Busy Hands: Images of the Family in the Northern Civil War Effort

Synopsis

Focusing on middle-class women's contributions to the northern Civil War effort, Patricia Richard shows how women utilized their power as moral agents to shape the way men survived the ravages of war. Busy Hands investigates the ways in which white and African American women used images of family and domestic life in their relief efforts to counter the effects of prostitution, gambling, profanity, and drinking, threatening men's postwar civilian fitness. Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs of Civil War nurses, sanitary workers, soldiers, and the soldiers' aid societies, Richard develops a new perspective on domestic influence on the war, as women sought to save soldiers from the dangers of the military world.