Celebrating the Bible in Black History

Collection ID







United States




Printed on Paper


8 × 5 in. (20.3 × 12.5 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

This pension certificate belonged to Pvt. George R. Rome, one of nearly 180,000 African Americans to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War. Rome was born in 1835 to free African American parents in Providence, Rhode Island. He later moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, eventually joining the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and participating in several campaigns, including Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. He survived the war and died in 1900. This document, dated November 4, 1889, records Rome’s pension claim as an army veteran and is part of a small collection of his belongings in the museum’s care, including his pocket New Testament.

Printed in 1889 by the Bureau of Pensions, United States Department of the Interior, Washington, DC; Ownership assumed in 1889 by George R. Rome, Worcester, Massachusetts. Acquired by an anonymous collector, United States; Consigned in 2010 to Swann Auction Galleries, New York;[1] Acquired in 2010 by Seth Kaller, Inc., White Plains, New York; Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] This certificate, along with other items related to Rome’s service, were consigned to auction at Swann Auction Galleries in 2010. The collection went unsold. A representative from Swann was unable to provide further information about the seller. See Swann Galleries, New York, Printed & Manuscript African Americana, February 25, 2010, Lot 281 (email from Swann Auction Galleries to Museum of the Bible, June 4, 2019).

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