John Mead Gould papers, 1841-1944

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Gould, John Mead, 1839-1930
John Mead Gould was a Union Army officer and bank teller from Portland, Maine. The collection comprises corresspondence, diaries, legal and financial papers, printed materials, and photographs, chiefly relating to Gould's service with the 1st Maine Infantry Regiment and its successors, the 10th and 29th Maine regiments. Subjects include Civil War campaigns in Louisiana, Maryland, and Virginia; veterans' reunions, pension claims, and the Grand Army of the Republic veterans' organization; wartime and Reconstruction conditions in South Carolina; and Gould's business life in S.C. and Maine after the Civil War. One regimental directory includes a narrative of the career of a freed African American from Louisiana, Harry Johnson, who returned with the Union regiment to Maine. Photographs are chiefly of battlefields visited in 1889, 1910, and 1912, and of Civil War veterans. Also includes the letters and diaries of Gould's wife, Amelia Jenkins Twitchell Gould, 1860-1865, who taught for a freedmen's school in Beaufort, S.C., and diaries written by his brother Samuel McClellan Gould, a Presbyterian minister, 1841-1845, 1890-1895. Letters and other papers relate to the career of zoologist Edward Sylvester Morse, a close friend of Gould's.
8.8 Linear Feet (22 boxes; 2 oversize folders)
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The papers of John Mead Gould comprise correspondence, diaries, official military papers, clippings and other printed materials, drafts of writings, photographs, and other papers documenting John Mead Gould's experiences in the Civil War, his activities in veterans' organizations, and his work as historian of the lst, l0th, and 29th Maine Regiments.

The correspondence and other records in the collection relate in part to Gould's service in the 1st Maine Regiment and its successors, the 10th Maine Regiment and the 29th Maine Regiment. The letters contain descriptions of battles and outcomes in Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and other locations. There is also family and business correspondence and correspondence with other veterans and veterans' organizations. Of note is the correspondence of Adelthia Twitchell and Amelia Jenkins Twitchell, who went from Maine to teach freedmen in Beaufort, South Carolina, 1864-1865; and letters relating to the early career of the zoologist, Edward Sylvester Morse, a close friend of Gould's.

Records of reunions of the lst-l0th-29th Regiment veterans, 1869-1933, include lists of personnel, minutes, and obituaries. Many of these papers document John Mead Gould's activities with the Grand Army of the Republic veterans' association. Legal papers in the collection include commissions, discharges, furloughs, pensions, and other papers.

A long series of memorandum diaries by Gould begin in 1854 at Bethel Academy and continue until 1874; along with Gould's Civil War diaries there is the diary of a Levi Johnson, Company B, 29th Maine Regiment, in South Carolina, 1865. The collection also contains the diaries of Gould's wife, Amelia Jenkins (Twitchell) Gould, 1860, 1862-1863, 1864-1865; diaries written by Samuel McClellan Gould, a Presbyterian minister (Gould's uncle), 1841-1845, 1890-1895; and diaries written about excursions to Antietam, Cedar Mountain, and other battlefields of the Civil War, 1884-1912.

Printed materials include clippings, broadsides, and pamphlets, many from the Civil War era and others from Reconstruction and relating to veterans' activities. Broadsides contain poetry, veteran materials, and political brochures.

There is a substantial series of photographs of the officers and soldiers of the lst-10th-29th Maine Regiment in the war and photographs taken by Gould at various reunions and battlefield tours in Red River, Louisiana; Antietam, Maryland; Cedar Creek, Virginia; and in other locations. Some photographs document locations in Portland and Casco Bay, Maine.

Materials added to the collection in 1988 include photocopies of letters, 1906-1926, from veterans of Gould's Civil War regiment, mostly giving news about the deaths of former members, and a photocopy of an autobiographical and genealogical narrative by Gould and two photographs.

Biographical / historical:

John Mead Gould was born in 1839 in Portland, Maine, the son of a local banker, Edward Gould. His closest friend beginning with his school years was Edward Sylvester Morse (1838-1925), who became a well-known biologist; there are some papers in the collection that relate to his life and career.

Gould enlisted in the Portland Light Guards in April 1861, which then became part of the 1st Maine Regiment, commanded by Colonel Nathaniel Jackson; he then re-enlisted with the 10th Regiment in September 1861, which was commanded by Colonel George L. Beal (who later led the 29th Regiment). This regiment traveled and fought in Harper's Ferry, Winchester, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, and other places in Maryland and in the Shenandoah Valley. During this time Gould was promoted to First Lieutenant and Adjutant, a position which required him to maintain the regiment's records. Gould enlisted again in late 1863 with the 29th Maine Regiment, under Nathaniel Banks, and saw action in the Red River campaign, Louisiana, and in the last campaigns of Virginia in 1864 and 1865. He was elected major of the regiment in 1864. Gould was in a hospital in Harper's Ferry when Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.

After the war's end, he traveled with the 29th Maine Regiment to Georgia and South Carolina, where he took on the duties associated with an occupying army. His comments in his diaries reflect on this time of reconstruction and chaos. He resigned his commission in February 1866 and moved to Yauhanna Ferry, South Carolina, where he lived until 1867, and profited from selling lumber to Maine shipyards.

John Mead Gould returned to his home state of Maine in 1866 and married Amelia Jenkins Twitchell, whose diaries are also in the collection; the couple lived in South Carolina for a time, but financial troubles forced them to return to Maine in 1867. He and Amelia had three children, a daughter and two sons. Gould became active in the veterans' association, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR); he also was appointed to serve the Maine Regiment as their chief historian and secretary. During this time he wrote a history of the regiment and other pieces of writing.

In his later years, Gould entered the banking profession, and retired by 1915. His wife Amelia passed away in 1926 and John Gould died in 1930 at the age of ninety, in Bethel, Maine.

[Source: Adapted from a biography of John Mead Gould published on a descendant's website.]

Acquisition information:
The John Mead Gould papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift and purchase in 1967 and 1988.
Processing information:

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff.

Encoded by Tanya Lee, Carrie Mills, and Paula Jeannet, March 2014.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1967 and 88-084.

Parts of this collection have been given basic processing: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.


Arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Legal Papers, Financial Papers, Writings, Printed Material, Reunion Papers, Photographs, and Volumes.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], John Mead Gould papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.