Skip to main content

Oliver R. McNary collection

Call Number: RH MS 42


This collection of personal papers include materials gathered by McNary on the treatment and exchange of Union prisoners during the Civil War.


  • Creation: 1803 - 1955


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Oliver McNary

Oliver McNary enlisted in the 12th Pennsylvania Infantry in 1861 as a private. By the end of the Civil War he was mustered out with the rank of First Lieutenant in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry. In the course of the war he was captured and sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia, later to be transferred to Macon, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina. While a prisoner of war McNary kept a diary.


.75 Linear Feet (2 document cases + 2 volumes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection of personal papers include materials gathered by McNary on the treatment and exchange of Union prisoners during the Civil War. There are several manuscript accounts of prison life submitted to McNary by members of the National Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War, for which McNary was historian. He also served as the Kansas state vice-president for the Association in the late 1880s. In addition, there is family correspondence, a genealogy, clippings, and six photographs of McNary in his military uniform and other members of the McNary family.

The collection is arranged in one box as follows: Correspondence, 1853-1895, undated; Documents, Prisoner of War narratives (alphabetical); Family correspondence (1890-1932); Genealogy and other materials (1803-1955). Photographs have been physically separated and are located at RH MS-P 42; two diaries kept by McNary during and directly after his time as a prisoner of war are located at RH MS A9.

Correspondents in the collection include Thomas H. Copern, John P. Coore, Jesse Hawes, William Kelley, Jr., W.P. McClure, B.C. McWilliams, C.D. Nichols, T.J. Pattee, Hueston Smith, and J.C. Wagoner.

Physical Location

RH MS 42

Physical Location

RH MS-P 42

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, James E. Brink, 1967.

Guide to the Oliver R. McNary Collection
Oliver R. McNary collection
Finding aid prepared by lgg, December 20, 1974. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by skt, 2010; mwh, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Oliver R. McNary collection, RH MS 42, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States