Some Wild Visions: Autobiographies by Female Itinerant Evangelists in Nineteenth-Century America

By Elizabeth Elkin Grammer | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction

The phrase used in the title is that of Thomas K. Doty, from his introduction to Julia Foote's spiritual autobiography, A Brand Plucked from the Fire (165).

1
It seems likely that “Miss M—” was Elice Miller Smith, a well-known itinerant preacher whom Towle describes in her autobiography as a “preacher… more universally admired, than any other female of America” (184). Elice Miller is also mentioned in the autobiography of the Methodist Protestant George Brown, D. D., published in 1866. Brown observes the popularity of Miller when she visited his circuit but acknowledges that Bishop Soule, who was also passing through his circuit at the time, opposed her ministry and derisively called her “that strolling girl” (183).
2
Recent historians suggest that evangelical revivalism was a continuous feature of the American landscape from the 1730s—with the awakenings in Jonathan Edwards's Northampton and the arrival of George Whitefield—through the 1840s. See, for example, James Bratt.
3
For a discussion of this urban revival of 1858, see Kathryn Long.
4
On the empowerment of religion for women and blacks, see Catherine Brekus, Joanna Bowen Gillespie, Susan Juster, Nellie McKay, and Albert Raboteau.
5
Though they were familiar with the ideology of domesticity that permeated the literature of the Northeast, Southern ladies were influenced primarily by the plantation household, which they shared with white men and black slaves. See Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household.
6
On the ways in which bourgeois individualism “offered even the excluded a hegemonic discourse that they would gradually claim for themselves, ” see Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household (60).
7
See, for example, Catherine Brekus; Karen Hansen, Nancy Hewitt, and Suzanne Lebsock; Dorothy O. Helly and Susan M. Reverby; Susan Juster; Linda Kerber, “Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: The Rhetoric of Women's History”; Linda Kerber et al.; Martin Marty, “Religion: A Private Affair, in Public Affairs”; and Mary Ryan, Women in Public.
8
According to historians of American religion, reform efforts began to ebb in the decades after the Civil War, when postmillennialism gave way to a more pessimistic premillennialism and many turned away from social issues to Fundamentalism and questions of theology. The “postmillennial” Social Gospel movement was an important exception after the war, just as the

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