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Pauline Cushman scrapbook, 1863-1869, 1893.
MS 5037
Collection Overview


Pauline Cushman scrapbook, 1863-1869, 1893


Cushman, Pauline, 1833-1893, creator


Contains mainly newspaper clippings collected by Pauline Cushman documenting her speaking engagements about her life as a Union Army spy during the American Civil War. Included are announcements, reviews, and biographical pieces. Clippings are from various state newspapers and date from 1863 to 1869, with the exception of Cushman's 1893 obituary, added posthumously. Several of the announcements advertise Cushman's appearances at P.T. Barnum's American Museum. There are three newspaper illustrations: Cushman in regular clothes and in her army uniform, Cushman in prison, and a standard portrait. Includes four clippings reporting President Abraham Lincoln's assassination and one of Jefferson Davis's "Dying Speech." Performance reviews also include those in which Cushman appeared in plays such as Inshavogue, or the Fenians of 1798, and The Married Rake. Many announcements and reviews also mention comedian James M. Ward who was double-billed with Cushman. Scrapbook contains an 1869 handwritten personal appeal from Marcellus P. Lindsay of New York asking Cushman to remember him in her will and leave her scrapbook to him.


1833 (issued)


Women spies -- United States
Spies -- United States
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Participation, Female
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Secret Service
Women entertainers -- United States
Barnum's American Museum.
Lincoln, Abraham -- 1809-1865 -- Assassination
Ward, James M


Previously listed as Scrapbook 37.
35 leaves are blank. A few clippings are loose, including Cushman's obituary.
Handwritten notes provide dates and sources.
RESTRICTED: Original not available due to fragility. Use photocopy.
[Identification of item], Pauline Cushman Scrapbook, MS OV 5037, California Historical Society.
Purchase From Whitlock Farms Books, 1966.
Pauline Cushman, born Harriet Wood, entered the U.S. secret service following a Midwestern acting career. After the death of her husband, Charles C. Dickinson, Pauline left her two children with her in-laws to go on the Louisville stage. In April 1863, Cushman was recruited as an army detective by Col. Orlando H. Moore, the provost marshal there. In June 1863, Cushman was sent behind Confederate lines by Army Chief of Police William Truesdail in Nashville to gain information on Confederate General Braxton Bragg's forces; she gathered information on Confederate dispositions and sketched fortifications. She was betrayed by a local smuggler and taken to Bragg's headquarters where her sketches were discovered. After a court martial conviction, Cushman was sentenced to hang. Cushman was rescued when Union forces retook the town. In the following years, Cushman toured performing recitations of her army service and war escapades, and acted in a variety of plays. On December 2, 1893, Pauline Cushman Fryer died in San Francisco, at age sixty. Circa 1910, her body was reinterred in the Officer's Circle in the Presidio National Park cemetery.


Periodical illustrations.

Physical Description:

1 v. (54 leaves) : ill. ; 31 cm.




MS 5037


United States

Copyright Note:

RESTRICTED: Original not available due to fragility. Use photocopy.