A Few Words on Behalf of the Loyal Women of the United States, by One of Themselves
New York: Wm. C. Bryant & Co Printers, 1863.
New York: Wm. C. Bryant & Co Printers, 1863. First edition. Original paper wraps. 23 pages. Number 10 in a series of 17 pamphlets addressing the causes and outcomes of the Civil War. One of two variant printings with no priority assigned, this with page 23 beginning "attempt at corrupting." Some separation to the foot of spine, with text block holding well. Soiling and edgewear to front wrap; rusted imprint of paperclip affecting top of pages 13-15. Small blot to text of page 13. Else a solid copy of this important work, which suggests that all women who have survived the Civil War deserve credit for their strength and sacrifice.
While at its release, A Few Words was anonymous, an 1865 publication by the Loyal Publication Society attributes the work to Caroline Kirkland (Mrs. C. M. Kirkland). Kirkland, a writer, educator, and abolitionist, brought a unique perspective to the debate on women's roles in the Civil War. A Northerner by birth, she spent the years leading up to the war living with her husband on a homestead in Michigan. Her experience living in the North and West, and traversing the South, informs her response to the accusation being made by men on both sides: that the strength of Southern women and the apathy of Northern women had contributed to seccession and the duration of the conflict. According to Kirkland's argument, women on both sides nursed sick soldiers, rationed, and experienced the losses of husbands, brothers, and fathers. Yet Kirkland argues that women of the South are implicated in the evils of slavery. "They, having seen slavery, felt it, known its horrors, suffered under its attendant evils and learned...its incompatibility with God's benign law of love have deliberately lent themselves...to the perpetuation of so awful an evil." As an abolitionist and a women's rights activist, Kirkland highlights the cognitive dissonance involved in promoting the strength of women who refuse to recognize that their fight for equality is tied to that of all oppressed Americans. She concludes with hope from the West, where she comments that strong-minded women have rejected courtships and shunned deserters who refuse to stand their ground. A rare and interesting work documenting a Union woman's perspective on American women's responsibilities in wartime.
History of American Women. Very Good + (Item #2488)