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  • July 1863 Letter to Reverend Edwin Hutter with Gettysburg Content

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    July 1863 Letter to Reverend Edwin Hutter with Gettysburg Content - Inventory Number: GET 432

    This letter was written to Rev. Hutter about the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg. Edwin Hutter was the editor/publisher of several newspapers, as well as postmaster of Allentown, PA. He was awarded a succession of political appointments in Harrisburg, the state capital. He also acquired additional newspapers, and became close friends with James Buchanan; when James Buchanan was appointed Secretary of State in 1845 during the Polk administration, Edwin Hutter was invited to serve as Buchanan's personal secretary. The Hutters counted among their guests and friends such eminent persons as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, John Calhoun, Chief Justice Roger Taney, General Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and more. They also made the acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln.

    Edwin became Assistant Secretary of State during the War with Mexico. He decided to leave politics to become a pastor in Philadelphia. Both Hutters dedicated themselves to benevolent works. When the Civil War broke out in April, 1861, the Hutters spent many hours at the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, located not far from the train depot at Broad and Prime (now Washington) Streets in the Southwark section of the city. In July 1861, responding to an urgent telegram from their friend, the former congressman, now President Lincoln, the Hutters were issued a special Presidential pass and were thus the first civilians to go the front to help the wounded after the First Battle of Bull Run.

    During the Civil War Elizabeth E. Hutter was a volunteer nurse, Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon worker, fundraiser for the United States Sanitary Commission and other causes, advocate for children orphaned by the War, and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. On July 4, 1863, traveling again under a special Presidential pass, Elizabeth Hutter arrived by special car at Gettysburg, where she and other volunteers stayed there for many days to help care for the wounded, both Union and Confederate.

    As the War continued, Elizabeth proposed the creation of institutions to provide shelter and education specifically for these children who had been left bereft by the War. She spearheaded the fundraising campaign to build the Philadelphia Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans Institute, which officially opened in March 1865. In 1866 Pennsylvania Governor John W. Geary appointed Elizabeth Hutter to be "Lady Inspector of the Department of Soldiers' Orphans." She was the first woman in the history of the Commonwealth to be granted a Governor's commission, and she served in this role up until the early 1880s.

    In 1871 Edwin Hutter's health began to fail, and he passed away on September 21, 1873. In addition to serving as state inspector of schools for war orphans and as President of the Board of Managers for the Northern Home for Friendless Children, Elizabeth Hutter was active in raising contributions of supplies and funds to aid refugees in times of crisis, such as after the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871 and the Johnstown Flood of May 1889.

    She died in 1895 and is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery, where she was laid next to her husband.

    Comes housed in 12 x 16 riker display case with red velvet and descriptive card.

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    Inventory Number: GET 432