Civil War Philadelphia and Its Countryside

University Archives and Records Center, University of Pennsylvania
3401 Market Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3358


Hours/Access Policy
The University Archives is open to the public: Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. It is strongly recommended that researchers contact the staff for an appointment as selected archival collections are stored at an off-site facility and require a two-day delivery lead time.

Contact Information: 215-898-7025  For appointments and research inquiries, e-mail

PDF version of this page.

The University Archives is the place to learn Penn history and to do research in primary source materials related to the University. It was founded in 1945 as the University's official permanent repository for historically significant documents and other materials that reflect the University's origins as well as the development and the activities and achievements of its officers, staff, faculty, students, alumni, and benefactors. University Archives holdings deal with history of the University of Pennsylvania and of prominent persons associated with the University and also with the history of institutions of higher learning in the United States, American intellectual life, and the Philadelphia community in which the University lives. The University Archives strives to ensure the timeless preservation of these historically significant materials and to make these materials available to researchers.

At the University Archives, researchers may find collections of primary documents containing more than 14,000 cubic feet of paper archives and manuscripts; 35,000 images, photographs, drawings, prints, and other visual materials; 150 cubic feet of memorabilia and other objects.
Most collection guides and many primary documents are accessible on-line. Online features provide context for the institutions, activities, campuses, and people so important In Penn's history since its founding in 1749. Onsite researchers may also consult over 2,500 volumes and 450 current and retrospective titles related to Penn history.

Home Front/Civilians

1. College Administration, General Administration Records, UPA 3, Boxes 13 and 14. Contains chronologically arranged records for the University during the Civil War period; mostly student lists, grades, expenses of the University, and student petitions to the trustees related to military instruction. There are also photographs of the faculty in 1862.

2. College Faculty Minutes, UPB 1.1, Box 1, FF 10 1856 – 1861; FF 11, 1862-1869. The Faculty Minute books record events which relate to the students of the University; examinations, applications, dismissals, and disciplinary actions. The minutes also refer to students called into military service and their status, and matters related to the University Cadets including military instruction and drill, and appointment of officers. References are also made to students absent during the Battle of Gettysburg, students who died during military service, the Great Central Sanitary Fair, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

3. Trustees Committee Minutes, UPA 1.5, Box 1, Minute Book of Committee on the Department of Arts (College), 1857- 1866, 1867, 1882-1889, 1894-1919. This Minute Book records meetings for the period around the Civil War, and has minimum entries in general. The business discussed relates to general University business, and in particular mentions a report on Secret Societies.

4. Box 1, Minute Book of Committee on the Academy and Charity School, 1857-1862. The minutes reflect the basic operation of the Academy and Charity School.

5. Box 1, Minute Book of the Committee of Ways and Means, 1857-1889, 1891-1894. The minutes relate to the financial matters of the University, and make reference to appropriations to Professor Henry Coppee for his military instruction.

6. Board of Trustees Minutes, UPA 1.1, Volume 10, 1852-1869. The minutes document the activities of the Board of Trustees in the operation of the University. While no mention of the war is made, it does document the administrative activities of the Institution.

7. Centennial Collection, 1876 (UPG 500), Box 1, FF 1 “Civil War Songs.” Contains 12 broadsides of songs and poems from the Civil War Period.

8. General Magazine (UPM 8115) “John Brown’s Raid,” by Joseph G. Rosengarten, pp. 22-41.
Recounts Rosengarten’s personal experience encountering the effects of John Brown’s Raid in Harpers Ferry, VA.

Scientific Topics
Fairman Rogers Papers UPT 50 R725, Box 1, FF 7 Rogers Diary, 1862 April 9 - 1862 June 29. Journal of the Potomac River Survey in 1862 as requested by the Navy Department.

Frazer Family Papers UPT 50 F848, Box 3, FF 5 John Fries Frazer Correspondence with Alexander Dallas Bache, 1862-1867. Correspondence to Frazer from Bache for the most part is personal. Some materials from 1863 relate to the creation of the National Academy of Science, and to Frazer’s service on a NAS committee to examine the hydrometer of Joseph Saxton.

Student Life:
1. George Davis Budd Papers UPT50 B927. Budd (1843-1874) was a member of the Class of 1862. This small collection documents student life on campus during the early years of the war, including the Zelosophic Society. The collection contains his memoirs of 4 years at the Penn, which mentions drilling in the Light Infantry.

2. Frazer Family Papers UPT 50 F848, Box 15, FF 15 Persifor Frazer, Class of 1862. Material relates to class reunions in 1885, 1901, and 1904. Also included are images of the faculty, janitor, and class members along with an identification list.

3. Box 15, FF 16 Persifor Frazer Class of 1862, Book Proofs. Proofs for reunion book which contains images of class, including an original of Frederick Dick, Janitor.

4. Office of the Provost. C.C. Harrison Records, UPA 6.2H, Box 5, FF 27. Accounts of Expenses for Clothing, 1860-1861. A handwritten account of payment for clothing while a student in the Class of 1862.

5. Box 5, FF 28 Student Papers and reports, 1858-1862. Papers written by C.C. Harrison while at the University, and reports of his class standing.

6. Dean of Student Affairs Disciplinary Records, 1829-1865, UPE 5.45, Box 1, Folder 6. The letters are mostly from students and their families to the dean acknowledging misbehavior by the students and asking for re-admittance to the University.

7. Zelosophic Society, UPS 44.2, Box 3, FF 1 Minutes February 1854-June 1864. The minutes record the debates and activities of the Society. Pre-Civil War debate topics included “Is the fugitive slave law in accordance with the Constitution?” in 1854 and “Is it right or wrong to hang ‘Old Brown’” in 1859. In 1860 other debates focused on a standing army, political parties, who should elect the president. Overall, the minutes review the meetings of the Society, and while they do debate topics of relevance the full debate is not presented, nor are comments made regarding events during the war.

8. Box 4, FF 10 & 11 Roll books. Provides a list of names of members with some addresses.

9. Box 4, FF 19 Committee Reports and Resolutions, 1851-1872. Details basic upkeep material for the Society.

10. Box 5, FF 8 General activities, programs, 1862-1865. Programs of activities.

11. Box 6, FF 21 – 27, The Zelosophic Review, 1861 – 1865. Handwritten “magazine” of the society. As with other aspects of the society some topics touch on the war, others are more broad. Also includes reviews of the meetings, and at times hand drawn illustrations.

12. Alumni Register (UPM 8115): Vol. 17, No. 8 1915. “The Commencement of 1863 and the University in the Civil War” by James W. Ashton, pp. 593-600. Alumnus recounts his take on the commencement of 1863 and the events of Gettysburg on Philadelphia and the College.

13. Alumni Register, as above. “Some Recollections of College Days at the University of Pennsylvania During the American Civil War, 1861-1865” by William Brook Rawle, pp. 600-611. Author provides comments on, as a member of the Class of ’63, his experience during the war on campus and in the military. Mentions those from various classes who served, and at the end discusses the lack of a memorial to former alumni who served.

14. General Magazine (UPM 8115): Vol. 31, No. 3 1929. “The Class of ‘62” by Charles C. Harrison, pp. 341-344. Harrison’s recollection of the Class of 1862, along with a page of images of members of the class.

15. “Four Years at the University of Pennsylvania: A History of the Class of 1862, College” by George Davis Budd, pp. 345-396. Publication of George Davis Budd’s memoir recounting his time as a student of the University, printed posthumously and edited most likely by Charles C. Harrison.

16. Medical School Administration. Medical Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Records, 1844 -1904 UPP 80. Box 1 FF 1. Pamphlet published in 1904 giving an overview history of the Medical School, with references to the Civil War.

17. Faculty Minutes, UPC 2.1, Box 1A, Volume 5 (1853-1873). The Faculty Minutes discuss matters related to courses, when instruction should begin, financial matters, etc. While comments concerning the Civil War are few, it does document the impact of specific events to the Medical school. For instance, an 1859 entry states that a true account of students who left should be determined to dispel rumors. An 1862 letter from Surgeon General Hammond is included asking that a professor of hygiene and military surgery be added. In 1863 the matter of graduating students early for service into the military arises.

18. Financial Records, UPC 2.5, Box 3, #2 Ledger 1850-1876. The ledger gives a running account of the finances of the Medical School before, during, and after the Civil War. Shows diploma fees, expenses for upkeep and services (including advertising) incurred.

19. Student Records, UPC 2.7. The records for the Civil War period provide names of students, home states, and local addresses / boarding houses.

20. General Magazine (UPM 8115), Vol. 48, No. 4 1946. “The Medical Tradition at Pennsylvania,” by William S. Middletown, pp. 224-236. Makes mention of Medical School and Civil War impact.

21. Medical Affairs (UPL 1010.915), Vol. 2, Nos. 1 and 2 1961. Special issue of Medical School publication that featured stories on the Medical School alumni and the roles they played during the Civil War.

Philadelphia Society
Cornelius Nolen Weygandt Diaries UPT50 W548. Weygandt (1832-1907) was a clerk and later cashier with the Western National Bank in Philadelphia. His diaries for the period of the Civil War provide commentary on the secession crisis, Abraham Lincoln in Philadelphia, and the firing on Fort Sumter. Over the next four years his commentary reflects more his daily activities, health, weather, and events at the bank. He does remark on the Gettysburg Campaign, and the events at the close of the war. Interestingly, he has more commentary on events in the Western Theater of 1861 than in the Eastern Theater. The diaries are a good source for social life in Philadelphia during the war (including the opera season starting 1863), and the banking world. Weygandt drilled with an artillery company during the early years, but seems not to have continued.

1. Box 1, FF 23 Diary, 1861. Diary reflects mostly his day to day activities. Comments on Abraham Lincoln being in Philadelphia and the events at Independence Hall for Washington’s Birthday in February, Fort Sumter in April, and drilling with his artillery company. Gives his hopes for a change on New Year’s Eve. Also comments on changes to banking.

2. Box 1, FF 24 Diary, 1862 January 1-September 1. Comments on events, mostly in the west. Continues to comment on work and home. Drilling with artillery company.

3. Box 1, FF 25 Diary, 1863 January 1-May 9. Refers to the opera season at the Academy of Music, his personal life, and reading. No discussion of events regarding war.

4. Box 1, FF 26 Diary, 1863. Small pocket diary. Seems to have switched to this book from the above possibly on account of size. Makes note of Gettysburg Campaign, but not much in the way of commentary. Reflects on books read, work at the bank, and theater attendance.

5. Box 1, FF 27 Diary, 1864. Very little comment on the war. The majority of entries relate to his personal life, principally courting of Lucy Elmaker Thomas and his activities at the bank.

6. Box 1, FF 30 Diary, 1865. Comments on the surrender of Lee, Lincoln’s assassination and funeral.

7. Alfred Fitler Moore Family Papers UPT50 M821, Box 3, FF 5 William F. Moore Diary, 1864- 1865. Fragment of a diary kept by William F. Moore, who was involved in the family wire business, that has mostly work and social commentary.

8. Clark and Madeira Family Papers UPT50 C592, Box 1, FF 16 Edward White Clark Diary, 1863 January 1 – September 11. Personal diary kept by Clark, who was senior partner in the banking firm E.W. Clark and Company. Entries primarily comments on social activities and weather. Clark does comment on Gettysburg, and a friend wounded in the battle. Also notes visit to U.S. Colored Regiment in West Philadelphia.

9. Robert Dechert Family Papers UPT 50 D293, Box 3, FF 15 Dechert, Henry Martyn Minute Book: West Philadelphia Guard, 1861-1862. Minute book for the formation of a militia company based in West Philadelphia, for the defense of the city during the “present crisis,” of which Henry Martyn Dechert was a member. The minute book details rules for the organization of the unit, uniform, officers, and by-laws. Many notable residents of the area are mentioned, including Anthony Drexel.

1. Thomas Humphries Sherwood Collection UPT50 S554. The collection documents Sherwood’s promotion as a surgeon in the Union army. There are two pieces of correspondence to his wife (one letter, one telegram), with the letter expressing his views on service and events in the 3rd PA Cavalry; and the telegram informing his wife of a promotion and to come to Washington. Images of Sherwood, as well as certificates and memorabilia are included.

2. Robert Dechert Family Papers UPT 50 D293, Box 4, FF 2 Dechert, Robert Porter Civil War Diary, 1865 January 17-April 17. The cover of the diary notes “Asst Adj Gen Dept Hd Qts Left-Wing Army of Georgia.” The diary recounts the movements of the Army from Savannah into North Carolina.

3. McClellan Family Papers UPT 50 McC623 (Family Papers), Box 1, FF 5 Arthur McClellan Correspondence. Includes an 1863 Headquarters Department of Washington pass for “Capt McClellan & Dr. Crehore,” notes for corrections to reports, 1863, and miscellaneous calculations made on “Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac, 1862” letterhead. Note: Despite the prominence of McClellan, the collection contains no letters from George B. McClellan, or in relation to the Civil War. The one piece of correspondence to George B. McClellan is from his nephew, dated 1875, and relates to family matters.

4. Thomas Webb Richards Papers UPT 50 R514.1, Box 1, FF 5, Miscellaneous correspondence.
Copy of letter dated 19 August 1863 from M. C. Meigs to L. W. Leeds at Calvert and Vaux Architects in NY, authorizing them to draw up plans for the Western Hospital. Richards copied the letter.

5. Office of Alumni Records Biographical Records, UPF 1.9 AR. The collection consists of biographical files for deceased alumni and faculty. During the late 19th c. questionnaires were sent out that inquired about military service. Those returned by Civil War veterans have varying degrees of information.

6. Alumni Register (UPM 8115), Vol. 15, No. 1 1912 through to 1914. “University of Pennsylvania Men Who Served in the Civil War” by Jordan first appears, pp 20.

7. Alumni Register, Vol. 18, No 7, 1916. “The University’s Men in the Civil War.” By Major John C. White, pp 631-636. White, a Penn alumnus, responds to Rawle’s article and discusses various graduates who served in the war.

8. Alumni Register Vol. 18, No. 8, 1916. “William Brooke Rawle” by Francis Rawle, pp. 691- 695. Biographical memoir of Rawle, recounts his Civil War service.

9. General Magazine (UPM 8115), Vol. 45, No. 1 1942. “A Hospital at Gettysburg” by William Fisher Norris, pp 34 – 41. Small group of letters from William Fisher Norris (1839-1901) to his parents during his time at Gettysburg (July 7 – 27, 1863) as a surgeon in charge of 3rd Division, 1st Corps hospital following the battle. While the location of the original letters is unclear, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania does have a collection of Norris Family Papers.

10. Vol. 60, No. 1, 1957. “Three Letters from the Front, 1864-1865,” by Henry C. Parry, pp. 7- 16. Collection of letters from Parry, a surgeon in 2nd US Cavalry in Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah, to his father.

11. Frazer Family Papers UPT 50 F848, Box 15, FF 30 Persifor Frazer First City Troop Civil Action. Documents, maps and correspondence relating to the First City Troop at Gettysburg, includes Pamphlets “Gregg’s Cavalry Fight at Gettysburg” 1884, and The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s BOOK OF THE ROYAL BLUE, vol. 6, no. 10 July 1904 Fortieth Anniversary of “Gettysburg.”

12. Vol. 17, No. 8 1915. “The Civil War Reunion” by editor, pp. 589-591 M. Mentions upcoming reunion of alumni who served as the 50th anniversary of the war’s end approached, gives 2-3 small accounts of alumni as well as the artillery brigade of the campus.

1. Box 1, FF 2 “Gettysburg Star Extra, 1865.” Copy of the extra page from the Gettysburg newspaper regarding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Written in pencil is “April 15th, 1865.”

2. General Magazine (UPM 8115) Vol. 55, No. 3, 1953. “The Death of a President April 15, 1865,” by Francis A. Haugh, pp.114-116. Brief article on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

1. Thomas Webb Richards Papers UPT 50 R514.1, Box 1, FF 13 Correspondence and Notes relating to Civil War Monument in chapel. Correspondence, invoices and description of monument erected in the University Chapel to honor alumni who died in the Civil War. 1877-1879

2. Alumni Register (UPM 8115), Vol. 15, No. 5 1913. “The Battle Abbey of the Confederacy” pp. 227-229. Discussion of architecture designed by Penn grads, now the home to the Virginia Historical Society.

This project has been generously supported by the Honorable Larry Farnese, PA Senator, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
the Department of Community and Economic Development, and the Samuel S. Fels Fund.


Bookmark and Share
Like us on Facebook
Site contents copyright © 2004-2009 Civil War History Consortium except as indicated herein.
About the Guide Civil War in Philadelphia Philadelphia Collections Notes for Researchers