Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, by Cokie Roberts

By Cokie Roberts

During this engrossing and informative significant other to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil conflict by means of delivering a riveting examine Washington, D.C. and the stories, effect, and contributions of its ladies in this momentous interval of yank history.

With the outbreak of the Civil warfare, the small, social Southern city of Washington, D.C. chanced on itself stuck among warring aspects in a four-year conflict that may ascertain the way forward for the United States.

After the statement of secession, many desirable Southern ladies left the town, leaving their friends—such as Adele Cutts Douglas and Elizabeth Blair Lee—to grapple with issues of safety and sanitation because the capital used to be remodeled into a massive Union military camp and later a clinic. With their husbands, brothers, and fathers marching off to struggle, both at the battlefield or within the halls of Congress, the ladies of Washington joined the reason in addition. And extra ladies went to the Capital urban to enlist as nurses, offer organizers, reduction employees, and reporters. Many risked their lives making munitions in a hugely flammable arsenal, toiled on the Treasury division printing bucks to finance the battle, and plied their needlework abilities on the army Yard—once the only real province of men—to stitch canvas gunpowder luggage for the troops.

Cokie Roberts chronicles those women's expanding independence, their political empowerment, their crucial position in protecting the Union unified in the course of the struggle, and in aiding heal it as soon as the battling used to be performed. She concludes that the conflict not just replaced Washington, it additionally without end replaced where of women.

Sifting via newspaper articles, govt files, and personal letters and diaries—many by no means sooner than published—Roberts brings the war-torn capital into concentration during the lives of its ambitious girls.

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By the time the wedding took place, J. George had already relocated to New York City, and an apartment at 1008 Simpson Street in the Bronx awaited the young couple. J. 4 The Fredericks' Simpson Street flat was located in a ten-family 25 20 • Selling jtyfrs. 5 When the newlyweds settled into their new home in October, Christine became a full-time homemaker. She could not have resumed her fledgling teaching career even if she had wished to do so. 6 In September 1908, nine months after the Fredericks moved into their Bronx apartment, their first child, David Mansfield, was born.

51 In 1915, the Ladies' Home Journal suggested that marriage was far more fulfilling than a career could be. 52 As in the nineteenth century, however, women of the working class worked outside the home out of necessity. At the turn of the century, 32 * Selling ^ïCrs. 53 As Christine labored in her Bronx apartment, the women's movement to gain the vote was moving into its final decade. 58 Several neighbor women were active suffragists, and Christine later claimed that she had marched with the "suffragettes," but her daughter has no recollection of her mother taking any part in the suffrage movement.

George, on the other hand, was on the move in the exhilarating new field of advertising. The dichotomy was striking; he might have been reflecting his own feelings when he had his fictional character's admirer say: "She came from another world than mine—she had a college education and I hadn't; she came from cultivated, artistic people and I came from a farm where six or seven books were thought to be about all anybody ought to fritter away time reading. "11 J. George had grown up among Germans who were known as the "Pennsylvania Dutch" in Reading, eldest son among the ten living children his parents reared.

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