When Johnny Came Marching West: How the Civil War Shaped Pasadena

Kathryne Beynon Foundation Exhibition Hall

April 22 through September 20, 2015

civil war

Pasadena G.A.R. in Memorial Park, circa 1920 (Special Collections)

When Johnny Came Marching West highlighted rare artifacts and photographs drawn from the collections of PMH, as well as private and institutional lenders including the Maine State Museum, The Autry National Center of the American West, Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, The Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Dr. Bert J. Davidson and the Southern California Medical Museum, John Beckendorf, Linn and Jean Hoadley, Dr. Carole Morton, Kathy Ralston, Michael Sorenson, and Janet Whaley.

Biographical vignettes told the stories of unique men and women, from General Stoneman, a decorated Northern general, to the children of the radical abolitionist John Brown (Owen Brown, Jason Brown, and Ruth Brown Thompson). Numerous veteran support organizations proliferated locally and influenced the city’s political and social climate for decades. Many rarely seen artifacts, photographs, and textiles were shown from these organizations, including the drum from the Godfrey Post, the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). An Enfield rifle, a Colt Model 1860, and a cavalry saber, such as those carried by Union and Confederate soldiers, were also on display.

John McDonald, drummer boy in the Civil War, at age 16 (Main Photo Collection)

John McDonald, drummer boy in the Civil War, at age 16 (Main Photo Collection)

Period medical equipment, including a rare amputation kit and other doctor’s tools, illustrated the challenges of wartime care. An exploration of mourning etiquette practices and appropriate attire included unusual 19th century mourning jewelry, accessories, and memento mori. Original correspondence showed the bond between soldiers and their loved ones. A highlight was one of the few surviving U.S. Sanitary Commission quilts, signed by the members of the Sunday school class who sewed it and sent it to a Union soldier.

Want to learn more about Civil War veterans in Pasadena and the objects on display? Check out the Curator’s Blog.

An accompanying exhibit, titled Thaddeus Lowe: Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army, was also on display.