Picture of Charles Stille, author of History of the United States Sanitary Commission.

History of the United States Sanitary Commission

History of the United States Sanitary Commission / by Charles J Stillé – New York : Hurd and Houghton, 1868.

For digitized copy (Wellcome Collection) follow this link:


Founded in 1861 to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army (Union Army) during the American Civil War (1861-1865), the United States Sanitary Commission was a private relief agency created by Federal legislation. It was disbanded in 1866. It was modelled on the British Sanitary Commission, set up in response to the Crimean War (1853-1856), and the British parliamentary report on the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

The “history” is the official report of the operations of the Commission during the war, setting out the challenges faced in supporting the health and welfare of what was essentially a volunteer army, although its services spread to regular soldiers and sailors. Funds raised by the Commission helped fund the war effort. Author Charles J Stillé was the tenth Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, who produced a propaganda pamphlet entitled “How free people conduct a war”.

The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts holds the Sanitary Commission Records.

archives.nypl.org — United States Sanitary Commission records

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