Over the course of the five years that I spent researching and writing this book, I was fortunate to have the assistance and goodwill of innumerable librarians, scholars, archivists, and writers. Living close to Boston must be one of the greatest blessings that can befall an historian. My quest for information about women during the Civil War led me to more than a dozen university, college, and public libraries in the Greater Boston area.
My deepest gratitude is reserved for the reference librarians of the Boston Athenaeum, who, despite a massive renovation project, kept the books and journal articles flowing in my direction. What the Athenaeum’s collections or my other library haunts could not provide was secured for me via the Athenaeum’s inter-library loan program. My thanks to Lisa Starzyk-Weldon, Stephen Nonack, Rebecka Persson, and Jim Woodman. A special debt is also owed to Sally Pierce, Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Boston Athenaeum, who gave liberally of her time and knowledge to help me locate a number of photographs and illustrations for this book.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the library staffs at Wellesley College, the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University, the Boston Public Library, Boston University, Brandeis University, Northeastern University, and the Westwood and Canton Public Libraries. In July 1998, I had the pleasure of investigating manuscript collections at the Museum of the Confederacy and the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia, where archivists and other specialists graciously fulfilled all of my research requests.
When books did not yield the answers to my questions, a number of scholars gave freely of their expertise. Many thanks to Herman Hattaway, Michael Chesson, Elizabeth Varon, Catherine Clinton, Jean Pagan Yellin, John Coski at the Museum of the Confederacy, DeAnne Blanton, Jeanie Attie, Judith Giesberg, Matt Gallman, Daniel J. Hoisington, Eileen Conklin, Leah Berkowitz, and Thomas Brown.
When I was first getting my feet wet with this project, I had the good fortune to attend the 1998 Conference on Women in the Civil War at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, where I met numerous historians and researchers. In the past year, the newly formed Society for Women and the Civil War continues the tradition of nurturing research in this ever-developing area.
Also in 1998, Diana Loski, my tour guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, spent an entire summer afternoon with me, driving me all over the park and to battle-related sites in the town of Gettysburg. Her exuberant enthusiasm and knowledge of the women of Gettysburg afforded me my first vista of the enormity of women’s contributions.