“The work of Charity is ever a work of pleasure, and the great work of charity to sustain that noblest development of this cruel war, the Sanitary Commission, in which we are all now enlisted, is bringing pleasures in its train we had never anticipated. A movement which so thoroughly enlists the sympathy of all classes, and all ages, from the millionaire to the poor sewing woman; from the grandsire to the school girl, was perhaps, never before witnessed. All are doing something, contributing each according to his or her means or opportunities; and what an amount of latent power to do good has thus been developed. How many new ways of assisting in the good work have been discovered. All that is asked is that each shall contribute of what they have; if they are not blessed with riches, then give of their talents, their art, their skill, and there are none too poor but can contribute in some of these ways to the work in hand.”
~The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 23 January 1864
One interesting aspect of the American Civil War is the degree to which everyday citizens became involved in the war effort. All across the nation, from areas directly affected by the battles, to areas far removed from the conflict’s front, ordinary citizens came together in a multitude of ways to support “our boys”—regardless of the color of “our boy’s” uniform.
The Aid Fair was not a new idea; expositions and fairs had become a popular means of fundraising and entertainment in the first half of the century. It was natural, then, to use the arrangement of a Fair as a means of raising the funds and supplies needed for the war effort on both sides. Continue reading