Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gift of Mrs. Kathleen Rutledge
Albert S. Pillsbury of Chelsea, Massachusetts, began working as a Page for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1862, when he was 14 years old. Albert was an old hand around the Capitol by the date of this letter to his mother from January 31, 1865. Along with his request for new pants and musing over whether his older sister had put on weight while visiting New York, he describes the remarkable event of the day—the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. After the vote passed, he declared he’d “never saw such thundering applause before,” with gallery spectators throwing their hats and waving handkerchiefs in celebration.