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Records of Post No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic


This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library
Grand Army of the Republic. Post No. 2. (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Records of Post No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic
Call Number:
23.75 Cubic feet ((76 volumes in 38 boxes and 21 binders, plus 1 cubic foot unprocessed materials))
The Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 2 was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Records of Post No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic, 1870-1950s, consist of administrative, financial, and membership records from Post No. 2 as well as General Orders, scrapbooks, and correspondence. There are also war memorial sketch books which contain detailed histories of member's service in the Civil War.
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The headquarters of Post 2 was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Members of Post 2 were made up of members from Post 1, which was dissolved into Post 2. The Post was active in numerous GAR activities including preparing memorial day services for veterans and maintaining its own orchestra. In the early 1900s, as numerous GAR posts began to disband throughout the city, and members began to pass from age, Post 2 eventually became the last remaining Post in the city. Since Post 2 was the last remaining, the final resting place of many Post’s records and artifacts was with Post 2. Post 2 later became defunct and turned all of its records and property to S.U.V.C.W. Philadelphia Camp. It is the property and materials of Post 2 turned over to the Philadelphia Camp that eventually formulated the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library. The last member of the original Post 2, Col. Samuel P. Town, died in 1937.

Scope and Contents

The records of Post No. 2 consist of 76 bound volumes, loose files, and 21 binders dating from 1862 to the 1950s. The records are organized into eight series. As one of the nation’s largest and most influential GAR posts, Post No. 2 served as the final depository for the records of numerous other GAR posts and Civil War organizations when these posts and organizations disbanded.

Series I: Administrative Records - This series consists of the minutes of general meetings of Post No. 2 as well as the minutes of a variety of other committees and groups within the Post. There is also one miscellaneous administrative notebook. The general meeting minutes cover the years 1870 to 1944, with a gap of missing minutes from December 24, 1927 to January 9, 1937. The records following the missing minutes refer to the previous minutes, but they are not with the record group. The minutes are in seventeen bound volumes arranged chronologically.

Other committees’ and organization’s minutes in the record group include Guard Committee minutes, Committee on Portraits and Relics, the Post No. 2 Orchestra, the Hall Committee, and the Committee on Improvement of the New Hall. The Guard Committee minutes span from 1895 to 1906 and consist of three bound volumes. The Guard Committee minute Books are the only committee and organization minute book with more than one bound volume. Although there are no significant runs of any of the records, the volumes offer details into the many types of events, groups, and services that the Post participated in while it was in operation.

The miscellaneous notebook is one volume and contains a variety of administrative details including various post matters and activities. The date is unknown for this volume.

Series II: Financial Records - This series contains 12 bound volumes and one check stubs book dating from 1887 to 1940. It consists of the assistant quartermaster general’s account book, cash books, general account books, member account books, a charity book, a Post No. 2 Guard cash book, an insurance policies book, check books, and check stubs. Most of the records consist of only one volume. The member account books list names of members individually and record their payments from the time of joining. The records occasionally record when a member discontinues payment because of death, transfer, or resignation from the organization. The charity book records to whom and why the Post donated funds for various causes.

Series III: Membership Records - This series consists of membership applications, descriptive roll books, a medical descriptive book, a roll book, membership directory, an employment book, a cemetery book, burial records, and a copy of a descriptive book. These records contain some the most important information regarding Post members.

Member Applications are records of individuals’ applications for membership in the Post. The G.A.R. Civil War Museum and Library maintains all of its Post application records separately from the main body of its archival records. The application records are sleeved, filed in 20 binders alphabetically, and indexed in a separate binder. In addition to the application form itself, each file may contain a variety of other records related to the application, such as transfer cards, applications for admission to Soldiers and Sailors Home, Proof of Service certificates, correspondence, and other documents. The applications contain detailed information on members’ personal lives and military service and as such are a particularly rich set of records. Member applications have undefined start and end dates because the G.A.R. recorded and filed the documents alphabetically as individual members joined or transferred to the Post.

The descriptive books and descriptive roll book are three bound volumes that include detailed information on Post members. The entries run from 1866 to approximately the 1930s and include the following information: member’s name, age, birthplace, residence, occupation, details on entry into service and final discharge (which includes date, rank, company, and regiment), length of service, cause of discharge, the details of his G.A.R. membership, and remarks (which include death notices or membership ending through leaving or transferring). There is also a copy of the descriptive book that was made in the late 20th century by an unknown person.

The medical descriptive book is one undated, bound volume. It appears to be from the late 19th century. It lists various injuries and illnesses members suffered during the War.

The roll book and membership directory were used to keep track of active members and their participation in the Post. The roll book dates from approximately the 1870s to the 1880s and is in one bound volume. It is unknown whether there are other books for earlier or later years. The membership directories are three bound volumes dating from the late 19th Century. The first volume is from Post No. 2; it appears that the other two volumes may not be from Post No. 2 but they are kept with the record group.

The employment book is from 1897 and is one bound volume. The book documents Post members who were out of work and lists their skills and trade. The book was not used extensively and only includes records for a small portion of 1897.

The cemetery book, the Burial Places of Our Deceased Comrades, and the burial records are three bound volumes that span the 1890s to the 1940s and document members’ dates of death and burial places.

Series IV: General Orders - Series Four is predominately general orders, which are pasted into bound volumes chronologically, along with numerous other items such as nominations, circulars, programs, event notices, and correspondence tipped into the volumes. There are seven bound volumes covering the years 1870 to 1905. General orders are announcements, instructions, communications, and rules on practice and procedure for the GAR organization. They provide information on how the G.A.R. functioned as an organization nationally, regionally, and locally. General orders communicated within the G.A.R. Post are post orders, orders communicated from the department are department orders, and orders communicated from the national organization are national orders. Collectively, all orders are entitled General Orders.

Series V: Scrapbooks - This series consists of five scrapbooks which contain numerous documents and ephemera relating to Post activities, such as invitations, menus, programs, tickets, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, general orders, correspondence, and ribbons. The first four scrapbooks are for the years 1877, 1878, 1879, and 1880 and were compiled by Post member Charles W. Schuellermann. The last scrapbook covers the years 1896 to 1897 and was compiled by an unknown member. The scrapbook by James W. Nagle consists entirely of newspaper clippings, and covers the years 1899 to 1909.

Series VI: Correspondence - This series contains a letter book, correspondence, and legal papers. The letter book is one bound volume from the year 1887 that holds carbon copies of outgoing correspondence. The correspondence and legal papers date from 1860 to the 1950s. These were previously loose files that the G.A.R. Museum and Library compiled, sleeved, and placed in a binder.

Series VII: General Files, Memorial Day Programs, and Outside Publications – This series consists of outside publications collected by Post No. 2, a large number of Memorial Day service programs, and numerous loose general files. The outside publications include Frank Leslie’s Pictorial History of the American Civil War from 1862 and three Army and Navy Journals spanning the years 1867 to 1869. There is a large quantity of Memorial Day service programs dating from the 1880s to the 1920s. The loose general files contain pamphlets, reports, photos, and correspondence from the late 19th century.

Series VIII: Post History – This series consists of four volumes of war memorial sketchbooks dating from 1889. The war memorial sketchbooks record the detailed history of a Post member’s service in the Civil War and his membership in the G.A.R. The volumes contain information that the veteran originally recorded on a Memorial War Sketch Form, which a Post Historian then utilized to compile the history contained in the Memorial War Sketch Book. The Memorial War Sketch Books provide detailed information on members’ service in the Civil War and his membership in the G.A.R.

Scope and Contents

Additional unprocessed records from Post 2 may not yet be available to researchers. One box in the Museum attic, underneath the southeast eaves, contains receipts, a ledger (1920s), returned checks (1940s), and check stubs book (1940s).

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Jack McCarthy and Megan Atkinson, 2009-2010. EAD conversion was completed through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories.


This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Access Restrictions

Contact the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library for information about accessing collection.

Processing Information note

The records were rough sorted and placed in archival boxes by board members and volunteers of the GAR Civil War Museum & Library in 2008. In 2009-2010 they received preliminary processing by Archival Consultant Jack McCarthy and Intern Megan Atkinson, working on a project funded by grants from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and National Endowment for the Humanities. This finding aid is the result of that project. The grant funds allowed for only minimal processing and very little re-housing of the records; as noted above, the records require more thorough processing.

The finding aid created by McCarthy and Atkinson was converted to the EAD format in 2011-2012 as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials note

The membership applications are stored separately from the rest of the collection in the library.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Grand Army of the Republic. Dept. of Pennsylvania.
  • Grand Army of the Republic.
Geographic Name(s)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • Fraternal organizations
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Veterans

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Collection Inventory

Administrative records.


General Meeting minutes (missing: December 24, 1927 to January 9, 1937), 1870-1944. 17 Items.

Committees and Organizations within Post No. 2, 1878-1925.

Guard Committee minutes, 1895-1920. 3 Items.


Minute Book, Committee on Portraits and Relics, 1890-1911. 1 Items.


Committee on Portraits and Relics, records, receipts, and correspondence, circa 1890-1900.


Miscellaneous notebook, undated. 1 Items.


Post 2 Orchestra, 1878-1889. 1 Items.


Hall Committee minutes, 1883-1897. 1 Items.


Committee on Improvement of New Hall, 1892. 1 Items.


Memorial Day Committee meeting minutes, 1911-1925. 1 Items.


Financial records.


Assistant Quartermaster General’s account, 1889-1938. 1 Items.


Cash books, 1900-1933. 2 Items.


Account book, 1912-1935. 2 Items.


Member accounts, 1897-1917. 2 Items.


Charity book, 1907-1916. 1 Items.


Post 2 Guard cash book, 1887-1916. 1 Items.


Insurance policies book, 1895-1896. 1 Items.


Check books, 1928-1933. 2 Items.


Check stubs, 1932-1940. 1 Items.


Membership records.


Membership applications: 20 binders, plus index binder, undated. 21 Items.


Descriptive roll book, 1866-1930. 1 Items.


Descriptive book, 1878-1930. 2 Items.


Medical descriptive book, undated. 1 Items.


Roll book, 1870-1880. 1 Items.


Membership directories, Late 19th century . 3 Items.


Employment book, 1897. 1 Items.


Cemetery book, 1890-1940. 1 Items.


Burial places of deceased comrades book, circa 1890-1930. 1 Items.


Burial records, 1877-circa 1930. 1 Items.


Copy of descriptive roll book, undated. 1 Items.


General Orders.

Box Box

General orders scrapbooks, 1870-1918. 5 Items.

37 20-21



Scrapbooks by Chas W. Schuellermann, 1877-1879. 3 Items.


Scrapbooks, 1880-1897. 2 Items.


Scrapbook by James W. Nagle, circa 1899-1909.




Letter book, 1887. 1 Items.


Correspondence and legal papers, circa 1860s-1950s. 1 Items.


Files, Memorial Day programs, and outside publications.


Frank Leslie’s Pictorial History of the American Civil War, 1862. 1 Items.


Army and Navy journals, 1867-1869. 3 Items.


Memorial Day service programs, circa 1880s-1920s.


Loose Files: Correspondence, circa late 1800. 1 Items.


Post history.


Memorial War sketchbooks, 1889. 4 Items.