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Eli Lilly collection of Civil War envelopes

 Collection — Folder: S2609
Identifier: S2609

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 65 envelopes created during the Civil War with unique illustrations. Most of them are black, but three are addressed to James H. Luther and four are addressed to members of the Waymire family.


  • 1861-1865


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

"Publication of Civil War envelopes began as early as the mid-1850s, when north-south divisions began to take shape, but ended prior to the war's conclusion because most believed that it was too indulgent and expensive to continue production in a time of war...The subjects illustrated on these envelopes varied from the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy, to caricatures of important war heroes."


"Civil War envelopes", The American Antiquarian Society, Accessed August 15, 2019,

"The volume of mail ticked upward with letters to distant homes, and when it was time to send a letter, soldiers and civilians alike reached for a new kind of envelope, freshly printed and decorated with red and blue flags, delicate engravings of eagles, poems about the girl left behind, or the faces of generals, whom people at home might never have seen...These patterns range from simple flags and mottos to macabre revenge fantasies, with the hanged bodies of Southern generals lining the road to Washington."


Greenwood, Veronique, "Civil War Envelopes Are Works of Art—And Propaganda", National Geographic, December 10, 2015. Accessed August 15, 2019.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Eli Lilly on 1935/06/11.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

S0602: Mrs. F. W. Harrold collection L094: James H. Luther collection

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/08/15 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid created 2019/08/15 by Lauren Patton.
Eli Lilly collection of Civil War envelopes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.