Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, Supported Gratuitously by the Citizens of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


This print depicts the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, located at the southwest corner of Swanson and Washington Avenues in Philadelphia during the American Civil War. The saloon was a volunteer relief agency supported by the citizens of Philadelphia, which provided meals, hospital care, and washing, sleeping, and writing facilities to military personnel, refugees, and freedmen throughout the war. The print shows soldiers, cheered by civilian onlookers, marching out from the main building to embark on cars of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad for transport to the battlefields to the south. The flag in the upper left-hand corner proclaims “Union For Ever,” indicating the main initial war aim of the North and of President Abraham Lincoln: to preserve the Union by forcibly preventing the secession of the Southern states. Below the main illustration are views of the soldiers eating in the enormous dining hall and of meals being prepared. The illustration is by lithographer William Boell (also seen as William Buell). Born in France around 1832, Boell worked in New York from 1854 until about 1859. He then moved to Philadelphia where he established his own firm and was active until the 1880s. His work included book illustrations, advertisements, church views, bird's eye views, and political cartoons.


Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

B.S. Brown, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

Volunteer Refreshment Saloon, supported gratuitously by the citizens of Philadelphia, Pa.

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : chromolithograph ; 39 x 54 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 813.2


  1. William Boell, Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia, http://www.lcpdigital.org.
  2. Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia, http://www.librarycompany.org/pos/posdictionary.htm.

Last updated: February 26, 2014