Bob Neale submitted the following query last week, and it somehow got lost in the shuffle of convention activities. Sorry! Here it is. To respond, just hit Reply to this email message or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . -EditorI shall be grateful to anyone who can provide information about wall plaques that appeared in the 1870s-1880s and featured the Lost Cause poem composed by Confederate Major Sidney Alroy Jonas. Jonas is supposed to have written the poem on the back of a $500 note (Feb 1864 issue) shortly before his discharge, following Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's surrender of his troops to Gen. Sherman near Greensboro, NC, in April 1865. The poem, also known as Something Too Good To Be Lost, was later printed on poster sheets that contained decoration and spaces for attachment of 7 or 8 different, genuine Confederate notes. The only discussion I have encountered so far about these plaques is Fred Reed's in the July 2007 Bank Note Reporter. I have just encountered what I believe to be an original example and wish to learn much more about who produced such items, when and how many, and their current rarities and values. The owner's family has displayed the plaque since the 19th century and is seeking background on their historic piece.
One example is available on the Library of Congress web site. Who knows where the others are? According to Fred, examples of Lost Cause plaques were later made using replica examples of CSA notes. I'm more interested in those that bear actual notes. Google hasn't been much help, although that may be my fault, and I have not yet tried to research auction house sales. I invite those so inclined to contact me via reply to The E-Sylum.
Here's the image from the Library of Congress. -Editor
Many thanks to Fred Reed for providing a second image. Note the differences. -Editor
Here are the first few stanzas of the famous poem. -EditorRepresenting nothing on God's earth now,
And naught in the waters below it,
As the pledge of a nation that's dead and gone,
Keep it, dear friend, and show it.
Show it to those who will lend an ear
To the tale that this trifle can tell
Of Liberty born of the patriot's dream,
Of a storm-cradled nation that fell.
Too poor to possess the precious ores,
And too much of a stranger to borrow,
We issued to-day our promise to pay,
And hoped to redeem on the morrow.
To read the full text of Jonas' poem, see: LINES ON A CONFEDERATE NOTE by Major Sidney Alroy Jonas http://www.civilwarpoetry.org/confederate/postwar/note.html
Wayne Homren, Editor
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