I'm at a loss here. Help needed!

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
I'm asking you all for help with the Ladies' Tea forum. I'm really bad at coming up with thread ideas and making threads, as I feared might be the case when I took on the forum host role. But I figure there's no shame in reaching out for assistance.

So let's just spitball some ideas for thread topics! If I use one, I'll give you proper credit, of course. I'll also do research, so this doesn't need to be full fleshed out ideas, just the beginnings of one would work too. I suppose this is my thread for the week? lol
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
The women of both sides made contributions to life during those war years--not the obvious ones at the front (as nurses and combatants) or to the war effort but at home--running the farms and keeping their families afloat. Had it not been for the strength, stubbornness and resourcefulness of these women, the fiber of both societies would have been threatened. In many ways, their ability to take over in a man's world was a forerunner of the women's movement.
 

lupaglupa

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Location
Upstate New York
I have a place I bookmark things I find that I think will be good for future threads - it's hard sometimes coming up with stuff. One place that is really inspiring is old newspapers. Just a quick search in newspapers of the time will bring up any numbers of things - articles, advertisements, all manner of stuff!
 

Pete Longstreet

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Not sure if this will help, but as I'm reading, I'll write down what page something is on, or take a picture of that page to use later for a thread idea. I then consolidate everything I have and choose a topic. I may save the others for later or just forget them and move on.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
John Bell Hood's wife. How did they meet? I understand she was a prominent person. She had a huge number of children. What about the other generals who married after the war? Women's roles were so circumscribed. I can see why topics are a problem. The lives of lower class women were different from upper class women. How did the war change that? Just brainstorming here.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
John Bell Hood's wife. How did they meet? I understand she was a prominent person. She had a huge number of children. What about the other generals who married after the war? Women's roles were so circumscribed. I can see why topics are a problem. The lives of lower class women were different from upper class women. How did the war change that? Just brainstorming here.
Marriages at that time tended to be arranged although it seems that the woman had a great deal of say in the matter. There are reported cases of women of both classes marrying against the wishes of their families. The Hoods probably met through mutual acquaintances (even in my own youth, my parents advised me to have nothing to do with men to whom I hadn't been properly introduced ☺️).

IMO the biggest change for women brought about by the war was the emergence of the woman's movement. For two major reasons: 1st, men were off at war (often for years), leaving their wives to run the farms and businesses--and these women became empowered. 2nd, the suffrage movement was a direct offshoot of abolitionism. Many early activists in the abolition movement (both male and female) developed the philosophy that that all people were equal regardless of color or of sex.
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Marriages at that time tended to be arranged although it seems that the woman had a great deal of say in the matter. There are reported cases of women of both classes marrying against the wishes of their families. The Hoods probably met through mutual acquaintances (even in my own youth, my parents advised me to have nothing to do with men to whom I hadn't been properly introduced ☺️).

IMO the biggest change for women brought about by the war was the emergence of the woman's movement. For two major reasons: 1st, men were off at war (often for years), leaving their wives to run the farms and businesses--and these women became empowered. 2nd, the suffrage movement was a direct offshoot of abolitionism. Many early activists in the abolition movement (both male and female) developed the philosophy that that all people were equal regardless of color or of sex.
I'm aiming to read "Out of the Shadows" by Emily Midorikawa.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/out-of...6rdu6adll7o&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalinkSAVE


Victoria Woodhull awoke cold, alone and drenched in blood. Her tiny newborn lay next to her, bleeding from a badly cut umbilical cord and every moment closer to death. Woodhull’s husband, ostensibly a doctor but in reality a drunk, had severed the cord too close, and the baby’s vital organs were peeping through the hole. Though weak from labor, Woodhull thumped the walls of her rented room until a neighbor arrived to help, breaking through a grate in the basement to enter the locked house. The child survived.
The incident did not break Woodhull, but rather confirmed her desire to break free from her marriage—and from the limitations that afflicted her, and all women, in the 1860s. She would ultimately take a second husband, espouse the cause of free love, run a successful brokerage firm and court the friendship of rights champions such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass. She would also run for president of the United States. Few would recall that this “beguiling” woman of means had once been known as the “witch of Washington-avenue” who had begun as a spirit medium.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS​

By Emily Midorikawa
Counterpoint, 332 pages, $27
In Emily Midorikawa’s “Out of the Shadows,” Woodhull is joined by five other “visionary” women—a descriptor that works both in the sense of those who have their eyes fixed on a better future and those who, with supposedly supernatural aid, can predict it. The book begins with the Fox sisters—Leah, Margaretta and Catherine—whose “spirit rapping” began a craze that swept the United States and Europe. High-profile figures gave spiritualism credence, from William Crookes (inventor of the Crookes cathode tube) to Queen Victoria, who invited guests to table-turning séances.
In an era of rapid industrialization and strange new discoveries such as the telegraph, the concept that communication with another realm might also be possible held sway over the curious. But Ms. Midorikawa is far less concerned with the spectacle of these events than she is with their import, their power and—most importantly—the gender of their participants: In 1848, those who had “taken part in the Women’s Rights Convention would be talking of raps heard in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s home,” Ms. Midorikawa writes, “even upon the very table on which she had drafted the convention’s Declaration of Sentiments.” Women are at the very center of this story.

WHAT TO READ THIS WEEK




Malcolm Gladwell on the terrible endgame of a bombing campaign, Joan Didion’s collected accounts of the American scene, Napoleon the art thief, Victorian mediums and more.
Why women? To begin with, because nothing was expected of them. By the 1860s, despite the English monarch being a woman, public opinion in the U.S. and Britain held that women were meant to be mothers, vessels and pliant saints of their households, obedient first to father and then to husband. They had delicate constitutions and fickle, fragile minds; such were the reasons cited for keeping them out of higher education, careers and voting booths. When the Fox sisters finally confessed to their hoax many years later, they would not get off easy—they were strip-searched, barricaded in their houses and shot at by angry mobs. Even so, their very femininity played a part in their defense. How could women have come up with anything so complex as a spiritual con

A similar story unfolds around Emma Hardinge Britten. Abused by powerful men who had pretended to help her, she turned her gifts in music and mediumship to the cause of spiritualism. Instead of spirit raps, she gave astonishing speeches that held thousands in thrall. She took part in the movement to abolish slavery, campaigned for Abraham Lincoln and gave a public eulogy for him in New York. But only, she insisted, because the spirits possessed her to do so. Her English compatriot, Georgina Weldon, would take a similar course, though for different ends: Nearly imprisoned in an asylum by her husband—officially for her spiritualist beliefs but in fact to make room for his mistress—Weldon launched a celebrated campaign to end archaic lunacy laws.
In each of these cases, a single thread runs true: These women attained a public voice through the medium of the spirits. The dimly lighted parlors of the séance or of public meetinghouses, where spirits might entrance these women before the hundreds in attendance, served as semisanctioned spaces for women to speak, a place where their “sensitivity” was a strength and not a weakness. Fox sisters Leah and Maggie would “sit quietly on the podium, their muteness allowing them to be cast in more acceptably ladylike roles,” writes Ms. Midorikawa, while Britten’s “magnetic abilities” and susceptibility to trance excused her bold public speaking and earned her praise for “these highest, manliest gifts.” But there is a further tangle in the skein. Though not always known to one another, these women made up part of a much wider crowd of advocates, women, laborers and blacks from both the North and the recently emancipated South, all clamoring for rights and representation.
Ms. Midorikawa, who teaches writing at New York University London and was the co-author of “A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf,” pulls these two themes together, creating a large and variously peopled world of rights conventions, séances and legal proceedings, where suffragists, abolitionists, spiritualists and charlatans mixed in and out of drawing rooms. This is the great strength of “Out of the Shadows”; it offers up a tapestry of complex characters with conflicted motivations, woven together with the color of ghostly apparitions (and angry mobs).

Readers are asked to question what the women were ultimately after. Nearly all of them had tumultuous careers, rising to the height of popularity and then, with the exception of Britten, falling into disgrace or poverty-stricken straits. The Fox sisters, responsible for spiritualism’s precipitous rise, also contributed to its fall. The middle sister, Maggie, publicly denounced spirit rapping in 1888. She and her sister Kate accused the much older Leah of wicked manipulation and exploitation of their lives.
“Out of the Shadows” pivots between the women’s extraordinary savvy, intelligence and performance and the frequently unethical and exploitative means they adopted to achieve their ends. Ms. Midorikawa leaves the reader to draw final conclusions. Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is the book’s presentation of these women as being both seen and heard. They are not mere embellishments of the parlor, nor are they, like the spirits they claimed to summon, mere disembodied voices in the night. Each of them stood before a public world where women had not yet gained basic human rights and demanded the spotlight. And this is visionary indeed.

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Quiet1

Private
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Hmmmm.... How about the lives of working-class women?
Besides farm wives, I know that there were numerous cases of entire families (mom, dad and any kids who were old enough) working in the same factory together.
Since there have always been single women working as well, a thread on female jobs/careers (these terms are not always synonymous) might be cool.
Heck, so would household chores. Washing clothes, for instance, was a little different back then...
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Hmmmm.... How about the lives of working-class women?
Besides farm wives, I know that there were numerous cases of entire families (mom, dad and any kids who were old enough) working in the same factory together.
Since there have always been single women working as well, a thread on female jobs/careers (these terms are not always synonymous) might be cool.
Heck, so would household chores. Washing clothes, for instance, was a little different back then...
Docenting at a local historical society, I am quite stunned at the intricate and beautiful needle work that we have on display--needlework that was done by women who spent 10 hours+ on the mill floor, then came home to prepare dinner and complete household tasks. By candlelight, late in the evening, they turned out fantastic pieces of fabric art.
 

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
I'm hindered right now due to computer problems, but I hope to start making threads again soon. I've been looking at some fashion related articles, problem is adding pictures as my PC will not upload them....
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2020

I just started reading this and it looks like a great historical novel for the feminine perspective.​

Henry and Clara​

By Thomas Mallon (1994)
2. “Henry and Clara” established Thomas Mallon as a master of historical fiction. Clara Rathbone—vain, clever and socially ambitious—reflects, near the climax of this blood-drenched novel, that she always sensed “there was a secret sewn into the violence of that night.” She is referring to April 14, 1865, when she and her fiancé, Maj. Henry Rathbone, last-minute guests of the Lincolns in their box at Ford’s Theatre, witness the assassination of the president. That much is true. But Mr. Mallon seamlessly blends fact and fiction in this sharply angled historic tableau. Clara’s “blind love” for her Byronic stepbrother can only end tragically, and through Clara Mr. Mallon also conveys just how unprepared the North is for the cataclysm of the war. In the spring of 1861, when Clara learns that her father, U.S. Senator Ira Harris, will allow her semi-incestuous marriage as soon as the Union declares victory, she exclaims, “I’m so happy! Maybe this war is a blessing—God forgive me for saying it.” Mr. Mallon, a stylish, witty writer, almost imperceptibly transforms his love story into a heart-stopping psychological thriller.
 
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