"Cambridge to the rescue": broadside (Boston, Mass., 1862)

As the nation launched into bloody conflict between North and South, Cambridge stood out as a hotbed of pro-Union activity and sympathy, where intellectuals like Thoreau and Emerson championed the cause of abolitionism. The city was a principal center of military recruitment, as demonstrated in some 28 broadsides published between 1861 and 1865 in the Cambridge community, now preserved at Houghton Library.

The posters promise monetary rewards for enlistment, and several of them also publicized recruitment events of a festive aura of music, where women and celebrity guests such as Longfellow, and political leaders were invited to promote the Union efforts war effort.

As the war progressed, posters offered larger sums. One clamors for "Liberty! Union! Action!" calling for the attention of sharp-shooters. The complete group of broadsides - also printed on red and white paper - alongside a list of the dead members of the Massachusetts regiments, show the efficiency, vigor and sophistication with which Cambridge collectively banded together to preserve the Union.

US 13207.4.20*PF – No source, no date.