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Osburn Family papers

 Collection 0117-MDHC

The Osburn family papers consist of letters primarily written to Ginnie Osburn by her brothers Lewis and James who served in Maryland regiments of the Union Army during the Civil War. Major topics within the correspondence include life as a soldier, family concerns, illness, financial worries, travel on the frontier, business prospects, and local news.


  • 1857-1864
  • Majority of material found within 1863-1864

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Osburn Family papers consist of thirteen letters which span the period from 1857 to 1864, although most letters were produced in 1863 and 1864. All the letters but one were written to Ginnie Osburn; her correspondents were her brother, Lewis, and her friends, Rachael McClure and Matt. The remaining letter is from Ginnie's brother James to their mother. Major topics within the correspondence include life as a Union soldier during the Civil War, family concerns, illness, financial worries, travel on the frontier, business prospects, and local news.

Family History

Little is known about the Osburn family of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, except what can be gathered from thirteen letters sent to Ginnie Osburn and her mother from Ginnie's brothers, Lewis and James, and friends, Rachael McClure and Matt--whose surname is not given. Both Lewis and James Osburn served in the Union army during the Civil War. Lewis was in Company B, 7th Maryland Regiment, while James served with Company I, 3rd Maryland Regiment. During the time of their correspondence, Lewis stayed in the Maryland and Virginia area, while James was in New Orleans.


The collection is organized as one series.

Series 1

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Archives and Manuscripts Department purchased the Osburn Family Papers from Charles Apfelbaum in 1994.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of the letters in this collection are available at in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.

Processing Information

Chemically inert clips have been used to attach letters to their accompanying envelopes, where appropriate. All materials have been placed in acid-free folders and in an acid-free container.

Guide to the Osburn Family papers
Processed by Meg Alessi.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742