CWLM SETTLEMENT GOES TO JUDGE; NEW BOARD READY TO START WORK
HARRISBURG, October 20, 2003 – A settlement agreement relating to the significant collection of Civil War artifacts and documents at the Civil War Library and Museum in Philadelphia will be submitted today to the judge overseeing the litigation in the Civil War Library and Museum case.
The centerpiece of the settlement ensures the future viability of this collection in the City of Philadelphia and the creation of a new board, to include new members representing the Philadelphia business, academic, historical and cultural communities. The goal of the new board is to begin work on establishing a museum in the city, if Judge Anne E. Lazarus of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Orphans’ Court Division, approves the settlement.
"I am pleased that we have reached a resolution that keeps the collection in Philadelphia and allows us to focus our efforts on building a new museum in the city," said state Senator Vincent Fumo, one of the primary litigants, along with state Rep. James Roebuck.
"This is a treasure that is intertwined with the history of Philadelphians’ participation in the War Between the States, and it belongs here," said Roebuck.
Michael A. Schwartz, president of the current Board of Governors of the CWLM, said: "I am pleased that the various parties have ended their dispute over the ownership of the historic Civil War collection and library, and I look forward, as do the current board members of the CWLM, to actively working to assist the new board in the creation of a new, state-of-the-art facility to house the collection, which will become a great source of pride to all Philadelphians and for the citizens of the State of Pennsylvania and Civil War fans throughout the United States."
In part because it faced financial difficulties several years ago, the board of directors of the current Civil War Library and Museum (CWLM), located at 1805 Pine Street, contemplated loaning part of its collection to a new museum planned for Richmond, Va., in return for promised financial support for a new museum in Philadelphia.
Attorney General Mike Fisher, members of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), and Fumo and Roebuck sued in 2001 to prevent the loan of CWLM items outside Philadelphia. Last October 30, they announced that they had reached an agreement in principle with the board of the CWLM to settle the case. Terms of that agreement have now been finalized and are being submitted to Judge Lazarus.
"MOLLUS is very excited that the litigation is over and this wonderful collection is now poised to receive the attention it deserves. Anyone interested in the Civil War or in the vibrancy of our region's cultural offerings should applaud this great new beginning," said Herbert K. Zearfoss of MOLLUS, who will be a member of the new board. "For its part, MOLLUS looks forward to helping the new museum grow, both by having members on the new museum's board and by continuing its long relationship with the collection in other ways."
MOLLUS is the organization of Union officers and their descendants who assembled the collection and formed the original War Library and Museum in 1888 to hold the collection.
The new board will comprise 17 members – six appointed by the current board of the CWLM, two appointed by MOLLUS, four appointed jointly by Fumo, Roebuck and MOLLUS, and five, who are unconnected to the litigation, chosen by the other 12 appointed members. The board has already met unofficially, and has determined that it will elect attorney Harris Baum of Philadelphia as chair, and Schwartz and Exelon Corporation senior vice president David W. Woods as co-vice chairs.
"The museum we are creating will be a tribute to all Philadelphians. It will provide educational opportunities regarding the tragedy of that terrible conflict -- brother against brother, father against son and the anguish of slavery, and the heroic actions of those who aided runaway slaves on their journey seeking freedom from the oppressive chains of slavery," said Baum.
Among those joining Baum, Schwartz, Woods and Zearfoss on the new board are George E. Davis, Senior Vice President of Lincoln National Corporation, Stephen M. Giroux, senior vice president of American Business and Financial Services, and Dr. Russell Weigley, a Distinguished University Professor in history at Temple. (A list of all 17 board members is attached.)
"We have assembled a highly competent board," said Fumo. "It has expertise in Civil War history, but it is also familiar with the cultural and business milieu in Philadelphia. It will be able to bring intellectual, financial and social resources to bear to create another first-class historical attraction in Philadelphia.
"Nevertheless, the board is facing an imposing challenge of raising money for its new home. I’m confident that community leaders in Philadelphia will demonstrate their commitment to locating this facility here by providing their support," Fumo added.
As part of their commitment to keep the museum in Philadelphia and to continue the current operation until a new home is found, Fumo and Roebuck (both Philadelphia Democrats) secured a state Capital Budget authorization of $15 million, as well as other funding support.
Under the settlement, the existing museum in cramped quarters on Pine Street will remain open until a new museum within the city is ready. The hope is that this will occur within five years. The new home, the exact site of which has not yet been selected, will eventually display the CWLM’s historically significant collection of Civil War artifacts.
The settlement paves the way for the loaning of a portion of the archival material to the Abraham Lincoln Foundation’s Center for Civil War Studies at the Union League on Broad Street. In return, the Abraham Lincoln Foundation has agreed to add two members of the CWLM to its board. Augmenting the collection of documents already at the Union League, the CWLM material will help create one of the best Civil War research facilities in the nation.
The new organization, to be known as the Philadelphia Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum, will attempt to build relationships with other qualified Civil War Institutions, to loan and share items from their respective collections.
The collection consists mainly of loaned and donated items that once belonged to Union soldiers from Philadelphia and across the country that were gathered by MOLLUS immediately following the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. It includes items from General George Gordon Meade, commander of the Union forces at Gettysburg and a former resident of the neighborhood in which the museum is now located. It also includes items from northern generals Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes, both of whom later became Presidents of the United States, as well as a death mask of Abraham Lincoln.
For more information, contact:
John F. Schultz, Esq. (CWLM), 215-988-2700
Herbert K. Zearfoss(MOLLUS), 610-525-7447
James Straw (Lincoln Foundation) 215-790-105
Sean Connolly (Attorney General) 717-787-5211
David Moltke-Hansen (Historical Society of Pa.) 215-732-6200
Harris Baum (newly created board) 215-569-2800
Harriet Lessy (for the newly created board) 215-413-2899
Bonnie Squires (for Rep. Roebuck) 610-649-0998
attachment: Members of the New Board of Governors
PHILADELPHIA CIVIL WAR & UNDERGROUND RAILROAD MUSEUM
BOARD OF GOVERNORSTHREE-YEAR TERM OF OFFICE
Appointee of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States –– Commandery for the State of Pennsylvania:
Financial Analyst and officer of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Appointee of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States –– Commandery-in-Chief:
Herbert Zearfoss, Esq.
Retired Corporate Counsel and officer of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Appointees of The Civil War Library and Museum:
President of DelVal Business Finance Corporation and current President of the Civil War Library & Museum Board of Governors
Francis G. Vitetta
Chairman of the Board of VITETTA "Architects Engineers and Planners" and currentGovernor of the Civil War Library & Museum
J. Gregory Acken
National Sales Manager for Unilever Bestfoods, author, and current Governor of the Civil War Library & Museum
Vice President for Smith Barney and current Governor of the Civil War Library & Museum
President and CEO of Magarick & Associates Advertising and current Governor of the Civil War Library & Museum
John F. Schultz, Esq.
Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Appointees, jointly, of Sen. Fumo, Rep. Roebuck and MOLLUS:
E. Harris Baum, Esq.
Partner, Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer Toddy P.C.
George E. Davis
Senior Vice President & Director of Human Resources, Lincoln National Corporation
Stephen M. Giroux
Senior Vice President & General Counsel, American Business Financial Services
Community & Economic Development Consultant
FOUR-YEAR TERM OF OFFICE
Chosen by the other 12 Appointees:
Dr. Lisa Hill
Assistant Professor of History, American University
Senior Vice President, Account Services, Dudnyk Advertising and Public Relations
General Clifford L. Stanley (Ret. USMC)
Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Russell F. Weigley
Distinguished University Professor, Temple University
David W. Woods
Senior Vice President Communications, Governmental & Public Affairs, Exelon