Women and Civil War Round Tables.

major bill

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#1
I attend two to three Civil War Round Tables here in Michigan. I am not sure if my area is representative of all Civil War Round Tables or not. The Ann Arbor Civil War Round Table program for May 13: Bill Grandstaff---“Women in the Civil War". The attendance of the two main Civil War Round Tables I attend are about 30 at one and 50 at the other. Attendance at both are off the highs of years ago. Both CWRTs seem to have about one third of the attendees being women, but at certain presentations the percent of women are higher. We had a presentation about animals of the Civil War and had eight visitors, all women.

This made me wonder if “Women in the Civil War" by Bill Grandstaff will have a similar increase in visitors. Last week the presentation in Grand Rapid Civil War Round Table was about the local poor farm and we had a few extra visitors interested in the subject. This all made me wonder if the subjects of CWRTs presentation impacted attendance. Both CWRTs I mostly attend would love new members. So could presentation of more general subjects increase attendance? The one third women members who normally attend both CWRTs, seem rather interested in our "battle" type presentations.

My general view is great presentations will gather larger crowds regardless of the subject. Interest in Civil War subjects should not be gender specific. Still it is hard to ignore that certain presentations almost double the number of women attending.
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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#2
I attend two to three Civil War Round Tables here in Michigan. I am not sure if my area is representative of all Civil War Round Tables or not. The Ann Arbor Civil War Round Table program for May 13: Bill Grandstaff---“Women in the Civil War". The attendance of the two main Civil War Round Tables I attend are about 30 at one and 50 at the other. Attendance at both are off the highs of years ago. Both CWRTs seem to have about one third of the attendees being women, but at certain presentations the percent of women are higher. We had a presentation about animals of the Civil War and had eight visitors, all women.

This made me wonder if “Women in the Civil War" by Bill Grandstaff will have a similar increase in visitors. Last week the presentation in Grand Rapid Civil War Round Table was about the local poor farm and we had a few extra visitors interested in the subject. This all made me wonder if the subjects of CWRTs presentation impacted attendance. Both CWRTs I mostly attend would love new members. So could presentation of more general subjects increase attendance? The one third women members who normally attend both CWRTs, seem rather interested in our "battle" type presentations.

My general view is great presentations will gather larger crowds regardless of the subject. Interest in Civil War subjects should not be gender specific. Still it is hard to ignore that certain presentations almost double the number of women attending.

Don't you think it's unsurprising though? Things seem a little better ( which is surprising to me ) at the moment, interest in women's roles in the war seems to have increased. With that, maybe we've finally left behind the whole single-representative perspective? By that I mean that ' thing ' where ONE woman gets to represent allll the rest. Or a few at best- we have Clara, whose name everyone knows, then Bickerdyke and Dix and poof- takes care of ' Civil War Nurses '. Mary Tepe covers Vivandier, Harriet Tubman gets to represent black women while Keckley gets an also ran as Mary Lincoln's buddy, not the genius who rose to fame through her talent. let's see, tragic Arabella Barlow is half a love story, not the nurse who died from serving wounded. A few spies and female soldiers ( still a contested topic, like they were Bigfoot ), not-much on women manning the wheel for relief organizations. See what I mean?

I'm not being snarky when I say it probably gets a little frustrating following all the men through the war without a genuine accounting of we girls. Heck ( and I know I'm the proverbial broken record with this ) we know how many men were killed in the war, how many horses and mules- nurses? Nope. I have a pitiful list going here, cannot find a thing that's helpful. No one knows, it's crazy.

But. There does seem to be more light directed our way, it's nice. I have nothing to base this on ( we love sources! ), may be why attendance is up.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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#5
So far this spring, I have addressed four different CWRT's, all in Virginia (Centreville, Leesburg, Charlottesville, and Lexington). Each of them has had a significant proportion of women, perhaps 40%. That's up from what I've seen over the years.

Of much greater concern to me, quite honestly, is the aging of the crowds. I see very few people under the age of fifty and a scant few under the age of 35. I fear that sooner than later, CWRT's will be a thing of the past. The one in Charlottesville meets in a senior citizens' facility. While it's lovely (and the food was excellent), it's kind of scary to consider what that actually means.
 

redbob

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#6
So far this spring, I have addressed four different CWRT's, all in Virginia (Centreville, Leesburg, Charlottesville, and Lexington). Each of them has had a significant proportion of women, perhaps 40%. That's up from what I've seen over the years.

Of much greater concern to me, quite honestly, is the aging of the crowds. I see very few people under the age of fifty and a scant few under the age of 35. I fear that sooner than later, CWRT's will be a thing of the past. The one in Charlottesville meets in a senior citizens' facility. While it's lovely (and the food was excellent), it's kind of scary to consider what that actually means.
I have to agree with Michael and Eric, in the past couple of years; I have spoken to UDC Camps, SCV Camps, SUVCW Groups and Round Tables and the one thing that they all have in common is that they all appear to be "Greying Out" with the average age of the groups being 50+. For whatever reasons, the younger demographic just doesn't seem to be interested in history or fraternal organizations and as the group size gets smaller, so is their ability financially to bring speakers in and that often hurts interest/attendance. In the State of Alabama, there may be three Civil War Roundtables and in the past year; at least one of them has gone out of existence. I know that I have wandered off the subject of women and Roundtables, but I have to agree that interest in the Civil War is waning and the future of any history related organization appears rather bleak.
 
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major bill

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#7
Although there is not a CWRT here in Lansing Michigan there are five within a hour drive and maybe three more If I pushed it to an hour and forty five minutes. There were more CWRTs years ago but it is down to eight in this general area. All seem to struggle with dropping membership and I suspect two or three more will shut down in the next couple of years.
 
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District of Columbia
#8
I attend two to three Civil War Round Tables here in Michigan. I am not sure if my area is representative of all Civil War Round Tables or not. The Ann Arbor Civil War Round Table program for May 13: Bill Grandstaff---“Women in the Civil War". The attendance of the two main Civil War Round Tables I attend are about 30 at one and 50 at the other. Attendance at both are off the highs of years ago. Both CWRTs seem to have about one third of the attendees being women, but at certain presentations the percent of women are higher. We had a presentation about animals of the Civil War and had eight visitors, all women.

This made me wonder if “Women in the Civil War" by Bill Grandstaff will have a similar increase in visitors. Last week the presentation in Grand Rapid Civil War Round Table was about the local poor farm and we had a few extra visitors interested in the subject. This all made me wonder if the subjects of CWRTs presentation impacted attendance. Both CWRTs I mostly attend would love new members. So could presentation of more general subjects increase attendance? The one third women members who normally attend both CWRTs, seem rather interested in our "battle" type presentations.

My general view is great presentations will gather larger crowds regardless of the subject. Interest in Civil War subjects should not be gender specific. Still it is hard to ignore that certain presentations almost double the number of women attending.
What might be happening is that women are gravitating to certain lectures because they detail aspects of the history ~ that is, women's role in it ~ that are not usually told, and they have a hunger for that.

- Alan
 
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major bill

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#9
Women do make up about 25% plus of the membership in this area. Perhaps half that are spouses, but the other half of the women attend on their own. Without having attended CWRTs in other states, I have no basis to judge if 25% is a fair amount or not.
 

redbob

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#10
Women do make up about 25% plus of the membership in this area. Perhaps half that are spouses, but the other half of the women attend on their own. Without having attended CWRTs in other states, I have no basis to judge if 25% is a fair amount or not.
I would say that 25% was a very fair amount. The tightrope that people who attempt to line up speakers walk is trying to get one whose focus is wide enough to appeal to the largest number of potential audience members. Another problem that Roundtables have faced is a place to meet, back when cafeterias were the norm; they were ideal if they had a meeting area, now that they have faded from the scene it is a catch as catch can situation. For example, our local Roundtable meets in a Library which is good until you realize that they close at 8PM and so the meeting has to start at 6 which may make it hard for speakers and those members still employed to get there.
 
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Michael W.

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#11
So far this spring, I have addressed four different CWRT's, all in Virginia (Centreville, Leesburg, Charlottesville, and Lexington). Each of them has had a significant proportion of women, perhaps 40%. That's up from what I've seen over the years.

Of much greater concern to me, quite honestly, is the aging of the crowds. I see very few people under the age of fifty and a scant few under the age of 35. I fear that sooner than later, CWRT's will be a thing of the past. The one in Charlottesville meets in a senior citizens' facility. While it's lovely (and the food was excellent), it's kind of scary to consider what that actually means.
And that is the case with the Madison County CWRT here in Indiana. I am 49 years old, and I believe I am the youngest of the membership.
 



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