The Special Collections Department and the Iowa Women’s Archives hold primary souce materials that document  the Civil War, 1861 – 1865 and President Abraham Lincoln, with particular focus on letters and diaries of Iowans who served in a variety of capacities (including soldiers, nurses, and supply administrators). General holdings include not only monographs, but also period periodicals such as Harper’s and the London Illustrated News, and of course later journal literature. Hundreds of microforms are available in Main Media Services, and Government Publications provides a wealth of contemporary documentation.

The majority of the published items are cataloged in InfoHawk. For a thorough listing of these materials, you can use the following search directions for InfoHawk:
Use “Advanced Search” function and:
In the “Location” drop down box, select “Special Collections,” “Government Publications,” or “Main Media Services”;
In the “Format” drop down box, limit by format to “Book” or “Archival Material” or “Microform”;
Use appropriate keywords.
If you have questions about our holdings, please feel free to contact us.


Note: At this time, once you enter the digitized diary for a particular individual, you will not be able to return this page by using the back arrow. If you want to return to this page, make note of the URL.

Manuscript Collections

Papers of Lot Abraham. (4th Iowa Cavalry). MsC73.Digitized diaries

Civil War Letters of Charles Thomas Ackley (7th Iowa Infantry, Company B). MsC541

Jacob Harrison Allspaugh Diaries (31st Ohio Infantry Regiment). MsC8. Digitized diary

Papers of the Bean Family. MsC452

Miles Beaty Letters. (149th Pennsylvania Infantry). MsC3

Papers of Anson R. Butler (26th Iowa). MsC1.

Papers of Charles Cady (15th Iowa Volunteer Infantry). MsC17

California Civil War Diary, 1862 (Company C, 4th Infantry, California Volunteers). MsC79

Civil War Documents. Multiple short documents. MsC906

Margaret Strang Corothers Papers. Iowa Women’s Archives

Civil War 1

Papers of Joseph F. Culver (129th Illinois Infantry). MsC373

Papers of Marcellus Warner Darling (154th New York). MsC236

Papers of Andrew Foster Davis (15th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers). MsC454

Diary of W. B. Emmons (34th Illinois Infantry). MsC10. Digitized diary

Papers of the Giauque Family (30th Iowa Infantry, Company D). MsC110

Diary of William F. Goodhue. (3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Company C) MsC13. Digitized diary

Papers of George F. Hall.(2nd Iowa Infantry, Company C) MsC111. Digitized diary

Diary of Samuel Hall, 1863. MsC89. Digitized diary

Papers of Catherine Snedeker Hill, 1854-1871. Iowa Women’s Archives

Ann Larimer Letters. Iowa Women’s Archives

Letters of Frank Malcom (7th Iowa Infantry). MsC26

Papers of the Mann Family (4th Iowa Cavalry, Company A). MsC161

Papers of Byron McClain (2nd Iowa Cavalry). MsC4

Papers of the Mead Family. (24th Iowa Infantry Volunteers, Company E; U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry, Regiment 62, Companies B, E, H, K) (MsC372

Letters of Martin Mericle (114th Ohio Infantry). MsC106

Ellen Mowrer Miller Papers (Albert Miller, 67th Pennsylvania) Iowa Women’s Archives

Papers of James Miller (Naval Operations) MsC425

Florinda Wakefield More Papers. Iowa Women’s Archives

Diaries of the Paisley Family (10th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry). MsC450

Papers of David James Palmer (8th Iowa Infantry, Company C; 25th Iowa Infantry, Company A). MsC438

Palmer/Calkins/Corbin Papers. MsC528

Mary Jane Parsons Papers. Iowa Women’s Archives

Diaries of John W. Pratt (27th Iowa Infantry, Company A). MsC11. Digitized diary

Records of the 1st Iowa Cavalry. MsC14

Papers of W. T. Rigby (24th Iowa, Company B). MsC82 (See also Articles)

Papers of Henry Clay Russell.(2nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company H) MsC546

Second Iowa Cavalry Association. MsC544

Civil War Diaries of George M. Shearer, 1863 – 1865 (Company E, 17th Iowa Infantry). MsC80 Digitized diary

Papers of the Shelton Family (45th Regiment, Iowa Infantry). MsC7

Papers of the Sterns family. (29th and 37th Wisconsin Infantry). MsC405 (See also Articles)

Diary of Silas B. Silver. MsC12. Digitized diary

Papers of George W. Strong. (Captain, 59th U. S. Colored Infantry). MsC57

Records of James A. Throop. MsC76

Letters of Myron Underwood (12th Iowa Infantry). MsC27

Diary of Sewell Van Alstine (95th Illinois). MsC28. Digitized diary

Papers of James B. Weaver (2nd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry). MsC48

White Family Papers. (Company F, First Iowa Infantry Volunteers; Company B, 25th Iowa Volunteers; Company K, 4th Iowa Cavalry). MsC889

Civil War Diaries of Wendell D. Wiltsie, 1863 – 1865 (Company E, 23rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry). MsC78. Digitized diary

Papers of Edward F. Winslow. (Co. F, 4th Iowa Cavalry). MsC424

Papers of Ferdinand Sophus Winslow. (Quartermaster, Army of the Southwest and Army of the Cumberland; 4th and 9th Iowa; Battle of Pea Ridge; Mobile Bay, Stark’s Landing, Spanish Fort , and Fort Blakely.) MsC846.

Papers of the Wise-Clark Family (Iowa Infantry, 12th Infantry (Colored), 101st Infantry (Colored), and the 125th Infantry (Colored)). MsC419

Bound Manuscripts

Brown, John C. Diary, 1864. 9th Iowa Infantry, Company C. Brown is from Independence, Iowa and participated in Sherman’s march to the sea, starting in Chattanooga. 350 p., 5 photographs, 2 uniform buttons. (See image below.) xMs B8785di. Digitized diary

Crater, Lewis, 1843 – . Diary of Seens and Incidents of the Rebellion, 1864 – 1865. Officer in the 50th Pennsylvania Volunteers. 242p., 20 cm. xMs C73

Owen, Myron. Diary, 1864. Served with the 1st New York Cavalry. 13 cm. xMs O88

WilliaCivil War 2mson, Isaac N. Diary, 1863. Served with the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. 14cm. xMs W56. Digitized diary


Manuscript Letters

Barton, Clara, Letters to Cousin Len. Washington, DC. 1864. 3 items (7 p.). Discussing her plans; giving advice; and thanking him for gifts. MsL B2933 le

Boardman, Oliver, Correspondence and journals, 1861-1863. 47 items (192 p.). Letters to his father, sister and brother in Albia, Monroe County, Iowa and journal excerpts concerning camp life and activities; containing references to General Sherman, the battle of Shiloh and the siege of Vicksburg. MsL B6621

Civil War Letters, To Mary, 1863. 12 items. Correspondence from an unknown soldier of the Illinois Infantry, 34th Regiment, Company A. MsL C582ma

Cree, A. B. (Alfred B.). Letters to Hattie Smith Cree. Iowa City, IA. 1863-1865. 13 items. Contains references to Col. William Stone, Deserters, Copperheads, and temperance. MsL C9123 co

Davis, Edward E., Letters, 1862-1905. 29 items. These letters from Edward E. Davis were written while he was a soldier in the Civil War. Addressed to his mother and sister, his letters told of camp life, his promotions, the 1864 election, African-American soldiers, and Copperheads. He also wrote of some of the battles and skirmishes in which he was involved. MsL D2615c

Glines, C. H. Letter to Albert Glines. Helena, AR. 1863 July 8. Relating his part in the battle fought at Helena, Arkansas. MsL G5611 gl

Kohout, Joseph. Letters, 1863-1865. 60 items. Letters written during the Civil War which include references to the siege of Vicksburg and the Atlanta campaign. MsL K795

Moyle, Robert J., Letters to [Mr. and Mrs. Moyle].Hillsboro, IA. 1862-1864. 43 items. Moyle, a resident of Hillsboro, Iowa, (Salem Township, Henry Co.), was a member of the 25th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers and participated in the siege of Vicksburg and encounters at Dallas, Georgia. His letters, addressed to his parents, include descriptions of battles, camps, and the health of the troops. MsL M938 c

Nicolay, John George, Letter to F.H. Barrett. Washington, DC. 1891 Feb. 27. Concerning the different feelings of Republicans toward President Lincoln during the Civil War. MsL N641 b

Pugh, Aaron, Letters, 1863-1864. 8 items (16 p.). Letters written from near Waverly, Tennessee describing enemy attacks, camp life and activities, and his impressions of the state; includes a letter from Eli Keeler telling of Pugh’s capture; and two printed documents concerning Pugh as Enrolling Officer for Marcy Township, Boone County, Iowa. MsL P9782

Russell, William A. Letters, 1855-1863. 15 items Chiefly, letters from Russell to his daughter, Juliet, offering parental advice and commenting on his Company’s activities. Provides detailed observations of the siege of Vicksburg, including a map of entrenchments. MsL R9611

Schenck, James F. Letter to Brother and sister. [s.l]. 1864 Oct. 6. Discussing his crops; asking for some money and new boots; concerning the money needed to pay for a substitute to go to war. MsL S3242 br

Thrall, Seneca Brown, d. 1888. Letters of Dr. Seneca B. Thrall, September 19, 1862-May 5, 1864 and miscellaneous correspondence of Civil War Era. [Ottumwa, Ia. , 193- ]. x-Collection FOLIO E601 .T47

Ward, George D. Ward family papers 1862-1863. 9 items (26 p.) The papers of the Ward family consist primarily of letters written by George D. Ward to his sister Eliza Ward Phillips and his brother John Ward. There are also letters written to George from his father, Benjamin R. Ward, his uncle William, and Willie Plumb. George Ward’s letters describe long marches and skirmishes around Vicksburg at the time of the siege. MsL W258e

Winthrop, Theodore, Letter to Billy. Fortress Monroe, Virginia, 1861 Jun. 7. Concerning an opportunity to become a captain in the 10th [N.Y.] Infantry Regiment; giving detailed instructions for bringing recruits to Col. McChesney’s regiment; warning of possible danger in Baltimore; requesting that he bring Winthrop some clothing, a sword, and a sash; offering advice regarding the purchase of the proper uniform. MsL W793 1861

Wright, John W. Letters. 1863-1866. 11 letters and documents. Wright was a Lieutenant in Company B of the 10th Regiment of the Iowa Infantry during the Civil War. This is a collection of letters and documents by which Wright pursues the collection of back pay for the time he was a prisoner of war. MsL W951ac


McCown, Robert. “Thomas Rescum Sterns at the Battle for Vicksburg.” Books at Iowa 39 (November 1983).

Winschel, Terrence J. “William T. Rigby and the Red Oak Boys in Louisiana.” Books at Iowa 63 (November 1995).


The Special Collections Department houses the James Wills Bollinger Collection of Lincolniana. Bequeathed by Judge Bollinger in 1951, this collection surpasses 5,000 books and pamphlets about Abraham Lincoln. The books of the Bollinger Collection are cataloged and listed in InfoHawk. Judge Bollinger’s correspondence recounts his efforts in collecting Lincolniana but his collection of papers also includes many ephemeral items about Lincoln, including chormolithographs and other period illustrations. (MsC 36).


McCown, Robert. “James W. Bollinger as a Collector of Lincolniana.” Books at Iowa 36 (April 1982).

Manuscript Collections

Papers of Arthur Francis Allen, 1913-1949. MsC 357

Papers of James Wills Bollinger, 1926 – 1951. MsC36.

Papers of Otto Eisenschiml. MsC256

Manuscript Letters

Aiken, Frederick A. Letter to George B. McClellan. Washington, DC. 1864 June 12. Concerning his reasons why the Democratic Convention should not be postponed. MsL A2915

Andrews, George Lippet, 1828-1920. Title Letter to my dearest wife [Alice Beverley Potter Andrews]. Maryland Heights, MD. [18–] Asking her to write; commenting on the war; mentioning a visit by President Lincoln. MsL A5662 a

Barnes, Stephen Goodyear, 1853-1931. Letter to [?]. Grinell, IA. 1880 July 9. Expressing eulogistic sentiments regarding Abraham Lincoln. MsL B2614 i

Barton, John B. Letter to Hon. Thaddeus Stevens. Bardstown, KY. 1866 Sept. 28. Concerning the possible complicity of Mr. Davis in the assassination of President Lincoln. MsL B293 st

Carpenter, Cyrus Clay, 1829-1898. Letter to Osborn H. Oldroyd. [Washington, DC.] 1882 May 26. Concerning his sentiments on Abraham Lincoln. MsL C2951 ol

Denver, James William, 1817-1892. Letter to Mrs L. C. Denver. Washington, DC. 1865 June 18. Concerning the legality of Stanton’s trial of those accused in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln; discussing the newly formed tribunal; and comparing the present commission to infamous counterparts; with comments on his visits with August Kautz. MsL D416d

—-. Letter to Mrs L. C. Denver. Washington, DC. 1865 July 2. Concerning the legality of Stanton’s trial of the accused in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln; saying that Stanton rigged the commission; commenting on the difference between military and martial law; and expressing concern over the confusion of August Kautz. MsL D416 d2

—-. Letter to Mrs L. C. Denver. Washington, DC. 1865 July 9. Concerning the legality of Stanton’s trial of the accused in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln; and voicing the feelings of Lincoln’s friends over the hanging of the accused conspirators. MsL D416 d3

Harlan, James, 1820-1899. Letters, 1856-1892. Served as a Whig Senator from Iowa and as United States Secretary of the Interior. Also served as president of Iowa Wesleyan University. The letter to President Lincoln (photocopy) is endorsed and also signed by the entire Iowa delegation. MsL H283 AC

Herndon, William Henry, 1818-1891. Autograph letters regarding nomination of Lincoln, 1854 – 1859. Written to Theodore Parker and used as the basis for Newton, Joseph Fort. Lincoln and Herndon, Cedar Rapids, Ia., The Torch Press, 1910. Bollinger Lincoln Collection E457.3 .N56; MAIN MEDIA SERVICES Film 4008.

—-. Letter to Mr. Meyer. Springfield, IL. 1867 Mar. 4. Concerning his having given away all of Lincoln’s autographs.
MsL H558 my

Keyes, Leander. Letter to R. B. G[riffin]. Gould and Curry Mill, [Nevada]. 1865 Apr. 16. Concerning reactions of people in Nevada to the news of the assassination of Lincoln. MsL K44 gr

Kirkwood, Samuel Jordan, 1813-1894. Letters, 1859-1890. Governor of Iowa (1876-1877) resigned to become U.S. Senator (1877-1881); appointed Secretary of the Interior in cabinet of President James Garfield (1881). Concerning his political activities. Abraham Lincoln, recipient. MsL K59 AC

Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865. Letter to Henry O’Connor. Springfield, IL. 1856 Sept. 14. Concerning an invitation to attend a mass meeting in Iowa on September 23. Pres/Letters

—-. Letter to William Sampson. [s.l.] 1832 Apr. 21. Concerning money received. Pres/Letters

—-. Letter to Secretary of War [Stanton]. Washington, DC. 1864 Jan. 4. Concerning the appointment of Col. Eliott W. Rice of Iowa as Brigadier general. Pres/Letters

—-. Letter to Secretary of War [Stanton]. Washington, DC. 1863 July 23. Concerning the request of Mr. Grinnell of Iowa for appointment of a Brigadier general from his district [i.e. Eliott Rice]. Pres/Letters

Nicolay, John G. (John George), 1832-1901. Letter to F.H. Barrett. Washington, DC. 1891 Feb. 27. Concerning the different feelings of Republicans toward President Lincoln during the Civil War. MsL N641 b

Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891. Letter to [?] Tourtelotte. New York, NY. 1887 Feb. 4. Concerning attempts to bring dishonor on Grant’s name; concerning the lack of appropriations money; concerning personal matters. MsL S553 to

Stone, William M., 1827-1893. Letter to President [Abraham] Lincoln. [Des Moines, IA] 1865 Feb. 25. Concerning the qualifications of Henry O’Connor for the position of judge in one of the territories. MsL S879 li

Webster, Daniel D. Letter to Abraham Lincoln. Moneek, IA. 1861 Jan. 23. Concerning Republican opposition to compromise on the slave question. MsL W3785 li

Wright, James. Letter to Edwin McMasters Stanton, [s.l.], 19 Apr. 1864. Endorsement on verso by James Harlan and A. Lincoln, dated 6 July 1864. Concerning the promotion of Lt. J. W. Wright. Pres/Letters


Confederate States of America. [Confederate notes. Currency issued by the Confederate States of America. [Realia] Published Richmond, Virginia, 1861-1864]. Description 175 pieces in 3 vols. 22 x 11 cm. Denominations of .50, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 dollars. x-Collection HG526 .C6

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, Documents of, 1861-1865. .5 linear ft. A collection of bills, acts, reports and other documents printed by the Confederate States of America government. MsC540. (Finding Aid)

Adams, Henry Clay, 1843-1893. Civil War memoirs, 1861-1865 [microform]. 1861-1865. MAIN MEDIA SERVICES Film 29831

Originally compiled by Amy Cooper Cary, Special Collections Librarian, 1/2004