Emma Spaulding Bryant: Civil War Bride, Carpetbagger's Wife, Ardent Feminist: Letters 1860-1900

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"Wooed by her ambitious schoolmaster, John Emory Bryant, Emma Spaulding became the Civil War bride of a radical Republican carpetbagger in Georgia. For Emma Spaulding, life might have been the simple story of a nineteenth-century woman in rural Maine. Instead, Emma Spaulding Bryant emerges as one of the more interesting women of nineteenth-century America." In this collection of letters, Emma's writings reveal a woman of determination, faith, and integrity who embraced her own causes of women's rights and temperance while maintaining full support for her husband's controversial agenda. Covering her life in Buckfield, Maine, from her marriage to a captain in the Eighth Maine Infantry, to her move to Georgia as the wife of one of the prominent figures in Reconstruction politics, the letters open a window on what life was like for an intelligent, independent woman during three of America's most turbulent decades.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The editor's supporting commentary is very helpful, since she has already given John's side of the story.

The editor, who provides much valuable background information about Mrs. Bryant's life and times, has done a great deal of careful research.

"A stunning book about a very complicated young lady in a very challenging time. This book will keep the reader amazed from cover to cover."--The Lone Star Book Review

"As bad as carpetbaggers had it in the South, the letters of Emma Spaulding Bryant remind us that their wives may have had it worse. They held together hearth and home as their itinerant husbands ping-ponged between political and missionary jobs. John Emory Bryant, a Union veteran and Georgia carpetbagger whose career was dogged by controversy, could scarcely have been easy to live with. A probable philanderer, he once accused his wife of unfaithfulness for letting a male doctor perform a gynecological examination. Emma never bowed to his self-righteousness, always standing her ground, and increasingly affirming her own claims to equality. As she turned to teaching, and became active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, she grew steadily in self-confidence. Ruth Currie's meticulous assembling and editing of these revealing letters from the domestic sphere offers a privileged look at the interior life of a woman reaching maturation as a woman."--Lawrence N. Powell, Tulane University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823222735
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Series: Reconstructing America Series
  • Edition description: 2
  • Pages: 518
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Douglas Currie is Professor of History and Political Science at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She is the author of Carpetbagger of Conscience: A Biography of John Emory Bryant (Fordham).

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