Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Working on next week's book talk for Women During the Civil War. There are so many fascinating stories, it's incredibly difficult to select an hour's worth. I'm definitely going to talk about the war-related activity that occupied more women than any other, the soldiers' aid societies. I plan to talk about the contributions of industrial women, emphasizing the hazards of this work, including the explosion that claimed the lives of many girls and young women ordnance workers at the Confederate State Laboratory in Richmond, the tragedy of the Roswell Women in Georgia, and the devastating fire at the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which brought to the nation's attention the deplorable working conditions of factory women. I'll also discuss the suffering of Southern women and children of all races during the war, a topic that Northerners know little about.

I'll probably also discuss a number of stories and anecdotes about political women--Anna Dickinson, the fiery abolitionist orator; Mary Todd Lincoln and Jessie Benton Fremont who aggressively and controversially promoted their husbands' careers; and Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who organized the first national political organization of women, dedicated to securing passage of the Thirteenth Amendment guaranteeing the freedom of all African Americans.


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