01 July 2008 by Published in: Research and Writing 3 comments

My friend Clark B. “Bud” Hall sent this item along today. This is great news, and an extremely generous gift that will prove invaluable to those who study the life and career of George Armstrong Custer:

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced today that it has donated a collection of civil war artifacts to the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center’s Military History Institute in Carlisle, Penn. The historic collection, which includes more than 200 pieces, belonged to Jacob Lyman Greene, the adjutant general (chief administrative officer) to General George Custer.

“As a Fortune 100 financial services organization, we are committed to giving back to our communities. We are thus very pleased to donate this lasting collection of history to the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center’s Military History Institute,” says Trish Robinson, senior vice president, Strategic Communications and Community Responsibility and deputy head of Government Relations, MassMutual. “The opportunity to honor the legacy of Jacob Greene and preserve this
collection for future generations by housing it at the U.S. Army Military History Institute is a great privilege for MassMutual.”

Greene was the fifth president of Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, which became a part of MassMutual in 1996. His collection, valued at more than $800,000, dates back to the early 1860’s during the beginning days of the Civil War. His trunk, which he left behind at Connecticut Mutual, includes a variety of his military papers, letters and commissions as well as court martial documents, for soldiers in his cavalry. In addition, the collection contains Greene’s military commission to captain signed by Abraham Lincoln and a splinter of wood from his bunk at Libby Prison, where he was once a prisoner of war.

“We know these important pieces of history will be in great hands at the institute,” notes Ms. Robinson. “Our hope is that they will shed more light on not only the lives of Jacob Greene and General Custer, but also the lives of the soldiers serving under them.”

Colonel Rob Dalessandro, Director of the Army Heritage and Education Center, echoed Ms. Robinson’s assessment. “The Jacob Greene materials are a significant addition to the Army Heritage
and Education Center’s extensive holdings on the American Civil War,” he said. “We are honored to be the stewards of Captain Greene’s legacy. His story is a fine example of the service America’s soldiers have rendered to the nation.”

MassMutual inherited the collection when Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company became a part of it. Greene’s collection was recently flown to the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center endeavors to “Tell the Army’s Story, One Soldier at a Time.” Their collection of personal papers, photographs, manuscripts and other materials is widely
regarded as the finest collection of primary source material on the U.S. Army in the world.

Kudos to MassMutual for doing the unselfish thing and for making this archive of material available to researchers like me. Greene was captured at Trevilian Station, so he’s of great interest to me, and I wish I had had this material available to me when I was researching the story of the Battle of Trevilian Station.

Thanks also to Bud Hall for passing this along.

Scridb filter


  1. dan
    Tue 01st Jul 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Good to see some good news coming out of the Bay State! As a former Bostonian, I’m sure proud of these folks at MassMutual. Now, will the oil companies follow suit and cut the price of oil/gasoline because like MassMutual they “want to give back to the community”? Hhhhmmm, let me think about this for a moment… nope. Not gonna happen. But it was a nice thought. Bravo to MassMutual!
    And Bob Hall is a great guy, too!
    formerly CWRTGB

  2. Sue
    Tue 01st Jul 2008 at 11:36 pm

    here here!

    Eric – I am sorry to approach you in this manner -but I couldn’t find an email for you… I would appreciate it if you contacted me via my email.

  3. Art Bergeron
    Wed 02nd Jul 2008 at 8:20 am

    This outstanding collection will not be available to researchers in the near future. The archivists and catalogers at the Military History Institute are aware of the significance of the collection and wil try to process it as quickly as possible. It is my hope that an announcement on its availability will be made when the papers have been organized and cataloged.

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