Sunday, January 29, 2012

Friends Group

I belong to the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library. The Friends group sells books culled from the libraries shelves and donations. They do about 3 large warehouse sales a year. Three times a week we work in the warehouse to sort all these donations...there are many, many, many flats full of books to sort!!!

Early this year the Friends president asked if anyone had a suggestion were they could sell more books outside of the warehouse sale. There is a small reenactment in Jacksonville the last weekend of January. I suggested we pull together as many antebellum and Civil War books and take them to our (Jacksonville) reenactment. They were skeptical at first...but agreed to give it a chance.

Life's lesson - when you volunteer/suggest you are put in charge. LOL

The volunteers pulled together 11 boxes of books and sign up enough volunteers to help sell the book. Luckily the books and table fit into my car. Saturday was our first day and we did wonderfully, selling about almost half of the books! Many of the reenactors thanked us for bringing out the books. We handed out many "Friends of JPL" membership forms and advertised the next big warehouse sale, set for the first weekend of March.  Not bad for our first day. Off to today's sell them all !!! :)

Monday January 30, 2012

Well we didn't sell all the books but made a huge dent in the boxes we brought out! What is funny are the number of older reenacting soldiers either ignored our table or would say I've got them all, then would pick up one to purchase....A young soldier purchased a 9 book set of Lincoln's speeches from 1842-1865 for $15 and took them back to camp (printed in the 1940's). One soldier came over after this sale and made the biggest purchase of all. He even said he hadn't thought we would have any good books. On the first day we sold a 1866 history of Lincoln, the only condition issue was the spine cover was missing.

Never pass up a used book sale!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Pennsylvania Farmer and Gardener, Vol. 2-3 - 1861
Page 159
[Part of an article about sending comforts to hospitals]
“You cannot be with them to assist in nursing, but you can, from your abundant stores of little niceties, spare something to alleviate the suffering of your brave, wounded brethren. We all know how refreshing and palatable jellies, preserves, &c., are to the sick. Go to your store-rooms, and select such as you think will prove grateful and valuable to the wounded and dying. Do not hesitate how much to send, but stay not your hand until you have set apart a good supply.

            Are you at a loss how to pack them ? We will tell you. Do not send them in large jars, but put them in pint or half-pint tumblers. Paste strong white paper over the top, and then tie a piece of strong muslin over it. Pack them in a box or boxes. Do not put hay around them, but pack them in that material which will be serviceable; old linen, or cotton rags, such as will answer for bandages or lint.

            When you have them snugly packed, nail the lid on tightly. Write in plain letters, on the top: “PRESERVES FOR SICK AND WOUNDED SOLDIERS, THIS SIDE UP WITH CARE,” and send them to the Ladies’ Society of this city,…”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The "Box of Delicacies"

I asked someone about building a box for an event and they want exact measurements. This is what started my search. I'm not finding exact measurements for boxes...yet. Boxes sent from home did not follow army regulations. It is interesting to learn what was sent and how it was packaged. 
I recently made some pine apple preserves filling a glass tumbler with some. Per directions I covered the surface of the preserves with two circles of tissue paper (coffee filter as it is food safe).  Then covered the glass with a tissue cover tied on and brushed with brandy which I set aside to dry. I can see something like this placed into a box by a well meaning person to be sent to a soldier in camp or hospital.  

Soldiers’ letters, from camp, battlefield and prison, edited by Lydia Minturn Post, 1865
Pg. 158
Letter LXIV.
The “Box of Delicacies.”
Frederick City, Md., Sept. 18, 1862
            The “box” has come to hand at last! The lemons were so decayed that you could scarcely tell what they were. The can of raspberry smelt like a bottle of ammonia, and had leaked out a little. It was good luck that the cover did not drip off and spoil every thing. The little crackers were all musty, but the cake was still nice, and the sugar, but probably the tea is infected. You cannot send tea with other articles, unless put in air-tight packages. That which you sent before was clove tea when I got it. The raisins are nice and very palatable. I have not tried the “corn-starch,” but the jelly was nearly eaten at the first opening. The ginger wine was terrible stuff—regular Thompsonian medicine ! I had a man attacked with colic just as I opened it, and I administered a dose of it with beneficial effect.
            I had got tired of coca. It is too heavy for hot weather; but now the mornings are getting cool, I can make good use of two boxes.
            One box had some bologna sausages soaked in Balm of Gilead, which was in a thin bottle next to them. They were not improved!....

United States Christian Commission

I am collecting data about boxes sent to the army/soldiers & hospitals during the Civil War. The following are directions for sending goods by the United States Christian Commission. As I read about packages/boxes sent, it is apparent not everyone knows how to send goods though the mail, breakage and leaks result in many a spoiled shipment.

Pg. 32-33
All good and suitable stores are welcomed, and all necessary freight and charges paid on them by the Commission, and are distributed by delegates of the Christian Commission personally.
Cotton shirts, Cotton drawers, Canton flannel shirts and drawers, Surgical shirts and drawers, with tape strings to tie instead of seams at the sides,), Large cotton drawers, (to wear in-doors as pants,) Dressing gowns, Slippers, (if of cloth or carpet, with stiff soles,), Sheets, Pillow-cases, Bed-ticks, (single for filling with straw,) Pillows, Pads, fro fractured limbs, Ring pads, for wounds, Fans, Netting, to protect from flies, Housewifes, stored with needles, thread, buttons, and pins, &c., Handkerchiefs, Wash-rags, Old linen.

Oat meal, Farina, Corn starch, Dried rusk, Jellies, Soda biscuit, Butter crackers, Boston crackers, Pickles, Jams, Onions, in barrels, Apples, in barrels, Cranberries, Good butter, in small jars, Dried fruits.
In special cases, eggs, bread, cakes, &c., are needed, but not generally. They should never be sent unless specially called for.

Good black tea, Chocolate, Lemons, Syrups. All preparations of the blackberry are of double value.

Good brandy, Madeira wine, Port wine, Cordials. Domestic wines are excellent in winter, apt to spoil in summer.

Good Reading Matter.—Send no trash. Soldiers deserve the best. A library is a valuable hygienic appliance. For the able-bodied, good publications are mental and spiritual food. For convalescents, lively, interesting books, the monthlies, the pictorials, works of art, science, and literature, as well as those for moral and spiritual culture, such as you would put into the hands of a brother recovering.

STATIONERY IS MUCH NEEDED, paper, envelopes, and pencils.

Pg. 34
Pack in boxes. Barrels are not as good. Secure well. Boxes should not be so large that two cannot conveniently lift them into a wagon. Pack eatables by themselves. Never pack perishable articles, such as oranges, lemons, bread, cakes, nor jars of jellies and jams, with other goods. Tin canes should be soldered; all other modes fail. Stone jars should be corked and firmly bound with oiled linen or leather over the cork, and packed closely in sawdust or hay, in boxes never exceeding a dozen and a half in a box, and nailed strongly, to bear rough handling. Jellies in tumblers, covered with paper, and wines, cordials, &c., in bottles, with paper or other poor stoppers, are liable to spill out, and if packed with other things, sure to injure them.

How To Mark.
            Mark with paint or ink on the boards,--cards rub off,--in plain letters and figures. On one corner, the number of the box according to the number sent by you in all, numbering your first box *1, your second *2, and your third *3, and so on from the first sent to the last. On another corner, mark each box as from your Society, giving the name, and conspicuously also mark as follows:
                                                “GEORGE H. STUART,
                                                            Chairman Christian Commission,
                                                                        11 Bank Street, Philadelphia,”
or whatever other name and place you wish to send it to.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"good things prepared by loving hearts and willing hands..."

 Letters form the Fourty-fourth regiment M.V.W. by Zenas T. Haines 1863
Pg. 61
Newbern, N.C., Jan. 2, 1863
Since the holidays commenced the friends of the men in the regiment have overwhelmed us with the bounties and luxuries of home. Here are the contents of one box that came under the especial observation of your correspondent, and which he regards as a model in its way: tea, coffee, sugar, butter, pepper, salt, capsicum, cheese, gingerbread, confectioner’s cakes, bologna sausage, condensed milk, smoked halibut, pepper-box, camp knife, matches, ink, mince pies, candy, tomato ketchup, apples, horse radish, emery paper, sardines, cigars, smoking tobacco, candles, soap, newspapers, pictorials, letters, pickles, and choler mixture. The opening of this box, and the examination and display of its contents, furnished an evening of rare enjoyment.

Pg 64
Newbern, N.C., Jan. 18, 1863
            Many of the regiments are renewedly cheered and made grateful by the reception of home comforts. Your correspondent must be pardoned for laying some stress on this pleasant feature of our experience. The delayed schooners of Sutler Grant have at last arrived with their precious freights. Time, it is to be confessed, had made its mark upon some of the poultry and pastry, but that which had been sealed in tin cans or boxes arrived in fine condition, although nearly a month in transitu. As friends express themselves in much doubt as to what is best to send, here are the contents of a box recently received, which may be taken as a model: A large sealed tin box of mince pies and cake; a large sealed tin box of cake; a large paper box of ditto; a tin box of sugar; a tin box of pepper; a jar of pickles; a box of eggs; together with apples, pears, pins, stationery, and last but not least, letters. A portion of one of the latter articles I subjoin. It may also be regarded as a model:

            “There are so many articles we wish to send you, but so few which we feel sure will reach you unspoiled, that it has required considerable thought and discussion on our part, in regard to the particular articles which shall be sent. But if you take one half the pleasure in receiving and consuming them that it has given us to prepare them, we shall be more than happy.
            “I hope the vessel which carries out this little box may go freighted with many good things prepared by loving hearts and willing hands to give comfort to the soldiers.