materials and organized a distribution system for supplies contributed by volunteers.

As the intensity of the war increased, so did the need for a continuous supply of goods and money. On October 1, 1861, the U. S. Sanitary Commission issued a circular "To all loyal women of America" asking for their assistance in soliciting aid for the soldiers. The women in the Union states formed Aid Societies and "energetic committees," and as the war went on, these societies continually increased their efforts for the benefit of Army Relief. In 1863, the Aid Societies began arranging novel exhibitions in large cities that became popularly known as "Sanitary Fairs." The fairs included exhibits, farm products, manufactures from the machine shop, art objects, and works by skilled artisans. The material aid raised by these Fairs was significant and added greatly to the overall success of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. By the end of the war, the Commission had spent funds and dispensed supplies totaling fifteen million dollars to benefit the Northern soldiers.


0.32 Cubic Feet (1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches))

Language of Materials



Collection consists of one bound volume that served as a register for visitors to the Ladies' State Sanitary Fair held at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore, April 1864. Notable signatures include Abraham Lincoln; Mary Todd Lincoln; Treasury Secretary, Salmon P. Chase; Secretary of State, William Henry Seward; Maryland Governor, Augustus W. Bradford; and Major General Robert C. Schenck.


The collection was given to the University by Mano Swartz, May 1940.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in July 1992.

Guide to the Ladies State Sanitary Fair register
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA