May 2015 Document of the Month

On May 29, 1865, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation that built upon two earlier amnesty proclamations issued by Abraham Lincoln. Under the proclamation’s terms, all who had “directly or indirectly, participated in the existing rebellion except as hereinafter excepted” could obtain “amnesty and pardon” simply by taking an oath of allegiance to the United States.  The proclamation delineated the 14 “excepted” classes not covered under the general amnesty provision and explained how those persons could have their political privileges restored:

“[S]pecial application may be made to the President for pardon by any person belonging to the excepted classes; and such clemency will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case and the peace and dignity of the United States.”

 Over the next two years, hundreds of Southerners who had participated in or supported the so-called “rebellion” applied for and received presidential pardons. The Museum library has 16 of the pardon certificates in its collections.  Among them is this one issued to Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry (1825-1903) who had served in the Confederate Congress from Alabama and was a colonel of Alabama cavalry. After the war he was a Baptist minister, professor of English and History at Richmond College (now the University of Richmond), and served as U.S. Minister to Spain in the administration of President Grover Cleveland.

 View the document in greater detail here. 

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Document of the Month Archives

Click on the images or links below to learn more about past Documents of the Month.


April 2015

March 2015


February 2015

January 2015

December 2014


November 2014

October 2014

September 2014


August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013


August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

Jackson Letter   Transcription

Livingston Letter   Transcription


Booker 1862 Booker 1863

Letter Descriptions

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

Document   Explanation/Transcription

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012