Old Abe and the Army of the American Eagle

Chicago printer Alfred L. Sewell devised a novel fundraiser to support the Union army: Selling carte de visite sized portraits of Old Abe, the famed Eagle mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry. Sewell targeted kids, who purchased tens of thousands of the images under the auspices of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. Children earned commissions in Old Abe’s army, and a small number received Medals of Honor for the number of images purchased. For details, see our finding aid.

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