History Vault: Southern Women and their Families in the 19th and 20th Centuries


Seen through women’s eyes, nineteenth century southern social history takes on new dimensions. Subjects that were of only passing interest when historians depended on documents created by men now move to center stage. Women’s letters dwell heavily on illness, pregnancy, and childbirth. From them we can learn what it is like to live in a society in which very few diseases are well understood, in which death is common in all age groups, and where infant mortality is an accepted fact of life. The years of the Civil War are particularly well documented since many women were convinced that they were living through momentous historical events of which they should make a record.

Coverage Dates: 
19th and 20th centuries