Guide to the Microfilm Edition

Collection Summary


This collection consists of correspondence and other records of the New England Women's Auxiliary Association, formed during the Civil War to provide services to soldiers.

Historical Sketch

The New England Women's Auxiliary Association (NEWAA) was a branch of the United States Sanitary Commission which was formed during the Civil War to provide services to soldiers which the U.S. government did not provide. These included raising the hygienic standards of the camps and diet, caring for the wounded, coordinating the program to send food and supplies to the soldiers, and compiling a directory of the sick and wounded in army hospitals.

Collection Description

The papers of the New England Women's Auxiliary Association (NEWAA) consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings concerning the association and the Sanitary Commission, circular letters of the association, broadsides, an account book, a list of pamphlets issued from Boston, Executive Committee records, lists of associate (branch) managers of the NEWAA around New England, and a photograph album.

Correspondents include Abby W. May, chairwoman of the association; Isa E. Gray; Edward Atkinson; Mary G. Davenport, associate manager of the Brattleboro, Vermont branch; Joseph Shippen; Frederick N. Knapp; Annie T. Endicott; Frederick Law Olmsted; and James F. Clarke. The correspondence primarily concerns the charitable work of the association and its connections with the Sanitary Commission, with some detail as to goods and services rendered to Civil War soldiers around New England.

Letters of Edward Atkinson, James F. Clarke, and Frederick Law Olmsted have been individually described in the MHS manuscript catalog.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the estates of Frances B. Stevenson, January 1923, and Isa Gray, December 1923.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1861-1887

The correspondence is primarily that of Abby W. May, chairwoman of the Executive Committee of the NEWAA. Included are letters concerning the election of associate managers and Executive Committee members; reports from various associate managers, especially Mary G. Davenport of Brattleboro, Vt.; letters from Alfred Bloom, Frederick N. Knapp, Frederick L. Olmsted, and Joseph Shippen, all members of or employed by the Sanitary Commission; and some lists of relief goods gathered by the NEWAA. Other correspondents include Annie T. Endicott, James F. Clarke, Edward Atkinson, Louisa L. Schuyler, and Isa E. Gray.

Reel 1

II. Bound volumes, 1862-1879

Reel 1
Accounts, Dec. 1862-June 1863
Reel 1
List of pamphlets issued from Summer St., Boston, Nov. 1862-Mar. 1879
Reel 2
Lists of associate managers, 1862-[1863]3 volumes.
Reel 2
Executive Committee reports, 1862-1866Newspaper clippings pasted into 3 bound volumes.
Reel 2
Executive Committee records, July 1865-Jan. 1868

III. Printed materials, 1862-1866

Reel 2
Blank forms, undated
Reel 2
Annual reports, 1862-1866

The original annual reports have been removed to the MHS printed collection and cataloged separately.

Reel 2
Circular letters, broadsides, etc. (general, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine), undated
Reel 2
Newspaper clippings (general, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York, other states), 1862-1865

IV. Photograph album, ca. 1862-1866

This album contains 39 carte-de-visite photographs of individuals, mostly women officers, of the New England Women's Auxiliary Association and three Sanitary Commission buildings in Newbern, N.C. and elsewhere. Among the individuals represented are A. L. Holmes, Annie T. Endicott, L. N. Goodwin, Abby S. Stephenson, Anne D. Sever, and Louisa L. Schuyler. Photographers include Edward L. Allen, James W. Black, and John Adams Whipple, all of Boston. The album contains caption information for most of the photographs and was apparently owned by Abby W. May.

The original photograph album has been removed to the MHS Photo Archives and cataloged separately (Photo. Coll. 26).

Reel 2

Preferred Citation

New England Women's Auxiliary Association records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Atkinson, Edward, 1827-1905.
Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888.
Davenport, Mary G.
Endicott, Annie Thorndike.
Gray, Isa E.
Knapp, Frederick Newman, 1821-1889.
May, Abby W. (Abby Williams), 1829-1888.
Olmsted, Frederick Law, 1822-1903.
Shippen, Joseph, 1839-


Account books--1862-1863.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Civilian relief.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--War work.
Women--Societies and clubs.
Women in charitable work.

Materials Removed from the Collection

The New England Women's Auxiliary Association photograph album has been removed to the MHS Photo Archives (Photo. Coll. 26). The original annual reports have been removed and cataloged separately.