Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

A Fraternity of Civil War Veterans

August 15, 2016 Archive Insight


The Grand Army of the Republic (often known by its abbreviation, G.A.R.) was an organization of U.S. Civil War veterans who had served for the Union.  In existence from 1866 through 1956, it peaked in 1890 at over 400,000 members and 7,000 posts.  The G.A.R. scheduled meetings and other gatherings for members, provided charitable donations to the needy, supported the construction and maintenance of Civil War memorials and sites, and became a powerful political lobbying group.  In 1868, the group’s commander-in-chief initiated an observance known as Decoration Day, which we still commemorate today as Memorial Day.

We’ve just digitized over 30 G.A.R. badges, medals, and insignia from our collections, including
this badge from a 1908 encampment at Toledo, Ohio.  Browse all of the digitized G.A.R.-related artifacts by visiting our Digital Collections.

Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

Grand Army of the Republic, by Ellice Engdahl, veterans, digital collections, Civil War

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