Nebraska National Guard Folk Art Envelope & Cyanotype

Nebraska National Guard Folk Art Envelope & Cyanotype

This scrapbook leaf page features an unusual combination of an original folk art, hand-drawn and colored drawing done on the front of a trimmed envelope and complimentary cyanotype photograph. Perhaps date related to each other because of the rows of soldier tents featured in each, (photograph may be later to ca. 1895) the envelope itself is addressed to John Love Patterson, (1868-1948? died: Nebraska City) identified as the bugler for Company C of the Nebraska National Guard when it was postmarked in September, 1889. (stamp missing)

Pasted onto a support which features on its’ verso individual newspaper and other magazine clippings ca. 1895, (mention of the death of author Eugene Field along with his poem Little Boy Blue) one clipping gives further information about the history of Company C and description of a ceremony for its retiring commanding officer, a clue perhaps to the pages provenance. An excerpt:

William S. Mapes had been, up until the time of his election as major of the Second regiment, captain of company C. Nebraska National Guards for the past ten years, during which time his efficient service as an officer and commander had gained for him the esteem of the entire company.

The cyanotype shows a grouping of national guard soldiers eating slices of watermelon while  seated and standing between two rows of canvas tents.

The envelope remnant is cleverly addressed to:

“Here’s One For-
John Love Patterson
Bugler Co. C- N.N.G.”
Camp Grant” BEATRICE

It shows a small figure at center trotting with his bugle towards the Company C Post Office tent with another soldier standing behind a stand while holding out a letter for the addressee. Other items of interest drawn include an American flag on a flagpole at center and row of soldier tents at right with the one at front lettered: Big 5 Combination NEB CITY.

From the 1899 volume History of the Operations of the First Nebraska Infantry, U.S.V. in the campaign in the Philippine Islands, we learn:

“Company C hails from Beatrice, in Gage County. It is one of the oldest companies, and was organized in 1879 by General L(eonard) W. Colby, who was its first Captain. His successors were Captains Philips, Enslow, Ghirk, Reed, and Brainard, in the order named. (p. 2)

The Nebraska State Historical Society states the “Nebraska National Guard became the active component of the state militia in 1881, when the legislature established a military code for Nebraska. The federal Dick Act of 1903 laid the foundation for the National Guard’s dual state/federal role, which sets it apart from other military reserve forces.”

provenance: Acquired by this archive from seller based in El Cerrito, CA in May, 2016.

Nebraska National Guard Folk Art Envelope & Cyanotype

Image Dimensionscyanotype: 11.5 x 16.4 cm | envelope: 10.9 x 17.0 cm

Support Dimensions26.5 x 19.3 cm