1995 32¢ Phoebe Pember
Issue Date: June 29, 1995
City: Gettysburg, PA
Quantity: 15,000,000 panes of 20
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
The release of the 20 Civil War stamps marked the most extensive effort in the history of the U.S. Postal Service to review and verify the historical accuracy of stamp subjects. Each of the 16 individuals and four battles featured were chosen from a master list of 50 subjects, which included Presidents, generals, major battles, rank-and-file soldiers, women, African and Native Americans, and abolitionists. The goal of the U.S.P.S. was to show the wide variety of people who participated in the Civil War.
During the Civil War, women were a strategic asset to both sides, but especially to the Confederacy. As the men marched off to war they quickly learned to manage plantations, work in factories, and sew uniforms. Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Virginia was one such example of their gallant efforts. Run almost entirely by women, it was the largest military hospital in the world at the time, treating more than 76,000 men.
For more than two years the hospital was successfully managed by Phoebe Yates Pember, a young Jewish widow who, dissatisfied with the inactivity of civilian life, accepted the position of chief matron of the second division. Like many other Civil War nurses, Pember faced numerous professional barriers and regularly endured insults from those who believed that no respectable woman should minister to the needs of wounded men. Highly competent and strong-minded, she continued to care for them despite these objections.
After the war she wrote an account of her wartime nursing experiences. Her memoirs, “A Southern Woman’s Story” was first published in 1879. Rated as “one of the very best Confederate memoirs,” it provides a vivid account of the conditions in major Confederate hospitals and paints a humane portrait of the common soldier.