Mrs. Abraham Holmes Hoge became a well-known name for her volunteer work with wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Born Jane Currie Blaikie, Mrs. Hoge may be better known for her efforts to fund the United States Sanitary Commission.
Like so many others, Mrs. Hoge believed the war would not last long. When the conflict was still going on in January of 1862, she and her friend, Mary Livermore, began to raise money for the Chicago branch of the United States Sanitary Commission. Their goal was to keep the Commission’s supply shelves filled through these donations.
Mrs. Hoge went to battlefield hospitals, taking supplies she collected and often distributing them directly to wounded or sick soldiers. Her trips to the front lasted from days to weeks.
Mrs. Hoge and Mrs. Livermore traveled to towns throughout the Chicago area. Mrs. Hoge shared her experiences at the front at each community’s ladies’ group. Mrs. Hoge raised money for bandages, sheets, and linens. If the town didn’t have a Soldiers’ Aid Society, she helped them establish one.
Mrs. Hoge originated the first Sanitary Fair in Chicago. The Northwestern Soldiers’ Fair was held from October 27, 1863 to November 7, 1863. A six-mile parade of bands, political leaders, militia, and farmers were part of the fair. A “Curiosity Shop” of war souvenirs was another enticement to attend the fair.
Mrs. Hoge had hoped to raise $25,000 for the U.S. Sanitary Commission. The fair surpassed her hopes and raised $80,000.
After the fair ended, she continued to visit hospitals and speak at other cities.
-Sandra Merville Hart
“Hoge, Mrs. A.H.,” The Free Dictionary, 2018/12/27 https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Hoge%2C+Mrs.+A.+H.
Moore, Frank. Women of the War, Blue/Gray Books, 1997. (originally published 1866).
“Mrs. A.H. Hoge in Women of the War,” Accessible Archives, 2018/12/27 https://www.accessible-archives.com/2011/03/many-daughters-have-done-virtuously/.
“United States Sanitary Commission,” Wikipedia, 2018/12/27, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Sanitary_Commission.