usnatarchives:

A volunteer was prepping an unopened file for digital scanning and found this mole’s skin pressed in the papers of a Civil War widow’s pension file!
How did a preserved mole skin end up in our archives?

The soldier, James J. Van Liew, didn’t care to share his tent with this uninvited guest and captured it. As (a joke? a love token?), Van Liew sent the skin to his wife, Charity. She kept it for years but lost his original letter.
In July 1900, Charity applied to the government for a widow’s pension. In these applications, the widow had to establish her relationship with the soldier, and in an era before consistent recording of marriages, the women often had to be creative. Charity had no marriage certificate, but she did have this mole skin. She sent the Pension Bureau four testimonials from friends who had seen Van Liew’s letter—addressed to “Dear Wife”—and the surprising enclosure.

Just goes to show you never know what you will find in an archives. Happy American Archives Month!


This is so wonderful on so many levels!

usnatarchives:

A volunteer was prepping an unopened file for digital scanning and found this mole’s skin pressed in the papers of a Civil War widow’s pension file!

How did a preserved mole skin end up in our archives?

The soldier, James J. Van Liew, didn’t care to share his tent with this uninvited guest and captured it. As (a joke? a love token?), Van Liew sent the skin to his wife, Charity. She kept it for years but lost his original letter.

In July 1900, Charity applied to the government for a widow’s pension. In these applications, the widow had to establish her relationship with the soldier, and in an era before consistent recording of marriages, the women often had to be creative. Charity had no marriage certificate, but she did have this mole skin. She sent the Pension Bureau four testimonials from friends who had seen Van Liew’s letter—addressed to “Dear Wife”—and the surprising enclosure.

Just goes to show you never know what you will find in an archives. Happy American Archives Month!

This is so wonderful on so many levels!

463 notes

Comments

#archives

#moles

#history

  1. quoteallthethings reblogged this from todaysdocument
  2. frogandtoad27 reblogged this from trashymommarocks
  3. trashymommarocks reblogged this from unnaturalist
  4. izzycarlson reblogged this from unnaturalist
  5. thisisanamazingworld reblogged this from shegrimm
  6. shegrimm reblogged this from unnaturalist
  7. anenglishgentleman reblogged this from scrawls
  8. scrawls reblogged this from todaysdocument and added:
    …dude.
  9. pookascrayon reblogged this from drtuesdaygjohnson
  10. grejor reblogged this from usnatarchives
  11. thelittleshipsthatcouldscare reblogged this from bibliophileforrent
  12. mousears reblogged this from inside-the-mind-of-a-nerddess
  13. gabrielap-b reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag
  14. gisellley reblogged this from unnaturalist
  15. fidelian reblogged this from andillwriteyouaghoststory
  16. mostoriginalscreenname reblogged this from todaysdocument
  17. aladyandhertardis reblogged this from the-strangest-sea
  18. the-strangest-sea reblogged this from typeheart
  19. lilsoufflegurl reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag
  20. sirtwigbelly reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag
  21. soidreamtiwasastarfleetcommander reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag
  22. typeheart reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag
  23. andillwriteyouaghoststory reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag
  24. pasacali reblogged this from petrichoriousparalian
  25. izzibansushi reblogged this from do-you-have-a-flag