About This Image

Philadelphia was host to tens of thousands of soldiers from throughout the northeast who came to Philadelphia for transportation south, by sea and by rail. Much as they had aided with recruitment, Philadelphians volunteered money, material, and time to establish the refreshment saloons where soldiers could relax and enjoy a hot meal. Our strong tradition of volunteer benevolent associations set the pattern, with male elites raising money and manning the boards of directors, and their wives doing the hands on labor. Soldiers praised the food and the hospitality and the efficiency of the female staff. The Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon often served up to 15,000 meals a day. The sick and the wounded also arrived here. Philadelphia was the nation’s major medical center and had over twenty hospitals in operation during the war years, from the eleven bed facility at the Cooper Shop Hospital to the 4,000-bed Mower Hospital in Chestnut Hill. About 157,000 men received medical care in Philadelphia’s hospitals.

There may be some question of authorship. Phillips did publish this photo with his name as the photographer, but Newell was also known to have taken the location and the image does come from his personal album.

Henry Chapman Phillips born in Chester, PA on September 8, 1833 to John J. and Mary Phillips. Philllips is found in Philadelphia City Directories almost every year between 1864-1903 at several address on and around Chestnut Street in his profession as photographer. Phillips started his career with daguerreotypes in 1856.  He worked with a number of other photographers over the years including his own brother R. R. Phillips, Curtis Taylor and Samuel Broadbent.

Born in NJ in 1822, Robert Newell, the prominent Philadelphia commercial photographer operated a studio from circa 1855 to 1900. His firm, which originally specialized in portraiture, later focused on "Artistic Business and Landscape Photographs" and was reorganized as R. Newell & Son circa 1872. Newell recorded important events in Philadelphia, such as the 1864 Great Central Fair for the U.S. Sanitary Commission. and commercial, residential and ecclesiastical buildings throughout the city. In 1876, the studio (Robert and Henry Newell) issued a series of six viewbooks under the title "Old Landmarks & Relics of Philadelphia." Newell also produced series of stereographs during the 1860s depicting commercial streets, the volunteer fire companies, and views of Fairmount Park and local cemeteries, as well as invented acid proof photographic ware in the 1870s. He died in 1897.

Provenance: personal scrap album of 19th-century photographer and publisher Robert Newell; Kean Archives.

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Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Volunteer Hospital, Philadelphia
Henry Chapman Phillips Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Volunteer Hospital, Philadelphia

Price $125
Sale Price $88

Main Image

Ref.# 14429

Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative

Mount unmounted

Photo Date 1862  Print Date 1862

Dimensions 2-1/4 x 3-1/8 in. (57 x 79 mm)

Photo Country United States (USA)

Photographer Country United States (USA)


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