New Exhibition Opens to The Public at Union League's Heritage Center, Press Release, March 31, 2014

From the Heritage Center at the Union League

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 31, 2014 - Philadelphia 1864: The Year of Decision opened at the Heritage Center of The Union League of Philadelphia on March 25, 2014. The exhibition is the fourth of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation’s five-part exhibit series following the sesquicentennial, focusing on Philadelphia's essential role in the Civil War. It includes rarely seen artifacts from the Union League's collections, as well as from private collectors and area institutions, including more than two dozen rarely-seen treasures from the Philadelphia History Museum.

Covering a variety of themes, the exhibition highlights the essential role that Philadelphia played in the economic, medical and military effort in the bloodiest war in our nation's history. The focal point is a re-creation of the Great Central Fair of 1864, held at Logan Square, which was the largest volunteer effort of its kind in Philadelphia history. Nearly a half million people visited the fair, which sold millions of items of every conceivable type, and raised over $1 million in support of the United States Sanitary Commission, then the primary organization that provided medical care to Union soldiers.

Over two dozen objects from the Philadelphia History Museum are included in the Central Fair portion of the exhibition, including objects that were on display at the Fair, such as a presentation sword awarded to Philadelphia's General George Meade in 1864; a Flora McFlimsey doll with her accessories dating to 1864; and the handcuffs worn by the abolitionist John Brown while imprisoned after his failed raid at the Harper's Ferry arsenal in 1859.

Villanova University has loaned General William T. Sherman's frock coat worn on his famous "March to the Sea." From the League's collection is an 1864 American presidential campaign broadside supporting Abraham Lincoln's re-election. Over fifty artifacts and documents from the period are on view in this exhibition− each telling an important part of the story of Philadelphia in 1864. There are two special upcoming events for this exhibit as well. The Abraham Lincoln Foundation will hold two curatorial talks with the exhibit curator, Jim Mundy. These will be held on Wednesday, April 16 and Wednesday, May 20 – on each of these nights, there will be a talk at 5:15pm and again at 6:15pm.

The Heritage Center is open to the public, free of charge, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the second Saturday of each month from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. The Heritage Center of the Union League is located at 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 – use the street level entrance on Broad Street. For more information on The Heritage Center, the Abraham Lincoln Foundation or their past and present exhibits, please visit

About the Abraham Lincoln Foundation
The Abraham Lincoln Foundation (ALF), is a public charity that is the steward of one of the greatest Civil War collections in the United States. These collections are available for research by scholars, students and others at the home of the ALF, the Heritage Center of The Union League of Philadelphia. Located on the ground floor of the historic Union League building, the Center presents programs throughout the year, the majority of which are free of charge. For more information on the Abraham Lincoln Foundation and the Heritage Center, visit

About the Philadelphia History Museum
Reopened to the public in September 2012 with the completion of a total interior renovation, the Philadelphia History Museum unveiled redesigned galleries to showcase its outstanding collection of historical objects, art, and artifacts. The Museum, founded by City Ordinance in 1938 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia, is housed in an historic 1826 building at 15 South 7th Street, designed by John Haviland as the original home of the Franklin Institute. The Museum provides historical context for issues of contemporary urban life using its premier collection of over 100,000 objects, paintings, and photographs in exhibitions, programs, and interactive media. For more information on the Philadelphia History Museum, visit