The John A. McAllister Collection: Mixed Media

The McAllister Collection contains sixteen discrete subject-based groups of ephemera, some of which are housed in folio albums created by the Library Company in the 1890s. The material in the collections relates to the American Civil War, and mid-nineteenth century politics, social and cultural events, and organizations in Philadelphia and the region. Items within each of the groups include tickets, photographs, handbills, advertisements, playing cards, wood engravings and other illustrations, newspaper clippings, printed ribbons and textiles, invitations, trade cards, and relics, which were primarily collected by John A. McAllister, and supplemented over the years by gifts made to the Library Company by various donors.

All of the collections have descriptive records in Koha, the Library Company’s online catalog. Six of the collections have finding aids which further describe their contents; they can be viewed by using the links below. Additionally all McAllister Collection finding aids are available and searchable in the Library Company’s Islandora digital asset repository.

Additional and similar types of material can be found in the Library Company’s Print Department and general collections, and can be accessed through records in Koha.

Civil War-related material can be found in these groups:

McA 5774.5.F – Civil War Generals Clipping Files, undated Documentation on ten army generals created through secondary source material cut from late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century publications.

McA 5778.F – Civil War Volunteer Saloons and Hospitals Ephemera Collection, 1861-1868 Ephemera and some letters that illustrate and describe the workings of Philadelphia’s Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, and both of their hospitals.

McA 5779.F – Civil War Illustrations, 1859-1865 Illustrations, primarily wood and line engravings, which were cut from serials published in Philadelphia and New York, such as Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

McA 5781.F – Sanitary Fairs Collection, 1749-1867 (bulk 1864) Ephemera and manuscripts documenting the efforts made by citizens to raise awareness and funds for the United States Sanitary Commission. Most of the material is from Philadelphia’s Great Central Fair.

McA 5784.F – Civil War Poems and Songs, 1856-1862 Approximately 750 examples of poems and song lyrics written by well-known poets and the general public, which were clipped from serials in Philadelphia, New York, and other cities.

McA 5786.F – Civil War Miscellanies Ephemera Collection, 1858-1884 (bulk 1861-1865) Tickets, invitations, handbills, advertising, product labels, government forms, etc., related to merchandise, charitable and patriotic organizations, and home front activities, primarily in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

McA 5790.F – Civil War Playing Cards Collection, 1861-1865 Decks of playing cards with related ephemera such as display cards, box labels and advertisements.

McA 5792.F – Civil War Leaders Ephemera Collection, 1860-1865 Ephemera and visual materials related to six prominent American politicians and military heroes.

McA 5795.F – Confederate States of America Ephemera Collection, 1861-1865 Financial instruments, blank forms, and ephemera that emanated from the South during the Civil War.

Political ephemera can be found in these groups:

McA 5755.F – American Political Ephemera, 1835-1884 Handbills, circular letters, poll tabulations, and miscellaneous electioneering material, including satirical and cartoon campaign cards, for political campaigns in Pennsylvania, predominantly in Philadelphia.

McA 10089.F – Salt River Ephemera Collection, 1852-1872 Printed tickets, palm cards, handbills, and broadsheets, with caricatures of politicians in national, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia elections.

McA 10090.F – Ribbons & Textiles Collection, 1832-1880 Printed and woven commemorative and mourning ribbons created for a variety of political campaigns, events, people and societies; with a group of fragments from patriotic textiles printed during the Civil War

Social and cultural material can be found in these groups:

McA 1322.F – Philadelphiana, 1826-1873 Miscellaneous ephemera, primarily admission tickets and programs, which document social, civic, and cultural events.

McA 5756.F – Biography and Genealogy Collection, 1857-1882 Small collection of family charts, heraldic charts, and other printed materials.

McA 5758.F – Centennial and World’s Columbian Expositions, 1876, 1893 Illustrations of the Philadelphia and Chicago fairs which were cut from contemporary publications.

McA 5768.F – Lottery & Gift Concert Collection, 1753-1879 More than 3,000 lottery tickets, with several hundred advertising pieces including lottery scheme circulars, handbills and broadsides, for lotteries held in America, Cuba, Ireland, England, and Europe.

In addition, there are two scrapbooks in this section of the collection:

McA 5308.F – Scrapbook , 1785-1851 A shoemaker’s account book dating from 1785-1788 which was covered with clippings taken from Philadelphia newspapers dated from circa 1833 through 1851.

McA 5859.F – History of Philadelphia by Thompson Westcott, undated A partial set of newspaper columns clipped from the Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch from 1867-1884.