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

Overview


Emma Spaulding's life might have been the simple story of a nineteenth-century woman in rural Maine. Instead, wooed by the ambitious John Emory Bryant, the Yankee Reconstruction activist and Georgia politician, she became the Civil War bride of a Republican carpetbagger intent on reforming the South. The grueling years in the shadow of her husband's controversial political career gave her a backbone of steel and the convictions of an early feminist. Emma supported John's agenda-to northernizethe South and work ...
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Overview


Emma Spaulding's life might have been the simple story of a nineteenth-century woman in rural Maine. Instead, wooed by the ambitious John Emory Bryant, the Yankee Reconstruction activist and Georgia politician, she became the Civil War bride of a Republican carpetbagger intent on reforming the South. The grueling years in the shadow of her husband's controversial political career gave her a backbone of steel and the convictions of an early feminist. Emma supported John's agenda-to northernizethe South and work for civil rights for African-Americans- and frequently reflected on national political events. Struggling virtually alone to rear a daughter in near poverty, Emma became an independent thinker, suffragist, and officer in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In eloquent letters, Emma coached her husband's understanding of the woman question;their remarkable correspondence frames a marriage of love and summarizes John's career as it determined the contours of Emma's own story-from the bitter politics of Reconstruction Georgia to her world as a mother, writer, editor, and teacher in Tennessee and, with her husband, running a mission for the homeless in New York.In this extraordinary resource, Ruth Douglas Currie organizes and edits their voluminous correspondence, enhancing the letters with an extensive introduction to Emma Spaulding Bryant's life, times, and legacy.
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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: 9780823222742
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2006
  • Series: Reconstructing America Series , #7
  • Edition description: 2
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 518
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.10 (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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