Illustrator Thomas Nast created this lithograph honoring the U.S. Sanitary Commission in 1863. A private organization, the Sanitary Commission was founded in New York City in 1861 to provide aid and comfort to Union soldiers during the Civil War. President Lincoln authorized the organization to inspect sanitary conditions at army camps; it also supplied nurses, ambulances, and hospitals, and coordinated female war relief efforts. The war expanded the possibilities for female economic and political participation, and many northern women worked under the Sanitary Commission’s auspices as they placed their traditional domestic labors in the service of the Union cause.
Source: Old York Library, The Graduate Center, CUNY