GAR ballot box, Pittsfield, ca. 1879


Members of the Stephen Davis GAR Post #11 of Pittsfield used this ballot box to vote for candidates for membership in their organization. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a veteran's group created after the Civil War.

Each member cast either a white or black ball for the applicant to indicate acceptance or rejection. A GAR member held the handle of the ballot box, presenting it to others in the post to select the marble indicating his vote. Others could not see this vote as the lid would block the view as the selected marble went into the channel within the box.

The candidate would be rejected or "blackballed" if one or two black balls were in the mix, or accepted if all the cast balls were white.

This ballot box was used at the GAR hall on Park Street in Pittsfield.

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