Window from Libby Prison
Currently on display in The Story of Virginia exhibition.
This is a window from Richmond's notorious Libby Prison, where an estimated 125,000 Union soldiers were confined. The
structure, originally built as a warehouse for a tobacco merchant between 1845 and 1852, was being leased by Libby and
Sons when the Confederacy took it over in 1862 to house Union prisoners. An Illinois syndicate razed the building in 1888–89 and then reconstructed it in Chicago as the National War Museum to house Civil War relics.
After the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the building was again demolished, this time permanently—the pieces were sold separately as souvenirs. David W. Sutherland of Chicago acquired the window and gave it to the local Union veterans' organization of the town of his birth, Pittsford, New York, near Rochester. It was presented to E.J. Tyler Post 288, Grand Army of the Republic, at a ceremony attended by two former inmates of the prison. In 1915 the GAR donated it to the Rochester Municipal Museum, now the Rochester Museum and Science Center. In 1990, the museum gave the window to the VHS. Made of rough Georgia pine with iron bars, the window is fifty-five inches high and sixty-five inches wide and weighs about three hundred pounds. E. L. W. Baker, an imprisoned Union private from Lansing, Michigan, carved his name and company, "21st Mich. Co. B.," into the frame.
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