Civil War

Important Woman of the Civil War Elizabeth E. Hutter who was Noted by Abraham Lincoln

An important archive relative to Elizabeth Hutter (1820-1895) ), The archive features two portraits of Hutter; one, an exquisite reverse painting on glass, 7" x 9", housed in its original ornate gilt frame (11" x 13), showing Hutter full-length in a iridescent blue skirt and navy blue shawl, c. 1860, together with an oval portrait, 8" x 6", most likely a painted albumen photograph, showing a slightly younger Hutter, c. 1850, housed in a similarly ornate gilt frame (13" x 10.5"). Printed and manuscript material in the archive includes a partly-printed Document Signed "Henry Lockwood, Capt." 1 page, 6.5" x 4.5", Washington, October 8, 1862, a pass for Edwin and Elizabeth Hutter to pass within the Union Lines to Alexandria, Virginia; 2 Autograph Letters Signed by John W. Geary (1819-1873) as Governor of Pennsylvania, one addressed to Elizabeth, 1 page, 4.25" x 8", Harrisburg, November 3, 1868, and the other to her husband Edwin, 1 page, 7.75" x 10",Harribug, April 2, 1869; an Autograph Letter Signed by Elizabeth's husband Edwin Hutter, 4 pages, 7.5" x 10", "99 New Street," May 9, 1853; and a leather-bound autograph book, 7.5" x 9.25", adorned with gilt tooling and tilted at center: "MRS. ELIZABETH E. HUTTER." featuring poetry and sentiments from friends and family both in German and English, kept between 1840 and 1859. The collection also includes some ancillary material, including a typescript copy of Elizabeth Hutter's last will and testament; several miscellaneous documents related to other family members including a several letters between Elizabeth Hutter's niece Claudine Hutter of Poplar Forest, Virginia and a distant relative, Jay M. Slindel of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Letters bear the expected folds, the frames of the two portraits bear some minor chipping, the autograph book's binding is somewhat loose with significant rubbing to boards and spine.

Elizabeth Hutter was an accomplished woman, active in Washington society in the 1840s and 1850s and an important figure in Civil War Philadelphia, serving as a volunteer nurse on the battlefield of Gettysburg and founding an important orphanage catering to the children of deceased veterans. Born Elizabeth Embich Shindel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania to a established German family, she was educated at the Moravian Seminary for Girls in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was in Bethlehem that Elizabeth met her future husband, Edwin Hutter, who, although only in his mid 20s, was already the editor and publisher of several newspapers and the postmaster of Allentown. They married in 1838 and soon moved to Harrisburg after Edwin obtained several state political appointments.

In Harrisburg, the couple became friends with then Senator James Buchanan as well as his niece, Harriet Lane. When James K. Polk appointed Buchanan Secretary of State, he asked Edwin to become his personal secretary. Elizabeth Hutter soon became a major figure in Washington Society, hosting numerous eminent guests in her home including Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, John Calhoun, Roger Taney, Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Elizabeth even made the acquaintance of a young Abraham Lincoln in 1847, during his single term in Congress.

The couple departed Washington in the midst of the Mexican War for Philadelphia. Despite the fact that Edwin had become Assistant Secretary of State, the death of their two sons (and only children) devastated them so, that Edwin resolved to dedicate himself to religion, entering a seminary in Baltimore and being ordained a Lutheran minister in 1850 and settling in Philadelphia.

Elizabeth immersed herself in charitable work. In 1851, she joined the Board of Managers of the Philadelphia Rosine Association which attempted to rehabilitate street women, and in 1853 she founded the Northern Home for Friendless Children—a facility that could house 100 children at a time, while also facilitating adoptions. Hutter helped manage the home for the next four decades until her death.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Elizabeth became extremely active in various relief efforts. In 1861, she helped organize the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, offering hot meals and accommodations for soldiers travelling through Philadelphia on their way to the front. The Saloon also housed a small hospital where Elizabeth helped tend to the sick and wounded, while her husband offered religious counsel. Elizabeth and her husband also undertook several trips to Washington and northern Virginia to deliver food, clothing and money to Union soldiers in the field.

Following the Battle of Gettysburg, Elizabeth travelled with her husband to the scene where she assisted in the makeshift field hospitals while Edwin ministered to the spiritual needs of the wounded. Between trips to the front to care for soldiers, Hutter raised funds to support the orphanage she founded in 1853, and toward the construction of a new facility: The Philadelphia Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans Institute which opened in 1865. Part of the fundraising effort resulted in a decorative-patriotic gift that was sent to Abraham Lincoln in August 1863, who in turn, offer his thanks on August 10: "If anything could enhance to me the value of this representation of our national ensign, so elegantly executed and so gracefully bestowed, it would be the consideration that its price has been devoted to the comfort and restoration of those heroic men, who have suffered and bled in our flag's defense." (Collected Works, 6:378-80). Later in 1863, she presented Lincoln with a new type of earmuff for use of Union soldiers. On her behalf Lincoln wrote to Quartermaster General, Montgomery C. Meigs, asking him to "Please see Mrs. Hutter, who has given most of her time to the soldiers, during the war, and who wishes to present an invention of hers for the soldier's comfort, which she would like to have introduced into the service . . . I certainly would prefer having it over my ears in cold weather, to their being naked." (October 16, 1863, Collected Works, 6:519).

Hutter and Lincoln met personally on at least two occasions during his administration. On November 4, 1864, he interviewed Hutter who urged the President to establish four asylums in each state for the care of war orphans and destitute persons, modeled on the home she was establishing in Philadelphia. (Ibid, 8:90). On February 14, 1865, the President once again granted Hutter, in company with a committee from Philadelphia, an audience to receive recommendations for caring for orphans of soldiers and sailors. This would be the last time she would see Lincoln alive. When the President's funeral train came through Philadelphia on April 22, 1865, Mrs. Hutter was accorded the sorrowful honor of laying a cross of white flowers on Lincoln's casket as he lay in state in Independence Hall.

Elizabeth continued her charitable work with the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans Institute. In 1866, Pennsylvania Governor John Geary appointed Hutter, "Lady Inspector of the Department of Soldiers' Orphans," making her the first woman in the history of the state to receive a Governor's commission. Elizabeth Hutter continued in that capacity through the 1880s. Following her death in 1895, her legacy lived on. The orphanage she established in 1853 was renamed the Northern Home for Children and in 1923 the institution moved from its original location at 23rd and Brown Streets to the Roxborough section of Philadelphia and still operates today under the name Northern Children's Services, providing assistance to at-risk youth and offering a wide range of services to over 3,000 families in the region each year.

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.


Item: 60440

Price: $17,500.00
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