Category Archives: Research Log

Research Log 5

Source Type:

Research Log Questions

What did you find?

I found The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics 1830-1930 by Anne Firor Scott.

Why does it matter?

Scott's goals include describing the ideal southern womanhood, the effect of the ideal on women, the reality of southern women's lives, and the ways in which the women pursued self-determinism. She also wants to do historical justice to women. She argues that the social roles of women were particularly confined in the South and women's "efforts to free themselves were more complex than those of women elsewhere" (xi). She also asserts that regional and ethnic variations did not prevent the formation of an ideal southern womanhood. Scott relies primarily on the extensive writings of upper-class women.

How did you get there?

I found this scholarly work at Simpson Library.

Did it lead you anywhere? If so, where?

This source is an early work of southern women's studies. It was published in 1970 and it highlights the lack of scholarship in the field.

Research Log 4

Source Type:

Research Log Questions

What did you find?

I found Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Southern Women in the Civil War Era by Laura F. Edwards.

Why does it matter?

Edwards's goals are to compile scholarship written on southern women since 1985 and show how the inclusion of southern women changes our understanding of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She states that it is necessary to study the home front because women struggles as much as men to uphold southern social hierarchy. She tries to cover all races and classes of southern women, but has the greatest number of sources on elite women. Additionally, Edwards primarily focuses on the Deep South.

How did you get there?

I found this monograph in Simpson Library.

Did it lead you anywhere? If so, where?

Edwards believes that few women were belles as well as few women were ardent supporters of the Confederacy. This contradicts other scholarship in the field of southern women's studies. Her work primarily serves as an impetus for further study.

Research Log 3

Source Type:

Research Log Questions

What did you find?

I found Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age during the Civil War by Victoria E. Ott.

Why does it matter?

Like Roberts, Ott also believes in the importance of using age as a lens to understand how young, elite women saw the Confederate cause. Ott also emphasizes that the war caused the young women to be angry and frustrated because they had to quickly mature. According to Ott, the young women understood the ties between slavery and their economic and social status and embraced the ideals that reinforced their status. Born during the 1840s, these young women grew up during the height of the debate over slavery and romanticized the Old South of their mothers' youths. They saw the Civil War as a threat to their way of life and their ability to meet the standards of southern, slave-holding womanhood. Ott poses the following questions ans seeks to answer them through the study of eighty-five young women's written records. What would the young women have gained through Confederate victory and what would they have lost in its defeat? How did they understand their role in the Confederacy? How did they define their roles based on rhetorical ideals and wartime reality? Did their support for the war wane? How did they participate in the creation of Confederate memory? How did they view the New South? Additionally, Ott bases her studies on the theories of William Tuttle and Rebecca Klatch. Ott believes that shared characteristics of age, gender, regional identity, socioeconomic class, and investment in honor created a generational identity. She also relies on census data and the narratives of the women. She concludes that the women promoted antebellum racial and gender ideologies after the war ended.

How did you get there?

I found this work at Simpson Library.

Did it lead you anywhere? If so, where?

Ott asserts that young Confederate women clung to southern gender standards and the system of slavery. Does this assertion hold true for Lucy Buck?

Research Log 2

Source Type:

Research Log Questions

What did you find?

I found The Confederate Belle by Giselle Roberts.

Why does it matter?

Roberts stresses the failure of historians to use age as a category of analysis when studying Confederate women. The purpose of this work is to study the wartime experiences of young, elite women in the "planter ideology" driven societies of Mississippi and Louisiana. She argues that Confederate women continued to embrace antebellum ideals not only because of the privilege granted to them by race, class, and gender, but also because of standards set forth by southern honor. A southern woman upheld her honor by being pious, submissive, pure, and domestic. She reinforced her status by her physical appearances, social relationships, familial roles, and accomplishments. Roberts asserts that young Confederate women experienced the war differently than older women because they did not manage the households, were less interested in politics, employed unique coping strategies, and they understood Union occupation to be an assault against their honor and status. The young women were caught between antebellum ideals, patriotic femininity, and wartime reality.

How did you get there?

I located this monograph at Simpson Library.

Did it lead you anywhere? If so, where?

Roberts emphasizes the lack of scholarship on the importance of honor on the socialization of southern women as well as the women's embrasure of honor during the war. She asserts that historians should study roles and contributions of young Confederate women who acted to uphold their family's honor.

Research Log 1

Source Type:

Research Log Questions

What did you find?

I found "'Her Own Sense of Right': Civil War Rhetoric and Southern Women" by J. Matthew Ward.

Why does it matter?

This analysis of the rhetoric of southern women during the Civil War is important because it provides insight into using language to learn about the women's understandings and acceptance of changing gender roles. Some women used patriotic rhetoric to justify expanding gender roles like nursing while the language of others show their ambivalence or resistance to changing standards.

How did you get there?

I found this scholarly journal article when I searched EBSCOhost for Confederate women's narratives.

Did it lead you anywhere? If so, where?

This article uses the diaries of Elizabeth Brown and Kate Cumming as examples. I could use these diaries as a contrast to Lucy Buck's diary if I chose to. More importantly, the article also references several other scholarly works on gender in the South during the Civil War: Drew Gilpin Faust's Mother's of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, Kimberly Harrison's "Rhetorical Rehearsals: The Construction of Ethos in Confederate Women's Civil War Diaries," and Cheryl Wells' "Battle Time: Gender, Modernity, and Confederate Hospitals."