Scope and arrangement
The Accounts and Vouchers Archive, 1861-1879, comprise the financial records of the USSC’s New York and Washington offices; records submitted to those offices by local agencies, branches and departments; and rosters of USSC staff.
The bulk of the records are monthly cash accounts, consisting of statements of receipts and expenditures, accompanying vouchers, and staff rosters, which were required to be submitted to accounting staff in Washington or New York. Account books, bank books, miscellaneous accounts for staff members and particular operations, and occasional correspondence are also found. Records of the New York and Washington offices include their own monthly cash accounts, account books and comparative statements of receipts and disbursements for New York, Louisville and Washington operations. New York records also contain correspondence and records of the Commission’s treasurer, George T. Strong, and lists of financial contributions received at New York and Washington, as well as an 1878 financial account of the Commission’s work from 1861 to that date. Washington records consist of accounts and some correspondence for the Central Office, Special Relief Department, and Agency for the Purchase of Fresh Hospital Supplies. Records of local or subordinate USSC entities are arranged alphabetically by record group or name. Descriptions of their activities are found in their related record group within the United States Sanitary Commission records.
The materials in this record group provide important resources for the study of USSC operations at every level of its organization. These include such diverse activities such as the daily commercial transactions required to run its offices and agencies, whether on the home front or in the field; the purchase of various kinds of supplies for relief work; the disbursement of special relief funds to individuals; and the receipt of contributions from individuals, community groups, and fundraising events. The USSC’s use of paid staff for its operations and the movement of individuals from one agency to another can be examined through the staff rosters. Financial records maintained by Washington and New York accounting staff, including those kept by the USSC’s treasurer, provide insight into the scale and scope of USSC operations over time and place, and the USSC’s management of its resources. These records are particularly important for the operational information they provide for USSC offices whose records may be incomplete or lacking in the collection.
The Accounts and Vouchers Archive consists of materials which were selectively removed from individual record groups and placed in this newly-created record group during the USSC’s last post-war arrangement of its records in 1878. Prior to that time, the bulk were arranged with the New York, N.Y. Archives. Some financial materials, mainly cash books, remain in their original locations; numerous vouchers, receipts and like materials were destroyed.
Related materials, including financial correspondence, can be found in many record groups. For materials documenting the financial activities of individual local aid societies, consult the Aid society reports, 1861-1867, located in the New York, N.Y. Archives (MssCol 22263), Series IVc. Historical Bureau records.
The United States Sanitary Commission records. Accounts and Vouchers archive is arranged in four series:
Accounts and vouchers for New York, N.Y. consist of financial records of the Treasurer’s office, the New York offices, combined New York and Treasurer’s accounts, and miscellaneous documents and volumes. New York offices chiefly refer to the New York Office and the Historical Bureau; records concerning the Lincoln Home are also present. Most series contain some accounts created in New York during the final years of the Sanitary Commission’s existence.
Treasurer’s office records, 1861-1879, consist of letters received mainly by Strong concerning financial matters, vouchers, cash books, and treasurer’s reports. Treasurer’s reports were compiled by Strong and his assistants on a regular basis, for examination and approval by the Auditing Committee and others. Also present are receipts and memos regarding gold and silver deposits, donations from the Pacific states and Hawaiian Islands, and insurance policies.
Records of New York offices, 1861-1879, consist of accounts and vouchers for the New York Office and the Historical Bureau, the Lincoln Home, and miscellaneous accounts. The bulk are monthly cash accounts, account books, statements of disbursements, balance sheets and receipt books. Also present are records regarding ships chartered and purchased for the transportation of supplies and other needs, contracts, applications for employment, and a list of persons employed. Lincoln Home records consist of vouchers and monthly cash accounts. Miscellaneous accounts are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the person or merchant in account with the USSC.
New York and Treasurer’s accounts, 1861-1878, consist of account books, statements of accounts, volumes and lists recording contributions, and bank account records. Also present are Auxiliary Finance Committee letters and reports, as well as affidavits, concerning audits. Many of the account books and statements of account combine accounting for the New York Office, the Historical Bureau, and the Treasurer’s office. Account books, consisting of cash books, a journal, and ledgers, include the running account balances for the New York offices and the Treasurer, documenting the finances of the entire USSC. Statements of accounts identify receipts and disbursements for the entire USSC, as well as major offices, over specified periods; these include a final statement of USSC accounts from 1861 to 1878.
Contributions to the Sanitary Commission received in New York and Washington are documented in volumes and lists, as well as receipt books maintained by Strong at his office. Donations are also recorded in other accounting records. Bank accounts were between various New York City banks and Strong, except a Bank of New York account used by George A. Blake, and a Manufacturers & Merchants account used by individuals associated with the New York Office and later the Historical Bureau. Records consist of bank books, check stub books, and cancelled checks.
Miscellaneous documents, 1862-1865, consist of loose accounts and memoranda. Miscellaneous volumes, 1863-1865, include a record book and cash books showing early use in the Washington and City Point vicinities, with later re-use by the New York office for accounting purposes. Various items in the New York and Treasurer’s accounts document purchases at individual offices, or for specific purposes, which may have been compiled by New York accounting staff at the end of the war or later, for reporting or historical purposes.
Accounts and vouchers for Washington, D.C. consist of financial records of the Central Office, the Special Relief Department, and the Agency for the Purchase of Fresh Hospital Supplies.
The financial records of the Central Office reflect their work in maintaining the financial integrity of the Central Office accounts and those of the entire USSC in collaboration with New York financial staff. John Bowne served as accountant and cashier at the Central Office in Washington, D.C. from 1862 to April 1865. He was assisted by various staff members, including F. A. Cave, Howard A. Martin, and Joseph H. Wellman. After the closure of premises at 244 F Street in late 1865, USSC Washington expenses were handled by various cashiers at the USSC’s Army and Navy Claim Agency.
Central Office records, 1861-1867, consist of cash accounts, account books, statements of accounts and statements of consolidated accounts, trial balances, miscellaneous accounts, orders, bank accounts, and miscellaneous documents and volumes.
Cash accounts chiefly consist of vouchers collected by the Central Office from their own office and other USSC Washington-based departments. These vouchers are numbered and correspond to the weekly and monthly cash accounts as well as the Central Office cash books. Account books, documenting all of the financial transactions completed at this office, consist of cash books, journals, ledgers, daybooks, and cash balances. Statements of accounts, statements of consolidated accounts, and trial balances include financial reports for stated periods for the Central Office, USSC, and other departments or offices, as noted.Statements of consolidated accounts include a comparison of Central Office and Western Department accounts, which was submitted by Frederick Law Olmsted at the time of his resignation from the USSC in 1863. Miscellaneous accounts consist of bills, receipts, rosters, accounting and financial statements, including correspondence largely directed to Bowne and Martin, arranged alphabetically by staff member, USSC location or supply type. Orders document various work orders, supply requests and purchases placed by USSC personnel with merchants and craftsmen for USSC Washington, D.C. locations. Bank accounts consist of bank books, check stub books, and cancelled checks.
Special Relief Department financial records, 1861-1865, are present for the Department’s office, the Home, Lodge Number 4, the Alexandria Lodge, and the Lodge in Memphis, Tennessee. Materials from this department were sometimes included in the Central Office’s monthly cash accounts.
Records concerning the Agency for the Purchase of Fresh Hospital Supplies, 1863-1864, reflect its efforts to acquire market supplies at lower cost in Philadelphia, and to ship them to Washington or Gettysburg for distribution. The bulk of the records were maintained by the cashiers of the Central Office as they relate to this agency; however, some materials, such as bills and invoices, are the combined records of the Washington and Philadelphia offices of the agency. Also present are freight bills and receipts for two express shipping companies. Philadelphia office account books are found in the Agency for the Purchase of Fresh Hospital Supplies series in the USSC Washington, D.C. Archives record group.
Materials consist mainly of monthly accounts submitted to Washington or New York accounting staff during or after the war, by USSC branches, departments, regional offices, and claim agencies. Also present are financial records, including invoices, receipts and bank books, which were culled from individual record groups during the 1868 and 1878 arrangement. Some documents were previously numbered and endorsed by the Archive Department. Records are arranged alphabetically by name or place name of the USSC office.
Records consist of two types of staff rosters maintained by the USSC: those created by individual departments and offices for inclusion in their monthly reports in account with the USSC; and those created sporadically by the Central Office in Washington or the New York Office, listing the staff of all or most of what the USSC called "working departments" across the country, and sometimes agencies abroad. Many rosters found here appear to have been removed from accounting and other records. Rosters typically include the name, position, and salary of staff members listed; condensed rosters give only the total number of employees and gross salaries. Additional rosters may be found in monthly accounting records within Accounts and Vouchers and in other record groups.