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Emma Spaulding Bryant: Civil War Bride, Capetbagger's Wife, Ardent Feminist, Letters 1860-1900 (Reconstructing America)by Ruth Douglas Currie
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Book News Annotation:
It couldn't have been easy being married to John Emory Bryant, a radical white carpetbagger from Maine on an aggressive mission to "Northernize" the South and bring about civil rights for black men. Through the course of her marriage, Emma Bryant helped her controversial husband in his work, developed self- sufficiency in the face of hardship and separations, and became a profound thinker in her own right, coaching John's understanding of "the woman question." The volume amounts to a socio-political biography and a 40-year love story; it includes selected letters between the spouses as well as portions of diaries and journals kept by both from 1866 until John's death, in 1900.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"This volume serves as a unique resource for students of women, race, Reconstruction, and gender relations from the perspective of a Yankee woman living in the South after the Civil War... the letters are at once fascinating, voluminous, well selected, remarkably introspective, and carefully edited. This book will serve as a fine primary source for scholars and students of women's history, Civil War and Reconstruction history, and nineteenth-century United States History." - Journal of Southern History "Currie is to be congratulated for challenging us to think about how northern women rebuilt their identities in the postwar South." Civil War Book Review Ruth Douglas Currie is Professor of History and Political Science at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She is author of Carpertbagger of Conscience: A Biography of John Emory Bryant (Fordham).
Emma Spaulding left rural Maine behind for a life in Georgia as the wife of radical Republican carpetbagger John Emory Bryant. She supported John's controversial agenda including his self-defined mission to "northernize" the south. Struggling virtually alone to rear a daughter in near poverty, Emma became an independent thinker, teacher, suffragist, and officer in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In eloquent language, Emma coached her husband's understanding of "the woman question." And despite heated exchanges over marital control, the Bryants' engaging correspondence frames a marriage of love.
About 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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