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Civil War-Era Pictorial envelopes and song sheets

 Collection 0370-MDHC

This collection consists of twenty-four Civil War-Era envelopes and four song sheets, depicting nine different locations in Baltimore, Maryland. The views consist of: the Washington Monument, Fort McHenry, Belger Barracks, Camp Chesebrough, Fort Federal Hill, Lafayette Barracks, Fort Marshall, the Battery at Stewart's Place, and U.S.A. General Hospital at McKim's Mansion. They are decorated with full lithographic and stencil color or metallic inks. They are both colored and monochrome. Three of the envelopes are signed by Charles Magnus, a publisher of patriotic envelopes during the Civil War.


  • 1860-1865

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.


28 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Civil War-Era Pictorial envelopes and song sheets, which covers the period of 1861 to 1865, consists of envelopes and song sheets that depict different locations in Baltimore, Maryland, during the Civil War. The song sheets include lithographs paired with patriotic songs. Three of the envelopes were signed by Charles Magnus. The envelopes in the collection are extremely similar, and it is possible Magnus published all of them, however, other publishers may have copied Magnus's style.


Charles Magnus was famous print publisher, map dealer, and book seller from New York City during the mid-nineteenth century. He is best known for his city views and Civil War related material, publishing about 700 patriotic envelopes during the Civil War. Magnus used allegorical figures, battle scenes, political cartoons, portraits, and state emblems on these patriotic envelopes. He was born in Germany in 1826, but moved to New York City in 1848 and lived there until his death in 1900. Several other institutions around the country hold collections of Magnus's patriotic envelopes. See related material for more information.


The Civil War-Era Pictorial Envelopes is organized as two series.

Series 1
Civil War-Era Pictorial Envelopes
Series 2
Civil War-Era Pictorial Song Sheets

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland purchased the Civil War-Era Pictorial envelopes from manuscripts dealer William Reese in October 2012. The four song sheets were purchased from Michael J. Osborne Books in 2014.

Related Material

President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C., has a collection of Charles Magnus patriotic envelopes. Several of the envelopes were on display at the visitor's center in 2008 and may be accessible by contacting the cottage. Find more information on the institution’s website.

The Winterthur Library at the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum has a Charles Magnus Collection that consists of more than his pictorial envelopes. More information can be found in the finding aid. Some information in this finding aid's Historical Note was taken from these resources.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guide.

Processing Information

The envelopes arrived in a large envelope with no original order. They were arranged, alphabetically by geographic location, in mylar sleeves and filed in an acid-free photo box. Envelopes with images of the same location are ordered numerically by the number located on the envelope. The song sheets were put in mylar sleeves and filed alphabetically by location.

The Civil War-Era Pictorial envelopes and song sheets
Processed by Kate Aras.
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