This book like several others that exist around the nation provide a
historical glimpse into the military lives of Union soldiers during the
American Civil War. Typically these books were developed locally and
contain specific sketches from members of a local unit or geographic
area. In our book’s case it contains the war sketches of members of the
E.D. Baker Post no. 80 Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R). Mrs. Mary
Allison Harker presented this book to the G.A.R. Post on the evening of
October 4, 1899, a Wednesday. The event was noted in the preface of the
book as an event “which will never pass from the minds of any member
Other details of the evening as described in the Preface to the book indicated that the presentation of the book was done at the Court House and a banquet meal was served at 6 O’Clock. The evening also included an “excellent program of vocal and instrumental music.” When the events of the evening were concluded Mrs. Harker held a reception for the “boys in blue” at her home with “music and dainty refreshments whiled away the remaining hours of a memorable and never-to-be forgotten evening.”
Inside the beautifully leather bound book one will find hand written sketches by the Civil War Veterans, preserved in their own hand writing for generations to come. The original book is property of the Harker family and is on display in the house.
The book also includes a brief sketch, in this case personal biography, of Mrs. Mary Allison Harker prior to the hand written entries of 64 veterans. All of the original entries in the book are signed and hand written. Around 2012/2013 the Harker Foundation with the help of a student intern from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake had the contents of the book transcribed and made into a digital document which is available here on our web page. In addition, the book was taken to the University of Iowa Library in Iowa City, Iowa where historians and archivists completed work to restore and preserve the book for future generations.
Thanks to the hard work of Mrs. Mary Allison Harker and her children and grandchildren including Marie Harker Marshall this book has been preserved.
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