Alexandria Library, Special Collections: Guide to Women's History Resources: Books


VF People-Wren VF People-Smith VF People-Unidentified
Biographies   ||   Civil War   ||   Colonial and Antebellum   ||   Genealogy   ||   General
If a woman was famous (or infamous) enough, there may be a biography about her. Our collection includes works on Martha Washington, Mary Custis Lee, Belle Boyd and Pocahontas, among others. To search for specific titles, please consult the library catalog.
Civil War Era
Buck, Lucy Rebecca. Shadows on My Heart: The Civil War Diary of Lucy Rebecca Buck of Virginia. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1997.   The diary of a young woman living in Front Royal during the Civil War. Although she outwardly fit many of the stereotypes associated with the image of the southern belle, her candid and frank diary entries help shed light on what life was really like for Southern women during this period.   973.782 Buc
Campbell, Edward D. C., Jr. and Rice, Kym S., eds. A Woman's War: Southern Women, Civil War, and the Confederate Legacy. Richmond: Museum of the Confederacy, 1996.   Created as an accompaniment to the Museum of the Confederacy's 1996 centennial exhibition, this volume contains essays exploring the experiences of women during the war and the role of women in the Museum of the Confederacy. Supplemented by photographs of materials from the museum's collections.   973.7082 Wom
Culpepper, Marilyn Mayer. Trials and Triumphs: Women of the American Civil War. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1991.   Using numerous quotes from letters, diaries and other materials written by Southern women during the war, Culpepper explores the different roles they played and how the war changed their lives.   973.715 Cul
Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.   Chapters describing the unique roles played by slaveholding women during the Civil War. Topics addressed include dealings with invading Northern soldiers, relationships between husbands and wives during the war, and women and religion.   973.715 Fau
Leonard, Elizabeth D. All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1999.   Overview of different non-traditional capacities in which women served: spies, "army women", dressing as men, and becoming soldiers. Covers both the North and the South.   973.7082 Leo
Sullivan, Walter, ed. The War the Women Lived: Female Voices from the Confederate South. Nashville: J.S. Sanders, 1995.   Southern women's first-hand accounts of different phases of the war. Includes information from several women with ties to Alexandria.   973.782 War
Wakeman, Sarah Rosetta. An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, Alias Private Lyons Wakeman 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers. Pasadena, Maryland: The Minerva Center, 1994.   A collection of letters written by Rosetta Wakeman, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Civil War. Also includes a good overview of the phenomenon of women serving as soldiers.   973.781 Wak
Woolsey, Jane Stuart. Hospital Days: Reminiscence of a Civil War Nurse. [Roseville, MN]: Edinborough Press, 1996.   Originally published in 1868, this account of Jane Woolsey's Civil War experiences reads almost like a novel. Woolsey and several of her sisters worked for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and she was involved with the Union hospital on the Fairfax Theological Seminary grounds near Alexandria.   973.776 Woo
Colonial and Antebellum Eras
Farnham, Christie Anne. The Education of the Southern Belle: Higher Education and Student Socialization in the Antebellum South. New York: New York University Press, 1994.   A look at opportunities for college education in the pre-Civil-War South, with sections on curriculum, friendship, and sororities. Also examines the role education played in the image of the Southern belle.   376.975 Far
Gaspar, David Barry and Hine, Darlene Clark, eds. More Than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.   Fifteen essays examining the experiences of slave women in North and South America and the Caribbean. Topics include the connection between African traditions and American slave life; work; and resistance to slavery.   306.362 Mor
Kierner, Cynthia A. Beyond the Household: Women's Place in the Early South, 1700-1835. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1998.   Kierner discusses the ways in which Southern women were involved in public life, arguing that many women's activities can be viewed as participation in the public sphere. The book covers the colonial period, the Revolution, and the development of republican ideology.   305.4209 Kie
               . Southern Women in Revolution, 1776-1800: Personal and Political Narratives. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998.   Petitions submitted by women in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia during and after the American Revolution. Accompanied by introductory material and essays that explain the experiences of women during this era.   305.4097 Kie
McMillen, Sally Gregory. Southern Women: Black and White in the Old South. Arlington Heights, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, 1992.   Overview of family life, childrearing, education, religion, and work for black and white women in the antebellum era.   305.4 McM
               . Motherhood in the Old South: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Infant Rearing. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990.   McMillen examines the medical and social issues that defined childbirth and child-rearing in the antebellum South. Her study explores the increasing influence of physicians in reproductive matters; the attitudes of men and women to pregnancy, birth, and early childhood care; and the unique dangers that Southern women faced. 306.8743 McM
Varon, Elizabeth R. We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.   A look at political action taken by "ladies" in Virginia before the Civil War, including the prominence of benevolent societies and the role of the Whig party. Also includes a discussion of African-American mutual aid societies. 306.2 Var
Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors: Special Strategies for Uncovering Hard-to-find Information about Your Female Lineage. Cincinnati, Ohio: Betterway Books, 1998.   Discusses sources created by women and sources created about them. Includes many examples of how to use these resources in finding out information, such as maiden names, in genealogical research. Extensive bibliography.   929.1 Car
Schaefer, Christina K. The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1999.   Overview of legal sources that can be used to learn more about female ancestors. Includes timeline of important dates, glossary, bibliography, and a section detailing resources for individual states.   929.1082 Sch
Family Histories   Special Collections has many published family histories, mostly about Virginia families. Details of the lives of individual women can be found therein. Check the catalog for particular titles; most will be found under the call number 929.2 in the stacks.
Barney, Sandra L. Authorized to Heal: Gender, Class, and the Transformation of Medicine in Appalachia, 1880-1930. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.   The author looks at the roles of male physicians, female reformers, and benevolent groups in Appalachia, describing how the groups interacted with and influenced each other in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.   362.1097 Bar
Bernhard, Virginia, et. al., eds. Southern Women: Histories and Identities. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992.   Papers from the first Southern Conference on Women's History, including topics such as women's involvement in Bacon's Rebellion, the mammy image, and the Texas woman suffrage movement.   305.4 Sou
Bleser, Carol, ed. In Joy and in Sorrow: Women, Family, and Marriage in the Victorian South, 1830-1900. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.   Essays by a variety of scholars addressing family issues for women of the upper and lower classes, black and white.   305.4097 Ble
Clinton, Catherine. Tara Revisited: Women, War and the Plantation Legend. New York: Abbeville Press, 1995.   Overview of roles played by women during antebellum period, Civil War and Reconstruction, with a final section on the mythology of Southern women as presented in movies like Gone with the Wind.   973.715 Cli
               , ed. Half Sisters of History: Southern Women and the American Past. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.   Ten essays dealing with varied aspects of Southern women's history, including topics such as Native American women and the cult of domesticity, black women and the foundation of the feminist movement in the 1970s, and labor issues faced by Appalachian women.   305.4097 Hal
Morton, Patricia, ed. Discovering the Women in Slavery: Emancipating Perspectives on the American Past. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996.   Essays by a variety of authors considering different aspects of slave life and, in some instances, life after slavery. An effort to tie slavery studies to women's studies.   975.0049 Mor
Terry, Gail S. Documenting Women's Lives: User's Guide to Manuscripts at the Virginia Historical Society. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1996.   An overview of the account books, diaries, organizational records and personal papers held by the Virginia Historical Society that provide information on women's lives.   011.31 Doc
Wolfe, Margaret Ripley. Daughters of Canaan: A Saga of Southern Women. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1995.   An overview of Southern women's history, examining women of all colors and social classes, from early times to the present. 305.4097 Wol