Washington, D.C. 1917. Unbound. This 6¼” x 5½” card was printed by William Henry Harrison Phelps and distributed at the 27th United Confederate Veterans Reunion held at Washington, D.C., June 5-7, 1917. It was “Respectfully Dedicated to President Woodrow Wilson.” In nice shape with a small, near invisible dampstain on the reverse.
The card front features an image of an elderly Phelps in a Confederate uniform. He is flanked by color images of crossed U.S. flags on the left, and crossed Confederate flags (the Battle Flag and the Third National Flag). The text includes two annotations, “Captain (Lula Guards) Co. H 3rd Ga. Bat. Infantry Confederate States Army” and “Last Battle, Sunday, April 16, 1865”.
The reverse contains several Bible verses along with a second dedication to his “Confederate comrades.”. Very good. Item #010158
Phelps was born at Columbus, Georgia in 1839. He became a well-to-do merchant but lost his fortune in the war after raising two Confederate companies including the Lula Guards which he named in honor of his wife, Lucy. Following the war, he opened a bakery and candy making business in Columbus. One of its candies, the Moss Rose, became so successful, a second branch was opened in New York. An undated newspaper clipping reports that “he was awarded a hero medal by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1866” while living in Columbus. This is interesting as the Klan was first organized in Tennessee in 1866 and did not become a powerful force until Nathan Bedford Forest became its leader in 1868. The early Klan was especially active in and around Columbus, harassing Republicans. Eventually it assassinated a Republican politician and began to physically assault and whip freedmen. It isn’t clear why the Klan awarded Phelps a “hero medal,” perhaps he played an important role in its organization in Georgia.
Woodrow Wilson, a Virginia Democrat, was the most racist person ever to serve as the President of the United States. He unabashedly overturned policies and actions of his Republican predecessors, especially Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft, including firing African-Americans from railway postal positions as those jobs required them to use the same glasses and dinnerware as their white co-workers. He infamously praised the Klan (no doubt earning the adoration of Phelps) “The white men were aroused by a mere instinct of preservation . . . until there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”
(For more information, see Matthews’s “Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist- even by the standards of his time" at the Vox website, Lehr’s “The Racist Legacy of Woodrow Wilson” at The Atlantic website, Bryant’s “Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction Era” at the New Georgia Encyclopedia website, and a variety of notes, entries, and clippings about Phelps at ancestry.com and the Find-a-Grave website.)
Scarce. At the time of listing no others were for sale in the trade. One has appeared at auction per Worthpoint. OCLC shows none are held by institutions..