The William Oland Bourne collection in the New-York Historical Society's Manuscripts Department includes correspondence, papers, broadsides, and unpublished manuscripts related to his work as a social reformer, editor and author in New York City during the 1850s and 60s. Through his publication, The Soldier's Friend, he sought to aid disabled soldiers by offering prizes to those who had lost their right arms in combat during the American Civil War and had learned to write with their left hands. It is the material relating to this enterprise that was selected from the collection for digitization. The selection includes letters, photographs and papers regarding the competition sponsored by Bourne's publication, The Soldier's Friend, for best specimens of left-handed penmanship by disabled soldiers.
William Oland Bourne (1819-1901), social reformer, editor, and author in New York City. He was the editor of 'Soldiers Friend,' a publication hat advocated for the rehabilitation of soldiers who suffered injuries and trauma during the American Civil War. He lived and worked in New York City.