This collection consists of Civil War correspondence between Henry Van Sellar and his future wife, Sallie Pattison, as well as letters Pattison exchanged with friends and family members.
Henry Van Sellar moved to Edgar County, Illinois, in 1860, where he briefly taught school before enlisting in the 12th Illinois Volunteer Infantry of the Union Army during the Civil War. He was mustered out as a colonel. In the years after the war, Van Sellar became a lawyer, the mayor of Paris, Illinois, a state senator in the 34th Illinois General Assembly, and a circuit judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit.
The collection primarily consists of correspondence between Henry Van Sellar and his future wife, Sallie Pattison, exchanged during the Civil War. The letters contain descriptions of the south and references to Abraham Lincoln's assassination. They also provide insight into the social and religious customs of a young couple during the Civil War. The collection also includes letters Pattison exchanged with various friends and family members, two wedding portraits of the Van Sellars, and a photographic negative of Henry Van Sellar in his army uniform.
B. F. Henderson of Georgetown, Illinois, donated the collection to the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, in 1967.