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Despite their prevailing image and stereotype, southern women have often gone "beyond convention," living on their own terms within a society that revered tradition and compliance. Spanning the colonial era to the mid-twentieth century, Beyond Image and Convention documents women from widely varied social, economic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds who acted outside the accepted gender boundaries of their day.

Reflecting the quality and breadth of current scholarship in the field of southern women's history, this collection of essays relies upon previously untapped documentary evidence and, in the process, crafts provocative new interpretations of our collective past. The essays explore the historical experience of black and white southern women across nearly three centuries, including a white woman's sexual misconduct in colonial North Carolina, one slave woman's successful attempt to carve out an autonomous existence in southwestern Virginia, an ex-slave's fight for freedom in postbellum Missouri, and the civil rights activism of two white southern women—Sarah Patton Boyle of Virginia and Alice Norwood Spearman of South Carolina.

Breaking new ground in the study of women's history, Beyond Image and Convention provides valuable insights for both specialists and general readers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This compelling collection offers us a challenging perspective on both the past and our prospects. We are indebted to its authors and its editors."—Catherine Clinton

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826211736
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 7/6/1998
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet L. Coryell is Associate Professor of History at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. She is the author or editor of several works, including Neither Heroine nor Fool: Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland.

Martha H. Swain is Professor of History at Mississippi State University in Starkville. Her publications include Ellen S. Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women.

Sandra Gioia Treadway is the Deputy Director of the Library of Virginia in Richmond. She is the author or editor of several publications, including Women of Mark: A History of the Woman's Club of Richmond, Virginia.

Elizabeth Hayes Turner is Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston-Downtown. Her latest publication is Women, Culture, and Community: Religion and Reform in Galveston, 1880-1920.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Introduction 1
"Common Disturbers of the Peace": The Politics of White Women's Sexual Misconduct in Colonial North Carolina 10
Between Mistress and Slave: Elizabeth Wirt's White Housekeepers, 1808-1825 28
Enthusiasm, Possession, and Madness: Gender and the Opposition to Methodism in the South, 1770-1810 53
Making the Most of Life's Opportunities: A Slave Woman and Her Family in Abingdon, Virginia 74
Her Will against Theirs: Eda Hickam and the Ambiguity of Freedom in Postbellum Missouri 99
Half My Heart in Dixie: Southern Identity and the Civil War in the Writings of Mary Virginia Terhune 119
Making the Connection: Public Health Policy and Black Women's Volunteer Work 138
Sarah Patton Boyle's Desegregated Heart 158
Alice Norwood Spearman Wright: Civil Rights Apostle to South Carolinians 184
About the Authors and the Editors 209
Index 213
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