Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Powell, George May (1835-1905) to Emma C. Small

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00687.002 Author/Creator: Powell, George May (1835-1905) Place Written: Madison Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 24 April 1860 Pagination: 1 p. ; 20.5 x 12.3 cm.

Summary of Content: re: He is sorry for the brevity of this letter and that her previous letters to him must remain unanswered, as he is very busy with the Legislature. He enclosed flower seeds, and comments on the freezing temperatures at night.

Background Information: Powell was a Lincoln supporter and served as a statistician in the Treasury Department during the Civil War. He was an inventer, social reformer, evangelical, entrepreneur, pacifist, and archaeologist. His ...philosophy and life combined social Christianity and capitalist enterprise. The Republican Party in the 1864 election used Powell's 1863 article, favorably comparing American wartime excise taxes with those of other countries at peace. His photographic montage of supporters of the Thirteenth Amendment (included in this collection) was very popular. Active in religious work as a young man, he was the secretary and manager of the Evangelistic Press Association and led a topographical corps through Egypt and North Africa to create Sunday School maps of Palestine and the Holy Land. He invented many devices both during and after the Civil War, and pursued economic ventures in enterprises such as the Cordell Life Limb company, providing prosthetics for Civil War veterans. After the war he founded the Evangelical Press Association in 1868, led the Oriental Topographical Corps in an archaeological expedition to Egypt and Palestine in 1873 (publishing colored maps and lecturing widely after his return), and ran unsuccessfully for Congress on the Prohibition Ticket. He worked to promote fireproof structures and participated in the American Forestry Commission, the Grange and Patrons of Husbandry, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the National Geographic Society. He was active in Sabbath reform work.
See More

People: Powell, George May

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Women's HistoryLegislationGovernment and Civics

Sub Era: The American Civil War

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources