Lot 21    

O.J. Smith CDVs of an Hospital Garden in Newbern, North Carolina
6/23/2011 - American History, Including the Civil War
Lot of 6 cdvs. Images include 6 unidentified gentlemen, all trimmed top and bottom (one fairly severely); one copy of a lithograph of Tyron Palace, New Bern; and two arched-top horizontal images of men in a garden. On verso of one in pencil is Dr. Page, George Page, A.H. Gage, G.C. Gage, M. Spent(?), Mr. Conner with lima(?) and pea patch garden New Bern N.C.; other with Dr. J.W. Page, George Page, in the Garden at New Bern NC.

Formed early in the Civil War in the North, Sanitary Commissions grew out of the Women's Central Association of Relief, which in turn formed because women, although they could not fight, wanted to contribute something to the war effort. One of the primary tasks of the United States Sanitary Commission, formed as a voluntary organization in May 1861 by Abraham Lincoln (albeit somewhat reluctantly) was to inquire into the subjects of diet, clothing, cooks, camping grounds, in fact everything connected with the prevention of disease among volunteer soldiers....

It had long been known that fresh fruits and vegetables could prevent many diseases, including scurvy (as any "limey" on the high seas could tell you). A few of those had relatively long shelf lives (apples, onions, potatoes), but most had to reach troops in the field much more quickly to be beneficial. As Union troops entered the war-torn South, supply lines became more uncertain. (Indeed, the lack of supply lines in many places contributed to the loss by the South.) How to get fresh food to the troops, especially those hospitalized with disease or injuries? In spring of 1863, it was suggested that "hospital gardens" might be the answer. Convalescent soldiers, freed slaves, prisoners of war could all be put to work growing fresh food for the hospitals. The idea spread quickly. In the Sanitary Commission's Bulletin of April 1864, Dr. J.W. Page noted that "gardens and garden-plots are springing up in every part of the service." (Waide, 2010) The Manuscripts and Archives Division of NYPL had journals and documents tracing the production of the garden at New Bern. They note the amount produced of peas, beans, squash, melons, corn, okra, and more. They also tracked recipients, who included more than the hospital at New Bern. The list expanded to include local regiments and ships, Signal and Ambulance Corps, and the Band. Civilian needs also were taken into consideration, especially African-American refugees and orphans.

O.J. Smith had his "Union Photographic Room" in New Bern. All of these cdvs have Smith's backmark.

Clearly these images were taken to show the "Pride of New Bern."

Reference: Waide, Susan. United States Sanitary Commission Processing Project: Harvests for Health. New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division, 2 December 2010. [www.nypl.org/blog/2010/12/02/ussc-processing-project-harvests-health]


Condition:  
Each portrait of gentleman trimmed top and bottom (one fairly severely); other than the trimming of the portraits, Tryon Palace is slightly toned. The two USSC images are excellent.
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