Civil War Envelopes

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Over the past few months we’ve taken a look at the long and storied history of the envelope, and how envelopes actually played an important role in the history of nations, our own nation included. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest periods of United States history, with millions of Americans fighting and killing their friends, lovers and family members over deep philosophical divides which were much more complex than most people today realize.

While envelopes at the time were still relatively new to mail in our nation, manufacturers made good use of them, not just to send letters, but as propaganda pieces in the war effort. Learn about Civil War envelopes, the role they played in this bloody conflict, and the role they play in our communications and marketing today.

Mail and the Civil War

There were almost 4 million people involved in combat during the Civil War, many of them sent far from home. Some joined up to fight for a cause they staunchly believed in. Others to fight for what they perceived to be a threat to their homes or way of life. Still others sought adventure, excitement and travel only to find that the reality was far darker than the promise.

One of the only things that kept these people sane, and one of the reasons we have so much firsthand knowledge about this conflict, was the practice of letter writing. The envelopes in which these letters were sent served a special purpose. These envelopes were decorated with symbols, faces, and representations of what they were fighting for.

Civil War Envelopes and Propaganda

Over 10,000 Union designs were printed on Civil War envelopes by manufacturers. They carried images of the flag, of the eagle, of reminders of loved ones left at home, even the generals that inspired the troops or darker images like those of the enemy, hanged along the road.

They served to bolster the spirits of the troops, to remind them what it was they fought for, and to keep them going. At the time, for the cost of a dollar, a hundred envelopes with a hundred different decorations were available. Of course, in 1861 a dollar was a lot of money.

Propaganda and Marketing

We think of the term “propaganda” as a negative term, conjuring images of swaying public opinion to a political end. However, propaganda, in the end, is just marketing, and this approach to using envelopes may have directly evolved into our use of custom envelopes for marketing today.

Consider the use of your company logo and mission on a beautiful custom-designed envelope. Think about how the right mailing can make your business a household name. A company like Letter Jacket is proud to continue this tradition of envelopes that inspire, educate, and remind us of what’s important to us in our daily lives.

If you’d like to learn more about how our custom envelopes can take your business to the next level, check out the range of custom envelopes we’ve got available, and get in touch with us for more information or to get started today!

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