Women's Biography

Burying the Dead But Not the Past

Burying the Dead But Not the Past

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Immediately after the Civil War, white women across the South organized to retrieve the remains of Confederate soldiers. In Virginia alone, these Ladies' Memorial Associations (LMAs) relocated and reinterred the remains of more than 72,000 soldiers. Challenging the notion that southern white women were peripheral to the Lost Cause movement until the 1890s, Caroline Janney restores these women as the earliest creators and purveyors of Confederate tradition. Long before national groups such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the United Daughters of the Confederacy were established, Janney shows, local LMAs were earning sympathy for defeated Confederates. Her exploration introduces new ways in which gender played a vital role in shaping the politics, culture, and society of the late nineteenth-century South.

Mary Chestnut's Diary

Mary Chestnut's Diary

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An unrivalled account of the American Civil War from the Confederate perspective.

One of the most compelling personal narratives of the Civil War, Mary Chesnut's Diary was written between 1861 and 1865. As the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner and the wife of an aide to the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, Chesnut was well acquainted with the Confederacy's prominent players and-from the very first shots in Charleston, South Carolina-diligently recorded her impressions of the conflict's most significant moments. One of the most frequently cited memoirs of the war, Mary Chesnut's Diary captures the urgency and nuance of the period in an epic rich with commentary on race, status, and power within a nation divided.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Nurse, Soldier, Spy The Story of Sara Edmonds A Civil War Hero

Nurse, Soldier, Spy The Story of Sara Edmonds A Civil War Hero

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A thrilling picture book biography of Civil War soldier Sarah Emma Edmonds, from award-winning creators Marissa Moss and John Hendrix

When Frank Thompson sees a recruitment poster for the new Union army, he's ready and willing to enlist. Except Frank isn't his real name. In fact, Frank is really Sarah Emma Edmonds, in disguise.

Only nineteen years old, Sarah has already been dressing as a man for three years and living on the run in order to escape an arranged marriage. She's tasted freedom, and as far as she's concerned, there's no going back.

Eager to fight for the North during the Civil War, Sarah joins a Michigan infantry regiment. She excels as a soldier and even takes on the grueling task of nursing the wounded. Because of her heroism, she is asked to become a spy, cross enemy lines, and infiltrate a Confederate camp. For her first mission, Sarah must once again disguise herself and rely on the kindness of enslaved people to help her do her job.

This incredible true story of a brave young woman who makes an unlikely choice to fight for her country is one that should not be lost to history.

Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed: Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice

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Stealing Secrets How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War

Stealing Secrets How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War

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The clever, devious, daring women who helped turn the tides of the Civil War

During America's most divisive war, both the Union and Confederacy took advantage of brave and courageous women willing to adventurously support their causes. These female spies of the Civil War participated in the world's second-oldest profession--spying--a profession perilous in the extreme. The tales of female spies are filled with suspense, bravery, treachery, and trickery. They took enormous risks and achieved remarkable results--often in ways men could not do. These are the bold, untold stories of women shaping our very nation. Stepping out of line and into battle, these women faced clandestine missions, treason, and death, all because of their passionate commitment to their cause.

These are the unknown Civil War stories you need to hear.

As stated on the grave marker of Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew:
She risked everything that is dear to man--friends, fortune, comfort, health, life itself.

They Fought Like Demons Women Soldiers in the Civil War

They Fought Like Demons Women Soldiers in the Civil War

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"Albert Cashier" served three years in the Union Army and passed successfully as a man until 1911 when the aging veteran was revealed to be a woman named Jennie Hodgers. Frances Clayton kept fighting even after her husband was gunned down in front of her at the Battle of Murfreesboro. And more than one soldier astonished "his" comrades-in-arms by giving birth in camp.

This lively and authoritative book opens a hitherto neglected chapter of Civil War history, telling the stories of hundreds of women who adopted male disguise and fought as soldiers. It explores their reasons for enlisting; their experiences in combat, and the way they were seen by their fellow soldiers and the American public. Impeccably researched and narrated with verve and wit, They Fought Like Demons is a major addition to our understanding of the Civil War era.

Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell

Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell

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Born into slavery during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) would become one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging the late nineteenth century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s. The first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a founding member of the NAACP, Terrell collaborated closely with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Unceasing Militant is the first full-length biography of Terrell, bringing her vibrant voice and personality to life. Though most accounts of Terrell focus almost exclusively on her public activism, Alison M. Parker also looks at the often turbulent, unexplored moments in her life to provide a more complete account of a woman dedicated to changing the culture and institutions that perpetuated inequality throughout the United States.

Drawing on newly discovered letters and diaries, Parker weaves together the joys and struggles of Terrell's personal, private life with the challenges and achievements of her public, political career, producing a stunning portrait of an often-under recognized political leader.



We Were There, Too: Pioneering Appalachian Trail Women

We Were There, Too: Pioneering Appalachian Trail Women

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When most people think of the making and developing of the Appalachian Trail for the past century, they think of Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery and a few other men. Yet throughout those ten decades, talented, strong, and effective women stood and worked right alongside them--not behind them. Indeed, the meeting that created the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 1925 was entirely organized by one talented, strong, and effective woman. This is the story of leading lights among that corps of overlooked trail-builders.
Wild Rose The True Story of a Civil War Spy

Wild Rose The True Story of a Civil War Spy

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For sheer bravado and style, no woman in the North or South rivaled the Civil War heroine Rose O'Neale Greenhow. Fearless spy for the Confederacy, glittering Washington hostess, legendary beauty and lover, Rose Greenhow risked everything for the cause she valued more than life itself. In this superb portrait, biographer Ann Blackman tells the surprising true story of a unique woman in history.

"I am a Southern woman, born with revolutionary blood in my veins," Rose once declared-and that fiery spirit would plunge her into the center of power and the thick of adventure. Born into a slave-holding family, Rose moved to Washington, D.C., as a young woman and soon established herself as one of the capital's most charming and influential socialites, an intimate of John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and Dolley Madison.

She married well, bore eight children and buried five, and, at the height of the Gold Rush, accompanied her husband Robert Greenhow to San Francisco. Widowed after Robert died in a tragic accident, Rose became notorious in Washington for her daring-and numerous-love affairs.

But with the outbreak of the Civil War, everything changed. Overnight, Rose Greenhow, fashionable hostess, become Rose Greenhow, intrepid spy. As Blackman reveals, deadly accurate intelligence that Rose supplied to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard written in a fascinating code (the code duplicated in the background on the jacket of this book). Her message to Beauregard turned the tide in the first Battle of Bull Run, and was a brilliant piece of spycraft that eventually led to her arrest by Allan Pinkerton and imprisonment with her young daughter.

Indomitable, Rose regained her freedom and, as the war reached a crisis, journeyed to Europe to plead the Confederate cause at the royal courts of England and France.
Drawing on newly discovered diaries and a rich trove of contemporary accounts, Blackman has fashioned a thrilling, intimate narrative that reads like a novel. Wild Rose is an unforgettable rendering of an astonishing woman, a book that will stand with the finest Civil War biographies.

Women at the Front Hospital Workers in Civil War America

Women at the Front Hospital Workers in Civil War America

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As many as 20,000 women worked in Union and Confederate hospitals during America's bloodiest war. Black and white, and from various social classes, these women served as nurses, administrators, matrons, seamstresses, cooks, laundresses, and custodial workers. Jane E. Schultz provides the first full history of these female relief workers, showing how the domestic and military arenas merged in Civil War America, blurring the line between homefront and battlefront.

Schultz uses government records, private manuscripts, and published sources by and about women hospital workers, some of whom are familiar--such as Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Louisa May Alcott, and Sojourner Truth--but most of whom are not well-known. Examining the lives and legacies of these women, Schultz considers who they were, how they became involved in wartime hospital work, how they adjusted to it, and how they challenged it. She demonstrates that class, race, and gender roles linked female workers with soldiers, both black and white, but became sites of conflict between the women and doctors and even among themselves.

Schultz also explores the women's postwar lives--their professional and domestic choices, their pursuit of pensions, and their memorials to the war in published narratives. Surprisingly few parlayed their war experience into postwar medical work, and their extremely varied postwar experiences, Schultz argues, defy any simple narrative of pre-professionalism, triumphalism, or conciliation.

As many as 20,000 women worked in Union and Confederate hospitals during America's bloodiest war. Black and white, and from various social classes, these women served as nurses, administrators, matrons, seamstresses, cooks, laundresses, and custodial workers. Jane Schultz provides the first full history of these female relief workers, showing how the domestic and military arenas merged in Civil War America, blurring the line between homefront and battlefront. Examining the lives and legacies of Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Susie King Taylor, and others, Schultz demonstrates that class, race, and gender roles linked female workers with soldiers, both black and white. These same factors also stoked conflict between the hospital women and doctors and even among the women themselves.