Southern Single Blessedness: Unmarried Women in the Urban South, 1800-1865

Overview

In this engaging study, Christine Jacobson Carter uncovers the fruitful and interesting lives of single women—and the attitudes toward them—in the bustling urban centers of nineteenth-century Savannah and Charleston.

Carter's focus is on educated, financially secure white women who joined in the culture's celebration of domesticity even though they had not married. Making effective use of contemporary fiction, advice literature, diaries, and letters to, from, and about single ...

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Overview

In this engaging study, Christine Jacobson Carter uncovers the fruitful and interesting lives of single women—and the attitudes toward them—in the bustling urban centers of nineteenth-century Savannah and Charleston.

Carter's focus is on educated, financially secure white women who joined in the culture's celebration of domesticity even though they had not married. Making effective use of contemporary fiction, advice literature, diaries, and letters to, from, and about single women, Carter shows that such women valued independence and female friendships and were in turn valued for family and community service. She also explores their attitudes toward personal fulfillment, the relationships that sustained (and sometimes tormented) them, and the impact of the Civil War as well as the southern and urban aspects of their public and private identities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Carter's study fills an important void. She is undoubtedly right that the South's single women found fulfillment in service to their society and families. But surely too, in being put to such good uses, they often felt sadly and sorely used."—Journal of the Early Republic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252076312
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 1/7/2009
  • Series: Women in American History
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Christine Jacobson Carter is a visiting assistant professor of history at Emory University. She is the editor of The Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge, 1848-1879.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: "More Purity and Active Goodness" 1

1 "Upon Those Shady Banks ... to Stand and View the Busy World": Unmarried Women's Antebellum Savannah and Charleston 13

2 "A Glory Such as Marriage Never Gave": The Literature and Ideology of Urban Southern Single Blessedness 41

3 "At Home Where I Am a Very Important Personage": Dutiful Daughters, Single Sisters, and Maiden Aunts 65

4 "To Know That You Still Love Me": Female Friends and Female Friendships 95

5 Seeking an "Extensive Sphere of Usefulness": Women's Benevolence in Antebellum Savannah and Charleston 118

6 "Such a Strong Personal Love of the Old Place": Enclaves Undone in Civil War Charleston and Savannah 150

Notes 185

Index 217

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