John Page Nicholson Papers and Civil War Collection: Finding Aid mssNI

Brooke M. Black
The Huntington Library
August 2022
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191


Finding aid last updated on January 30, 2024, by Melissa Haley.

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: John Page Nicholson papers and Civil War collection
Creator: Nicholson, John P. (John Page), 1842-
Identifier/Call Number: mssNI
Physical Description: 18.2 Linear Feet (7 boxes, 14 volumes, 3 oversize folders)
Date (inclusive): 1861-1921
Abstract: Papers and collection of American Civil War veteran and collector John Page Nicholson.
Language of Material: Materials are in English with some in French.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. John Page Nicholson papers and Civil War collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Gertrude M. Nicholson, through the agency of Robert O. Schad, September 1922.

Custodial History

A number of items in this collection were removed from rare books in the Huntington Library that had been owned by John Page Nicholson; see folders for more information.

Biographical / Historical

John Page Nicholson (1842-1921) was a Civil War veteran and collector. From 1861 to 1865, he served as regimental quartermaster with the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry regiment. After the war, he returned to Philadelphia and started collecting books and manuscripts on the Civil War. He also translated and edited two volumes of Comte de Paris' History of the Civil War in America. From 1885 to 1922, he served as recorder in chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and was Secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Gettysburg Monument.

Scope and Contents

John Page Nicholson's collection of Civil War manuscripts. Included are items created during the war - official reports, dispatches, communications, soldiers' letters, diaries, maps, etc., and manuscripts written after the war, such as veterans' memoirs, regimental histories, poems, copies of war diaries, etc. Included are Nicholson's own Civil War letters and a typescript copy of the diary that he kept during his military service. Also included are correspondence and papers accumulated by Nicholson during his work on the translation of Comte de Paris' book, his service with the Legion of Honor and his work for the Board of Commissioners on Gettysburg Monument.
Materials created by U.S. presidents include: James A. Garfield autograph letter signed to E.B. Andrews, 1863 April 14 (NI 68); Ulysses S. Grant, Oxford, Mississippi, autograph letter signed to John C. Pemberton, 1862 December 5 (NI 755); Ulysses S. Grant, before Vicksburg, autograph letter signed to John C. Pemberton, 1863 March 2 (NI 756); Ulysses S. Grant, Culpeper, autograph note signed to Edward Davis Townsend, 1864 April 18 (NI 1); Rutherford B. Hayes autograph letters signed to John Page Nicholson, 1885 April 25, 1889 March 1, 1890 May 27 (NI 797, NI 798, NI 209); William H. Taft, New Haven, typescript letters signed to John Page Nicholson, 1913 (NI 923-925). Items NI 1, NI 68, and NI 209 are in A Collection of Autograph Letters and Notes of the General Officers in the Service of the United States, 1861-1865 (Philadelphia: John Page Nicholson, 1896), volumes 1 and 3.

Processing Information

Processed by Huntington Library staff in June 1951. In 2022, Brooke M. Black created a finding aid. In 2022, Melissa Haley enhanced description of the presidential material present in the collection as part of the American Presidential Papers Project.


Individual call numbers included in the collection: mssNI 1-990.

Related Materials

The Huntington Library has several other collections related to John Page Nicholson.


Organized in the following series: 1. Correspondence and documents; 2. Oversize maps.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Manuscripts, American -- Collectors and collecting -- Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories -- Sources
Pennsylvania -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Societies, etc.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Societies, etc.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Veterans -- Archives
Diaries -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Memoirs -- United States -- 19th century
Military records -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Personal papers -- Pennsylvania
Professional papers -- Pennsylvania
Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889
Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885
Hancock, Winfield Scott, 1824-1886
Hayes, Rutherford B., 1822-1893
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Longstreet, James, 1821-1904
McClellan, George B. (George Brinton), 1826-1885
Paris, Louis-Philippe-Albert d'Orléans, comte de, 1838-1894
Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930
Gettysburg Battlefield Commission
Gettysburg National Military Park Commission
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Pennsylvania Commandery
United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 28th (1861-1865)


Correspondence and documents



Box 1


Box 2


Box 3


Box 4


Box 5, Box 6, Box 7, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6, Volume 7, Volume 8, Volume 9, Volume 10, Volume 11, Volume 12, Volume 13, Volume 14


Scope and Contents

Sixty-four bound volumes.

Oversize maps

Folder Oversize 1

Map of Alamitos, California undated

Folder Oversize 2

Map of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, California undated

Folder Oversize 3

Map of Galveston, Texas undated