Virginia Women is the first of two volumes exploring the history of Virginia women through the lives of exemplary and remarkable individuals. This collection of seventeen essays, written by established and emerging scholars, recovers the stories and voices of a diverse group of women, from the seventeenth century through the Civil War era. Placing their subjects in their larger historical contexts, the authors show how the experiences of Virginia women varied by race, class, age, and marital status, and also across both space and time.
Some essays examine the lives of well-known women--such as First Lady Dolley Madison--from a new perspective. Others introduce readers to relatively obscure historical figures: the convicted witch Grace Sherwood; the colonial printer Clementina Rind; Harriet Hemings, the enslaved daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Essays on the frontier heroine Mary Draper Ingles and the Civil War spy Elizabeth Van Lew examine the real women behind the legends. Altogether, the essays in this collection offer readers an engaging and personal window onto the experiences of women in the Old Dominion.
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