photo archives news: rare stereoview of galusha pennypacker purchased at auction

Through the generosity of two anonymous donors, CCHS was able to purchase at auction personal letters, service records and a rare photograph of Brevet Major General Galusha Pennypacker, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic Civil War service. Pennypacker made his career in the Army after the war.

This stereoview was a unique souvenir from his trip to Europe in 1872 on military business. A steroview produces a 3-D image when viewed through a stereoviewer. This stereohalf shows Pennypacker seated, with Dr. John Everhart standing on the right and another unidentified individual on the left. Both men had served in the 97th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War, Everhart as its surgeon.

Galusha Pennypacker with Dr. John Everhart in Paris, 1872

Pennypacker was badly wounded at Fort Fisher, North Carolina, the effects of that wound pained him throughout his life and ultimately lead to his death in 1916. In his letter to his Aunt Libby, Pennypacker writes, I have made the trip across in safety, although the passage was a very stormy one..My health is quite good, except my wounds pain me yet, and I am in good spirits.” To have his friend and former regimental surgeon Dr. Everhart along on the trip across the Contintent in 1872, must have been of great aid to him.

Also included in the purchase was Pennypacker’s copy of Traveller’s Manual of Conversation with his handwritten notes of the itinerary of his trip.

Dr. John Everhart was the well-to-do son of West Chester businessman and developer William Everhart. Dr. Everhart had studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and had continued his studies in Paris before the war. He is noted for performing the first successful cataract operation in Chester County in 1858.

When Col. Henry R. Guss was organizing the 97th Regiment in Chester County, he selected Dr. Everhart as surgeon for the regiment. Everhart served for three and a half years tending the wounded on the field of battle. His most notable accomplishment was quelling an outbreak of Yellow Fever among the troops at Hilton head South Carolina using sanitary procedures.

Chester County Historical Society is pleased to add these items to the collection and to make them accessible to the public for study and exhibition.

I welcome your comments on this blog, please send a link to your friends!Pamela Powell, Photo Archivist