Lippman Collection of Civil War Postal Covers


Postal covers are envelopes with printed designs commemorating an event, person, or cause. These postal covers were created during the Civil War in support of the Union, with one postal cover declaring support for the Confederacy. They include symbols and allegories for Union causes, Union slogans, images of Union heroes, and caricatures of Confederate leaders. They are an unusual resource for studying the popular culture and social history of the Civil War.

These covers were collected by Alfred S. Lippman of Morgan City, Louisiana, who donated them to the Louisiana Research Collection in 2009. An attorney, Lippman has been active in civic and business affairs. Among his many contributions are his services on the boards of the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District, 1967-2004 (President, 1972-1978-1999); Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals, 1980-1985; the Pan American Commission, 1990-1992; the Board of Supervisors, Louisiana Universities, 2000-2005; Whitney National Bank and Whitney Holding Corp., 1997- present; and the United States Coast Guard Foundation, 1990-2005.

For more information please visit the LaRC website:
This project was made possible in part by the generous support of the Gail and Alfred S. Lippman Family Fund.


Animal caricatures
Three anthropomorphic animals. Jefferson Davis is depicted as a camel.,
The Bursting of the Secession Bubbles
Jefferson Davis blowing soap bubbles with the initials of Southern states, while General Winfield Scott bursts the bubbles with his sword. Caption: "The bursting of the secession bubbles." Creator unknown., Winfield Scott was the Commanding General of the United States Army at the beginning of the Civil War. He resigned in 1861 and was replaced by General George McClellan.,
Portrait of General Benjamin F. Butler inside a blue and red ink star. Creator unknown., Butler was a prominent Union general perhaps most noted for his leadership in the Battle of Fort Hatteras and the capture of New Orleans, where he was military commander until December 16, 1862. After the Civil War he became governor of Massachusetts and was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.,
Confederate Cats
A Confederate cat (identified as Magoffin) holding a cock (Uncle Sam) by the neck and another Confederate cat (Jefferson Davis) swiping at Union-winged chicks. Caption: "Governor Magoffin's neutrality means holding the COCK OF THE WALK while the CONFEDERATE CAT kills of his CHICKENS.", Beriah Magoffin was the Governor of Kentucky when the Civil War began. This image mocks Magoffin's initial neutral stance and his aversion to choosing sides. It also portrays the doubt that some Union supporters had regarding Kentucky's neutral position during the early part of the Civil War.,
Image of slaves (contrabands) talking to General Benjamin Butler with the description "Volun'eer (sic) Sappers and Miners from the F.F.V or Merchandise Contraband of War." Caption: "Massa Butler, we's jest seceded from Harpers Ferry, whar we larn'd de trade ob making Trenches and Forti'cations. And now if yer wants anything done in dat ar line ob bisness, we's de Niggers to call upon. We borrow'd des yer tools at de Ferry, and if dey is'ent Contraban we's gwine to carry em back at de close ab horsetilities." Creator unknown., The image refers to General Butler's contraband policy which stated that escaping slaves who reached Union lines would not be returned to slavery. General Butler argued that escaped slaves were "contraband of war" and thus he was not required to return them to their former owners. The United States Congress upheld the contraband policy with the Confiscation Act of 1861.,
Cotton is King!
John Bull kneeling, on an American slave, before a bale of cotton dressed as a king. The caption "Cotton is King!" appears above the image and the lyrics "Old England is mighty; Old England is free, she boasts that she ruleth the waves of the sea ; (but between you and I, that's all fiddle-de-dee;) She cannot, O Cotton! She cannot rule thee. Lo! Manchesters lordling thy greatness shall own, And yield more to thee than he would to the Throne: For before thee shall bend his fat marrow-bone,And dead be his ear to the live chattels groan.", John Bull, is a figurative representation of England (pictured here with a 'Manchester' ticket sticking out of his pocket). The image derides England's appetite for cotton ('Cotton is King') and the willingness of many Britons to ignore the human costs of slavery associated with cotton production. Many Northerners were particularly suspicious of Britain's motives during the Civil War, particularly due to the presence of British blockade runners. Many feared that it would award recognition to the Confederacy as a sovereign nation.,
Death to Traitors
A flying American flag with the caption "Death to Traitors!" Creator unknown.,
Ellsworth and Butler
Portraits of Elmer Ellsworth and General Benjamin Butler, with quotes, against an American flag. Butler: "Whatever our politics, the government must be sustained." Ellsworth: "Whatever may happen, cherish the consolation that I was engaged in the performance of a sacred duty." Creator unknown., This notable quote by Butler was often used to denote Union patriotism. Elmer E. Ellsworth was a soldier and the first "conspicuous casualty" of the American Civil War. Union supporters rallied around Ellsworth's death and enlisted to fight in the war.,
End of Secession
Image of a piece of rope with one end tied in the form of a noose. Caption: "End of secession." Creator unknown.,
A Flag-itious article
An early Confederate flag turned upside down. Caption: "A Flag-itious article out of place. A villainous subject, a bad case, And unmistakably out of place.", The first flag of the Confederate States, consisting of three stripes and seven stars, was used only briefly in 1861.,
Gen. B.F. Butler
Portrait of General Benjamin F. Butler. Creator unknown., Butler was a prominent Union general perhaps most noted for his leadership in the Battle of Fort Hatteras and the capture of New Orleans, where he was military commander until December 16, 1862. After the Civil War he became governor of Massachusetts and was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.,
General Beauregard caricature
Depiction of P.G.T. Beauregard as a boar. Caption: "General Boar-a-guard, On Duty.", Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (May 28, 1818 February 20, 1893) was a Louisiana-born American author, civil servant, politician, inventor, and the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.,
Hemp for Traitors
A man turns a spinning wheel with the words "Hemp for traitors, North or South" written on it. A field of grain stands to the mans left and a gallows stands to his right. The words 'Agriculture', 'Manufactures', 'Fine Arts' are written below the grain, man, and gallows, respectively., The noose hanging on the gallows is strung from the spinning wheel and reaches back to the patch of hemp plants from which the rope was produced. Therefore, "Hemp for Traitors" means traitors will be executed or lynched.,
House of Disunion
Union artillery gun with the last names 'Lincoln', 'Seward', 'Scott', and 'Cameron' written on it, shooting at a house with 'DISUNION' written on it. Jefferson Davis is pictured fleeing from the artillery fire. The names of Confederate generals such as Bragg and Beauregard appear over the "house of disunion". A palmetto log is also depicted., The palmetto log is probably a reference to Fort Moultrie, a South Carolina fort that was loyal to the Confederacy, and originally constructed of palmetto logs. South Carolina's nickname, the Palmetto state, derives its name from Fort Moultrie. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and the site of the battle of Fort Sumter, the first battle of the Civil War.,
Image of a blue coin with the inscription 'I.O.U, 1861' on the coin. Caption: "New Southern Coin.", The Confederate states and government printed paper currency; however, it rapidly depreciated in value throughout the war. In 1861, the Confederate government made plans to create a Confederate coin, however the project never transpired. This postal cover mocks the flawed financial situation of the Confederate states throughout the Civil War.,
Jefferson Davis caricature
Picture of Jefferson Davis wearing an army uniform and a tall hat. Caption: "Jeff. Davis Going to War." If one turns the postal cover to the side, the image turns into a picture of Jefferson Davis portrayed as a horse eating a tree branch with the caption "Returning.",
Jefferson Davis hanging
Jefferson Davis is pictured hanging from a noose, with the words "Let me alone" on the gallows. Caption: "Jeff Davis. Taken from Life." There is a barrel of whiskey next to his hanging body. Creator unknown.,
Jeff's March on Washington
Zouave solider marching Jefferson Davis to Washington D.C. Caption: "Zouave - Uncle Abe will be glad to see you." At the bottom: "Jeffs March on Washington. His courage kept up to the 'sticking point.'", During the American Civil War, many Northern and Southern volunteer regiments adopted the name Zouave, which originally described French Army soldiers stationed in North Africa. Zouave soldiers were known for their unique and elaborate uniforms before the Union and Confederacy armys adopted standard uniforms.,
Lady Liberty over Fort Sumter
Lady Liberty appearing over Fort Sumter with a sword, the scales of justice, and a liberty cap., The battle at Fort Sumter (April 12-13, 1861) was the first major conflict of the Civil War. The liberty cap was also used as a symbol for abolition.,
Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler
Portrait of General Benjamin F. Butler. Caption: "Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. Hero of Fort Hatteras.", One of the first significant Union victories, the Battle of Fort Hatteras revealed the superiority of the Union navy. Butler led the Union army troops during the battle.,