Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Grand Army of the Republic records

Abstract

The Grand Army of the Republic records (dated 1895-1896; 1.03 cubic feet; 1 box, 4 items) primarily consist of letters, telegram notes, and other correspondence kept and organized by William Cornwell Jr., General Secretary of the citizens committee of the Grand Army of the Republic's 29th National Encampment in Louisville, Kentucky.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Grand Army of the Republic records
Creator
Cornwell, William, Jr.
Extent
1.03 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Correspondence.
Events -- 1890-1920.
Letters.
Race relations -- Kentucky -- Louisville
Veterans -- Societies.
Arrangement
Collection retains its original order and where possible original item names are retained. Loose documents are arranged by date. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Jennifer Rawe
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0358: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Grand Army of the Republic records, 1895-1896, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a veteran's organization founded at the close of the American Civil War. The group's membership reached a peak of 400,000 in 1890. By this point, most prominent veterans were registered members, including five presidents: Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison, and McKinley. At its inception, the GAR limited its activities to fraternal events. But gradually, the group developed an interest in national politics and eventually became known as a pressure group which influenced the passage of legislation to support pension and disability for veterans. The GAR's primary legacy is the annual decorating of veteran's graves on 30th of May, today known as Memorial Day. The GAR was based on fraternity, charity, and loyalty. Fraternity was encouraged through multi-day gatherings, called encampments. In 1895, the 29th National Encampment was held in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the first instance of the national gathering being held south of the Ohio River. The event sparked controversy with African American newspapers in the North, who reported cases of unequal treatment in the accommodations and proposed entertainment for black veterans.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Grand Army of the Republic records (dated 1895-1896; 1.03 cubic feet; 1 box, 4 items) primarily consist of letters, telegram notes, and other correspondence kept and organized by William Cornwell Jr., General Secretary of the citizens committee of the Grand Army of the Republic's 29th National Encampment in Louisville, Kentucky. As a whole, the collection affords a view of the planning and large scale of the 1895 encampment. The majority of the letters are kept in their original organization created by William Cornwall Jr., bound in letter books and organized chronologically. Also included in these letters books is an index which lists the names of letter recipients in alphabetical order according to last name. The collection includes 4 letter books, which contain copies of outgoing letters written by Cornwell Jr. to potential vendors, GAR members, and other event officials. Incoming letters, separated into alphabetical folders, include further correspondence between William Cornwall Jr. and individuals inquiring about a growing controversy related to the segregation of black veterans in upcoming encampment activities. Notable documents include orders outlining the expected timeline and proceedings of the encampment, letters to Cornwall Jr. containing newspaper clippings from African American newspapers reporting a distinction in veteran treatment on the basis of race.
The Grand Army of the Republic records are part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Incoming correspondence, 1895

Letter file, A-J/Special, 1895 May-June

  • Box 1, folder 1
To top

Letter file J-Z, 1895 May-June

  • Box 1, folder 2
To top

Letter file, A-Z/Special, 1895 July-December

  • Box 1, folder 3
To top

Letter file, I-M, 1895 July-December

  • Box 1, folder 4
To top

Letter file, N-Z, 1895 July-December

  • Box 1, folder 5
To top

GAR segregation controversy, 1895 May 9-1895 July 30

  • Box 1, folder 6
To top

William Cornwell Jr. incoming correspondence, 1895 May 16-1895 December 13

  • Box 1, folder 7
To top

Outgoing correspondence, 1895-1896

William Cornwell Jr. General Secretary Citizens Committee 29th National Encampment letter book 1, 1895 August 12-27

William Cornwell Jr. General Secretary Citizens Committee 29th National Encampment letter book 2, 1895 August 27-October 1

William Cornwell Jr. General Secretary Citizens Committee 29th National Encampment letter book 3, 1895 October 2-1896 February 15

William Cornwell Jr. General Secretary Citizens Committee 29th National Encampment letter book 4, 1895 May 16-September 19

The UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center has been closed to the public. Our services will be on hold temporarily while we adjust. Thank you for your patience during this time and check back for more information.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

The UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center has been closed to the public. Our services will be on hold temporarily while we adjust. Thank you for your patience during this time and check back for more information.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Requests

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