University Archives


Clara Barton War Related ALS About a Surgeon, "a Native of Mississippi, a Natural Abolitionist" and a Member of Freedman's Bureau

BARTON, CLARA. Autograph Letter Signed with docketing by Butler's office on verso, correcting the date to 1866. Two page by Barton on card-style bifolium stationery measures 5" x 8" as folded. Folds, and light chipping and discoloration to edges. Overall in very good plus condition, with bold, elegant writing.

Beautifully penned letter by Clara Barton to General Benjamin Butler, her close friend and political ally. Barton writes on 8 January 1866 (mis-dated as 1865) from Washington DC on behalf of her friend, Dr. R.O. Sidney, a close friend during the Civil War, who renounced his native Mississippi because he didn't believe in slavery. Barton writes in full,

"Dear General / Permit me to introduce to you my old time friend of all the war, Surgeon R.O. Sidney, at present acting under direction of the Freedman's Bureau and stationed on the eastern shore of Va.

Dr. Sidney is a native of Mississippi, a natural abolitionist, compelled to leave his home for proclaiming his sentiments some years previous to the war. He was a clerk in the Gen'l P.O. [Post Office] and a member of our family, when the rebellion broke out, and I have known him well during the intervening time. He has been intensely loyal, is naturally enthusiastic, generous, kind hearted & sympathetic, possessing great determination of purpose, and energy of character, and abounding in good practical sense and tact.

Very naturally, he now wants to return to his old home, and reclaim the graves of his household, and desires an appointment from Genl Howard of such importance as will sustain him even among his former foes. I have never met General Howard (a circumstance which I daily regret) and in this dilemma I take the liberty to make this explanation to you General, and ask a kindly word from you, on Dr. Sidney's behalf, unless there should be some obstacle in the way which I may not understand. / Very respectfully / Yours / Clara Barton". 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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