The Vault

Wistful Memories of the Confederacy, 50 Years After the Civil War

These two very similar posters, copyrighted in Atlanta and published in Iowa around 1910, commemorate the Confederacy 50 years after its founding. Distributed as a promotional item by the First National Bank of Gainesville, Georgia, the first poster below incorporates portraits of Confederate leaders, a map, images of currency and memorials, and (on its reverse side) the lyrics to Confederate poems and songs. 

The second example of the poster that’s held by the Library of Congress (the third image, below) features slightly different components, including a form at the bottom that allows the owner to personalize the poster by filling in details about his service during the war. It seems possible that the poster might have been distributed by veterans’ organizations. 

A 1913 book about bank promotional advertising mentions a similar item distributed by the Commercial National Bank of Shreveport, Louisiana: a “half century Confederate memorial calendar” that featured many of the same design elements included here (“portraits of the leaders of the Confederacy, monuments, a map of the Southern States”).

The book listed that calendar alongside other free historical literature produced by banks: the Naugatuck, Connecticut, Savings Bank’s history of Naugatuck; the First National Bank of Boston’s Brief History of American Currency; a plaque of William II, count of Nassau, distributed by the National Nassau Bank of New York. Its place in this lineup shows how the history of the Confederacy was regarded in the postwar South: a settled matter of heritage that could be invoked to solidify an institution’s favor in the community. 

Click on the images below to reach larger versions, or visit the charts’ pages in the Library of Congress digital collections. 

Library of Congress

Library of Congress