IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY WIFE JOANNE ROSA
Dear Friends, Colleagues & Clients,
It is with a badly broken heart that I must report that my loving wife of 41 years, Joanne Rosa, has lost her gallant battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and recently passed away. She left us way too early at the age of 69.
Many of you will remember Joanne as my trusty partner at Civil War shows all over the country in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s.
I’d like to share a behind the scenes story with you. Without Joanne, there never would have been a “Len Rosa, War Between The States.” It was Joanne who first recognized my calling and encouraged me to turn my part time Civil War hobby business into a full-fledged profession. Without her influence, it’s safe to say that I might have taken a very different career path and went into my chosen field of journalism.
My interest in the Civil War began at a very early age. When I was a boy I was always enthralled by the stories my grandmother told me about my great-great grandfather, who fought as a private in the 4th Iowa Cavalry, and that was my initial motivation to study the war and learn as much as I could, and I became a voracious reader. When I first met Joanne she saw my very fervid passion for American history, especially the Civil War era, and she surprised me with a subscription to “Civil War Times Illustrated” a publication that I didn’t even know existed at the time. This further fueled my passion, and then for our first Christmas together she really excited me when I found the original, 2 Volume, 1885 edition of the “Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant,” under the Christmas tree, and I was hooked forever.
I’ll never forget Joanne’s poignant response to me when I was kicking around the idea of starting up a full time company, “I have complete confidence that you will become successful as a dealer and historian in the Civil War field because of your dedication and passion and your willingness to share your knowledge with others,” and even more importantly she said, “I’ve got your back dear, so go for it.” Her strong confidence and profound belief in me became contagious and I put my heart and soul into this venture and am very fortunate and privileged to have spent the last 41 years of my life reading, researching, writing, and presenting the history of the American Civil War through the eyes of those who lived it.
Joanne was always by my side with words of encouragement, and she gave me a big helping hand in running the company, and travelled with me around the back roads of America hunting for Civil War treasures, and setting up with me at the many Civil War conventions we attended. She was extremely valuable to me in every sense of the word, and I couldn’t have teamed up with a better person in the business world, but more importantly as my wife. Joanne was always known for her warm and friendly personality and her beautiful welcoming smile which resonated with every person who ever met her. She was also very intelligent and an extremely untiring worker. No project was too large or intimidating for her to tackle head on.
In very early 2006, Joanne and I changed our base of operations from our beloved adopted hometown of Gettysburg, to Florida. Earlier in the decade I was diagnosed with degenerative cervical spine disease and spinal stenosis and by 2005 it was getting much harder for me to get through the cold, damp, and snowy Pennsylvania winters. My neurosurgeon recommended that moving to a much warmer climate would be a big benefit for my condition, and thus Florida became our new home. Our plan was to start doing many of the shows in the Deep South that we usually didn’t attend, and to keep up our regular schedule of doing many of the other major Civil War shows.
Unfortunately, my spinal disease continued to get much worse and before long I was sidelined and travelling and getting around began to get much harder and eventually next to impossible. My health problems continued when I had to have a very seriously damaged hip totally replaced which still causes me to have problems walking today. Of course Joanne stepped into the breach like the true professional she was, and as she told me many years earlier she certainly did have my back. With the two of us working together as a team, and Joanne taking on much more responsibility, we kept the “WBTS” website catalog active and continued marching on.
Then a day that I could never imagine happening became a horrible reality. I received the devastating news that my beloved Joanne had Alzheimer’s disease. I’ll never forget the words her doctor said to me, “The Joanne you know and love is gone forever. She will lose her memory, her body will eventually shut down, and she will die, and there is nothing we can do to save her.” I then watched helplessly as Joanne slowly died right in front of my eyes. For the last two years of her life Joanne was unable to talk, was totally dependent on 24/7 nursing care, was bedridden, and did not know who she was. I can’t find the words to describe the debt of my heartache. I hope one day soon the medical profession will come up with a cure for this hideous disease, and prevent others from having to experience the terrible nightmare that I did.
Our health issues are the reason why Joanne and I have not made any public appearances in several years. It is also the reason why the “War Between The States” website catalog has not been anywhere near as active as it originally had been since its inception in the late 1990’s. We were always very proud to have one of the first and best historical sites on the internet.
My plan is to remain as active as I can be in the business through my website catalog, although it will never be the same without Joanne. My intention is to continue to march forward and keep “War Between The States” open for as long as my health will allow, and my friends, colleagues and clients continue to encourage and support my efforts. Thank you all.
In closing I would like to say that I kept our health issues private, but now that I am starting to let people know about my situation, I am starting to receive sympathy cards, and condolence emails from friends around the world. I thank each and every one of you for your great kindness to me during my time of grief. Your prayers and well wishes have been a great comfort to me, and I know that Joanne is smiling today knowing how well she was thought of. Her memory will live on forever. Speaking for Joanne and myself, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Len Rosa, Proprietor
War Between The States
ONE OF AMERICA'S LEADING CIVIL WAR DEALERS.
SELLING EXCELLENT QUALITY, AUTHENTIC HISTORICAL MEMORABILIA SINCE 1978!
BUY WITH COMPLETE CONFIDENCE! SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!
Read what some of the leading Civil War authorities, collectors and historians have to say about "War Between The States" and its proprietor, Len Rosa
"For several decades I have known Len Rosa and his lovely wife Joanne who had assisted him very supportively in their business. A finer couple has never existed in this business. Sadly, due to medical issues Joanne is no longer able to participate in the business. Joanne had the greatest smile you could ever encounter . . . It is with great pleasure I profess that you will not meet a more honorable and trustworthy person in this business than Len Rosa. He is true and sincere to the bone! You can be most confident when dealing with him. It truly has been a great pleasure to have known him for all these years. Dave Mark (Anne Arundel House - 18th & 19th Century Antiques & Militaria), 60 years of collecting, 45 years as a full-time dealer, author, contributor to numerous books and articles. (War Between The States footnote about Mr. Mark's 2016 book titled, "Maryland Confederate Faces; A Private Collection." This remarkable hardbound book presents us with the largest collection ever assembled of original photographs of Marylanders who fought for the Confederacy. Published in a limited edition, in full color, it is a must have for any serious student or collector of Civil War photography!)
"I have been a personal friend of Len Rosa for 40 years and also a friendly competitor in this business. I have known Len to be extremely knowledgeable in our field, honest, and beyond reproach in the ethical way he does business." Cary J. Delery, The Historical Shop, Metairie, Louisiana, Dealer in Rare Americana-The Colonial period through the Civil War since 1978.
"As a military museum curator and private collector I have known Mr. Rosa for more than three decades. He is an outstanding dealer of historic artifacts. He has a great knowledge of historic materials and is always honest and fair in his business transactions. I have never found any problems with his listings or transactions. I highly recommend him as a trustworthy dealer of historic materials." Michael J. McAfee, Military Museum Curator, Collector of historic photography, Author and Consultant.
"For the many years I have known Len Rosa he has been a constant student of history, a dedicated collector, and a fair and honest dealer. My interactions with Len have always been pleasant and I recommend him for his knowledge and integrity." Steve Sylvia, Author and Publisher of North South Trader’s Civil War magazine. Mr. Sylvia is also the President of the Civil War Dealers and Collectors Association, and a well known Civil War show promoter.
"I have been purchasing vintage, original Civil War letters and photographs from War Between the States Memorabilia and Len Rosa for more than 25 years. Several of the most important photographs in my collection have come from him. I can personally attest to Len's integrity, honesty and fairness as a dealer -- one whose passion for Civil War history and sharing it with others is fully as important as the marketing side of his business." Bob Zeller, President, The Center for Civil War Photography. Mr. Zeller is also the author of several excellent books on Civil War Photography.
"It has been my pleasure to know Len Rosa for many years. He has always been professional and honest in all of our dealings and I would highly recommend him to any collector whether new or seasoned." Ronn Palm, Museum of Civil War Images, Gettysburg, PA.
"We have known Len Rosa, Proprietor of War Between the States, for nearly 35 years. During this time he has set an industry standard for honesty, integrity and professionalism. We have never ever hesitated to recommend his services to anyone. His reputation for honest and fair dealings in the photography and autograph fields is impeccable. In this day and age of electronic commerce anyone can feel 100% confidence when dealing as a buyer or seller with Len." Sam and Wes Small, The Horse Soldier, Gettysburg, PA.
"We have known & dealt with Len Rosa for more than 35 years. We have known him to be honest, helpful, & with a high degree of integrity. We have always been highly pleased with the material we have purchased from him over the years. His expertise in the autograph, letter, and document world is above reproach. We consider Len not only a fellow colleague but a good friend as well. Brian & Maria Green, Inc., Kernersville, N.C. Brain & Maria are also authenticators & consultants for RR Auction.
"I started collecting Civil War artifacts around 1978. Among the first few people I met was Len Rosa, proprietor of War Between the States Memorabilia. It did not take me long to realize he was not just another Civil War dealer. He was extremely knowledgeable, fair and honest. Over the years we have bought and sold items on many occasions. I think we both walked away realizing we made a fair deal for each of us. He has a genuine interest in Civil War artifacts besides just profit. He is an historian of note and most of all I still, after 35 years, consider him a good friend." Joe Fulginiti, Owner, Valor Art and Frame, Ltd., Fredericksburg, Va.
"I have know Len Rosa for over 30 years, during which time I have been a customer and occasional supplier for him. I have always found him to be knowledgeable, forthright and honest in all of his dealings, both in the early days when he was living in Gettysburg, and now that he is living in Florida. His catalogs of historical documents and autographs are always loaded with fine, genuine and well described items. While there are plenty of "dealers" these days one should be wary of, Len is not one of those. His offerings are always well described and as stated, and I have found them to be fairly priced. I enjoy my business relationship with Len and look forward to many more years of honest transactions. Barry A. Smith, Greensboro, N.C. Member of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association, and The Manuscript Society."
"I am a private collector of Civil War era photographs and ephemera, with a serious collection put together over the years through purchases from a number of sources. Of the dealers I have bought from, none has proven to be more trustworthy and reliable than Len Rosa. Every purchase (and there have been well over a hundred) was handled to my utmost satisfaction, and I have found Mr. Rosa to be consistently professional and responsible, honest with his descriptions, fair with his prices, and timely with his mailings. He is an honorable man worthy of your trust." Mike Stevens, Private Practice Physician. President, Central Virginia Battlefields Trust
"Len Rosa, owner of War Between the States Memorabilia, is a long established and well recognized authority and dealer of historical American artifacts, photographs, and correspondence. His long standing reputation as a scrupulous and entirely honest expert is well established." Wiley Sword. Mr. Sword is a well-known historian and Fletcher Pratt Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominated author who has written several excellent books on the Civil War.
"For the past 30 years, I have had the pleasure of being associated with Len Rosa, both personally and professionally. He is a premier dealer in civil war memorabilia, whose standard for honesty, integrity and professionalism is beyond reproach. Len’s reputation as a civil war dealer is "rock solid" and I would highly recommend him to any collector." Jim Quinlan, USMC (Ret.), Excelsior Brigade, Inc., Alexandria, VA.
"Len Rosa has always been a fine upstanding young man in our dealings. He is knowledgeable and forthright." Dean Thomas, Thomas Publications, Gettysburg, PA. Mr. Thomas is also the author of several excellent books on the Civil War, he has contributed to numerous Civil War related television shows, and has been a well known Civil War show promoter for many years.
"I have been associated with Len Rosa through my store in Gettysburg, Pa. for the past 20 years. I have always found Mr Rosa to be a trusted Civil War photographic and memorabilia seller, buyer, and collector. His honesty and experience is second to none." Ken Boardman, Proprietor, The Antique Center of Gettysburg.
"I’ve been actively purchasing Civil War images and documents online since 1998, and I have to say that Len Rosa is easily among the most honest and most pleasant to do business with. Len’s description of condition has been impeccable, and his integrity where authenticity, price and even “little things” like shipping and his online courtesy are second to none. I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a deal with this fine gentleman.” Jim Stanley of Jim Stanley & Associates.
"I have known Len Rosa for many years. He is one of the preeminent Civil War photograph experts in the country. All of my dealings with him have been extremely positive. I wholeheartedly recommend him to my customers and others who seek to build a museum quality collection of Civil War photography." Mike Medhurst, Owner, Medhurst & Company.
"It has been my privilege for the past 30 plus years to have known and done business with Len Rosa. Throughout these many years, Len has provided collectors a service of honesty and reliability. His material is always 100% authentic and guaranteed. In this day and age when there are sometimes fraudulent items appearing on the internet, it is refreshing to have a resource like War Between the States, where one can go and be assured of quality and authenticity." Cal Packard, Owner, Museum Quality Americana.
"Thank you for your stellar website and the wonderful Civil War artifacts that you offer for purchase in the most integrity-filled experience a collector can have. Your shop is unparalleled. I have purchased many items from you over the years and cherish them. All my experiences have been top-notched. War Between the States is quite simply the best." Britt Isenberg, Licensed Battlefield Guide, Gettysburg National Military Park.
****** To read more testimonials about "War Between The States" please click on the "About Us" link at the bottom of this page ******
Enjoy your visit to the War Between the States where American history lives forever!
· Links · Tell a Friend About this Site! · Join our Mailing List ·
War Between the States