Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Libby Prison Souvenir Key

In Tools and Hardware > Keys > Show & Tell.
Recent activity506 of 237883Hirota Glass hashi (chopsticks)COLEBROOKDALE IRON CO POTTSTOWN PA CAST IRON SAD TRIVET
Love it
Like it

jbingham95jbingham95 loves this.
vcalvcal loves this.
PhilDMorrisPhilDMorris loves this.
CisumCisum loves this.
Falcon61Falcon61 loves this.
yougottahavestuffyougottahavestuff loves this.
Vynil33rpmVynil33rpm loves this.
BHIFOSBHIFOS loves this.
NewfldNewfld loves this.
fortapachefortapache loves this.
WatchsearcherWatchsearcher loves this.
jscott0363jscott0363 loves this.
kev123kev123 loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
collectorpaulcollectorpaul loves this.
See 13 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 13 days ago

    (702 items)

    Libby Prison Souvenir Key

    Approximately 7 ¼” long x 3” wide at the handle.

    This is a souvenir key from the Libby Prison.

    "Libby Prison was dismantled in 1889, the pieces shipped by rail to Chicago, and the structure rebuilt in its entirety to serve as a museum. It was most popular in 1893, the year of both the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago World's Fair) and the combined GAR and UCV Annual Reunion. It was dismantled for good in 1895 and pieces of the structure sold off as souvenirs. Its possible that the key was made from some of the original iron from the prison bars, etc."

    "Libby Prison was a Confederate prison at Richmond, Virginia, during the American Civil War. It gained an infamous reputation for the overcrowded and harsh conditions under which officer prisoners from the Union Army were kept. Prisoners suffered from disease, malnutrition and a high mortality rate. By 1863, one thousand prisoners were crowded into large open rooms on two floors, with open, barred windows leaving them exposed to weather and temperature extremes.

    The prison was located in a three-story brick warehouse on two levels on Tobacco Row at the waterfront of the James River. Prior to use as a jail, the warehouse had been leased by Capt. Luther Libby and his son George W. Libby. They operated a ship's chandlery and grocery business.

    The Confederate government started to use the facility as a hospital and prison in 1861, reserving it for Union officers in 1862 because of the influx of prisoners. It contained eight low-ceilinged rooms, each 103 by 42 feet. The second and third floors were used to house prisoners. Windows were barred and open to the elements, increasing the discomfort. Lack of sanitation and overcrowding caused diseases. From 700 prisoners in 1862, the facility had a total of 1,000 by 1863. Mortality rates were high in 1863 and 1864, aggravated by shortages of food and supplies. Because of the high death toll, Libby Prison is generally regarded as only second in notoriety to Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

    In 1864, the Confederacy moved Union prisoners to Macon, Georgia. The Confederate Army then used the prison for military criminals.

    After the occupation of Richmond in 1865, Union authorities used the prison for detention of former Confederate officers. They reportedly improved conditions over those for Union officers or prisoners of war on both sides generally during the war.

    In 1880, the building was purchased by Southern Fertilizer Company. Nine years later, it was bought by Charles F. Gunther, a candymaker, disassembled, and moved to Chicago, Illinois. There it was rebuilt and renovated to serve as a war museum (1889-1895). After the museum failed to draw enough crowds, the building was dismantled and was sold in pieces as souvenirs.

    “The building is of brick, with a front of near one hundred and forty feet, and one hundred feet deep. It is divided into nine rooms; the ceilings are low, and ventilation imperfect; the windows are barred, through which the windings of James River and the tents of Belle Isle may be seen.”

    In April 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln visited Richmond, Virginia and toured the city on foot. When he came across Libby Prison, a crowd of onlookers stated "We will tear it down", to which Lincoln replied, "No, leave it as a monument."

    See all
    Old Vintage 42 Small Keys Cabinet Wardrobe Money Box Padlock
    Old Vintage 42 Small Keys Cabinet W...
    ONE Antique Corbin Mortise Lock Skeleton Key Door SEE BELOW LIST
    ONE Antique Corbin Mortise Lock Ske...
    Skeleton Key Antique Dolphins Sea Creatures - More Weird Rare Old Keys Here!
    Skeleton Key Antique Dolphins Sea C...
    See all


    1. kev123, 13 days ago
      Interesting history.
    2. jscott0363 jscott0363, 13 days ago
      I love the key and the interesting history as well!!
    3. dav2no1 dav2no1, 13 days ago
      Thank you Scott & Kev 123 for the comments. I think the history is very interesting as well.
    4. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 12 days ago
      I wonder if it would work if I bought it and sent it to an inmate there ?
    5. dav2no1 dav2no1, 12 days ago
      PhilD...maybe... if you had a time machine..

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.