Monday, August 06, 2007

American Civil War Envelopes

Death to Traitors typographic envelope

'Death to Traitors'
E. Cogan
"Soldier figures, hanged men and American flags make up the phrase 'Death to Traitors'."

Devil and Whiskey - civil war cover

'Devil and whiskey'
"Devil sitting hunched over a whiskey barrel holding a flag."

Secession Whiskey - devil in civil war cachet

'Secession Whiskey'
D. Murphy's Son
"A giant goblet being hovered over by a skeleton. Inside the goblet is a pudgy, drunk (sleeping?) person. White envelope with brown ink. Image on left side.
One dose warranted to kill, at 40 rods."

Civil War secession as a dragon

'Secession as a dragon'
William Ridenburgh
"A knight wearing the American shield fights a dragon labeled 'secession'."

Secession Web - civil war caricature

'Secession Web - "Walk into my parlor," says the Spider to the Fly.'
D. Murphy's son, printer
"Davis as a spider catching the secession states in his web strung from the American flag. There is a skull and cross bones on his spider back and he is dripping blood and clutching Virginia. "

The Rebel States - Florida and Mississippi

'The Rebel States'
Reagles & Co., copyright holder
The devil holds the state seals of Mississippi and Florida and a Confederate flag.

Civil War envelope - Southern army propaganda

'Recruits wanted for the brave southern army - good pay, (in Confederate Bonds ) and good quarters, (in a horn.)'
D. Murphy's Son
"A dog and a monkey dressed in Confederate uniforms. The dog plays a drum. The monkey has a sword drawn and a flag showing stripes and skull and crossbones tied to his tail."

The Southern Vulture - envelope caricature

'The Southern Vulture "hard up".'
D. Murphy's Son
"Confederate soldier with rooster's head entering a pawn shop carrying a bail of cotton."

Running the Blockade - civil war/alligator satire

'Running the blockade'
"Man riding on the tail of an alligator with a crate labeled 'For New Orleans and a market'."

Confederated Chicken - civil war illustrative propaganda

'A Confederated Chicken after the Cock of the Walk, (Uncle Sam.) gets done with him.'
William Ridenburgh
"A chicken missing most of its feathers with a small sword suspended from it's body."

A Horse Marine of the C.S.A.

'A "Horse Marine" of the C.S.A.'
William Ridenburgh
"A plump figure with a naval hat on sits atop a wooden horse with a spyglass in his hand."

Civil War envelope - A Southern Gorilla

'A southern gorrilla, (guerilla)'
New-York Union Envelope Depot
"Gorilla (?) dressed in uniform with Confederate hat."
'Oh! for a nigger, and Oh! for a whip;
Oh! for a cocktail, and Oh! for a nip;
Oh! for a shot at old Greeley and Beecher;
Oh! for a crack at a Yankee school-teacher;
Oh! for a captain, and Oh! for a ship;
Oh! for a cargo of niggers each trip,
and so he kept oh-ing for all he had not,
not contented with owing for all that he'd got.'

An eminent Southern Clergyman

'An eminent southern clergyman, during an eloquent discourse is wonderfully assisted in finding scriptural authority of secession and treason, and the divine ordination of slavery.'
"Clergyman at the pulpit with bible on it with the devil standing beside him. Each has one hand on the open bible."

'An ASS-sault from a "Masked" Battery'
J Magee

Civil war bomb propaganda envelope

'To Cure Rebellion - This is the Pill that will Cure or Kill'

Lincoln v Davis boxing satire - civil war envelope

'Champion prize envelope, Lincoln & Davis in 5 rounds. 5th Round. '
J.H. Tingley, publisher.
"Lincoln stands inside "the champion belt" beside a pyramid labeled with all states. Outside the ring, four men, labeled east, west, north and south, waive hats. Flag, Liberty and eagle above. Cream envelope with black ink. Image covers sheet. Lincoln: You shall all have my impartial, constitutional and humble protection!"

"The printed envelope came into use in America in 1840 and was first used for advertising or satirical purposes. In the 1850s to 1860s 'corner cards,' with printing applied in the upper left-hand side of the front of the envelope, were common. By the onset of the Civil War, printed envelopes were already in use as a propaganda medium. Lithography was the main mode of printing used for envelopes, especially for colored designs. Printed envelopes were sold either as a single item or with matching paper."
The above Civil War envelopes come from the New York Historical Society collection - 490 images are available (click 'List items' top right).

Other collections - quite a bit of repetition, but they each have their merits:
I was hoping to find a descriptive essay that covered the printing, illustration and propaganda elements in something of a self contained nutshell (and maybe it's still out there) but there are various strands of interest through this lot:


Bonnie Branson said...



Rachel said...

These are brilliant!

-theorist @

Alexiev said...

Very goof images... Great enveloupes... (sorry my english)...

Best regards...

Karla said...

These are excellent. A great pity there's so little need for decorated envelopes these days. I used to make lots of them. (Not like this, of course!)

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