A Woman Doctor's Civil War: Esther Hill Hawks' Diaryby Gerald Schwartz (Editor)
While most women of the 1860s stayed at home, tending husband and house, Esther Hill Hawks went south to
A physician, a Northerner, a teacher, a school administrator, a suffragist, and an abolitionist, Esther Hill Hawks was the antithesis of Southern womanhood. And those very differences destined her to chronicle the era in which she played such a strange part.
While most women of the 1860s stayed at home, tending husband and house, Esther Hill Hawks went south to minister to black Union troops and newly freed slaves as both a teacher and a doctor. She kept a diary and described the South she saw-conquered but still proud. Her pen, honed to a fine point by her abolitionist views, missed nothing as she traveled through a hungry and ailing land.
In the well-known Diary from Dixie, Mary Boykin Chestnut depicted her native Southland as one of cavaliers with their ladies, statesmen and politicians, honor and glory. But Esther Hill Hawks painted a much different picture. And unlike Miss Chestnut's characters, hers were liberated slaves and their hungry children, swaggering carpetbaggers, occupation troops far from home, and zealous missionaries. Remarkably frank, Esther Hill Hawks' story is one that is long overdue in the telling.
- University of South Carolina Press
- Publication date:
- Women's Diaries and Letters of the Nineteenth Century South Series
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Meet the Author
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gerald Schwartz is a professor of history at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. A graduate of Mexico City College, Dr. Schwartz holds a Ph.D. from Washington State University. His article, "An Integrated Free School in Civil War Florida," which also concerns the career of Dr. Esther Hill Hawks, appeared in The Florida Historical Quarterly.
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