Cover image for Women during the Civil War : an encyclopedia
Women during the Civil War : an encyclopedia
Harper, Judith E., 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2004]

Physical Description:
xviii, 472 pages : illustrations, map ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E628 .H37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



For more information, including a full list of entries, a generous selection of sample entries, and more, visit the Women During the Civil War website.

Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia is the first A-Z reference work to offer a panoramic presentation of the contributions, achievements, and personal stories of American women during one of the most turbulent eras of the nation's history. Incorporating the most recent scholarship as well as excerpts from diaries, letters, newspapers, and other primary source documents, this Encyclopedia encompasses the wartime experiences of famous and lesser-known women of all ethnic groups and social backgrounds throughout the United States during the Civil War era.

Author Notes

Judith E. Harper is an independent scholar and professional writer specializing in American history. She is the author of Susan B. Anthony: A Biographical Companion and African-Americans During the Revolutionary War. She has contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of New England Culture, the Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Gay and Lesbian Biography and Feminist Writers.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The Civil War was the seminal point for so much of what America is today, and women played an important part. This unique encyclopedia brings together information on individual women, ethnic groups, occupations, issues, and even women soldiers. The encyclopedia is designed for scholars and students who need information on women both individually and collectively. The 128 entries range in size from several paragraphs to several pages. Each provides cross-references where appropriate and a selected readings list. A number of black-and-white photographs accompany the text. The work concludes with an extensive bibliography and an index with the main entries in bold type. The individuals covered include the famous, such as Dorothea Dix, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman, and less-well-known women, some of whom disguised their sex and served in the army, such as Sarah Rosetta Wakeman. The entry Military women provides insights on how they got away with the deception and why they decided to enlist. Of course the more traditional activities such as sewing uniforms and flags are included, as are tasks of taking on farming, running businesses, and holding the family together. The problems of women doctors who were not allowed to heal the wounded; nurses who fought with surgeons over patient care; the ambiguity of what to do with the former slaves after they were freed; and a host of other issues are all examined in some depth. This work is an important reference resource for most libraries. The bibliography would make an excellent checklist for collection development. Although the biographies are useful, the essays helping to place women in a Civil War context are even more significant. A necessary acquisition for public and academic libraries with collections on the Civil War, social movements such as abolition, and women's studies. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

American women played central roles in the Civil War, but only in the last 15 years have historians seriously studied their experiences and contributions. This new encyclopedia by Harper, an independent scholar and the author of numerous reference works, including Susan B. Anthony: A Biographical Companion, is the first to focus exclusively on women in this pivotal conflict. Ranging from 400 to 4000 words in length, the 128 alphabetical entries cover the lives and times of first ladies, female soldiers, bread rioters, guerilla fighters, relief workers, prostitutes, women in industry, and more, with representation of all classes, races, and sections. The readable entries include both illustrations and bibliographies, and the volume concludes with an extensive bibliography, index, and glossary. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries, particularly those with an interest in Civil War and women's studies, even where more general works such as David and Jeanne Heidler's five-volume Encyclopedia of the American Civil War are available.-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-An excellent examination of the diverse roles played by women during the Civil War. The 128 entries range in length from 400 to 4000 words, and include biographies of women from all regions of the U.S. Well-known figures such as Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Louisa May Alcott, and Mary Todd Lincoln are represented but so too are African-American sculptor Edmonia Lewis, poet Lucy Larcom, and Emma LeConte, whose Civil War diary is "one of the clearest articulations of the patriotic ideals and emotions of Southern white girls and women who clung to their faith in the future of the Confederacy." As well as biographies, there are superb thematic entries on women living in the West, prostitutes, industrial workers, family life, and invasion and occupation. Discussions of such events as the New York Draft Riot of 1863 or the Battle at Gettysburg explain the role of women or the event's consequences in regard to women's lives. Much of the information came from primary sources, especially diaries, and students are sure to find them fascinating. A few black-and-white photographs are included. Cross-references direct readers to related articles. Each entry is followed by a short list of suggested readings. This encyclopedia is a welcomed addition to reference collections.-Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Librarians and Civil War researchers were delighted with the appearance of the hardback edition (CH, May'04, 41-5047) of this first and only encyclopedia to document the experience of women during the Civil War. Harper, a freelance writer who has authored other books on minorities in major conflicts, including African Americans and the Revolutionary War (2001), offers an alphabetically arranged volume that illuminates aspects of the war that are harder to locate in traditional encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, ed. by David Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (CH, Jun'01, 38-5346; CH, Sup'01, 38Sup-002a). This paperback edition, priced at less than half the original volume's cost, will delight an even wider audience. Its 128 entries, ranging from 400 to 4,000 words, inform readers about well- and little-known women--black, white, and Native American, rich and poor, urban and rural, patriotic workers and draft resistors, churchwomen and prostitutes. Though lacking illustrations and smaller in physical size than the original volume, this work contains the same number of entries, a glossary, and extensive bibliographic leads. Economical and offering much to researchers, both casual and professional, it is a must purchase (even for small collections) for libraries that do not own the earlier volume. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels. T. McDevitt Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

List of Entries: Abolitionists
African-American Women
Agricultural WomenAlcott and Louisa May and Anthony and Susan B. Antietam (Sharpsburg)
Battle of ArtistsBarton and Clara
Battle of the HandkerchiefsBickerdyke and Mary Ann Ball and Blalock and Malinda and Bowser and Mary Elizabeth and Boyd and Belle Bread and Rebellions Brown and Clara and Brownell and Kady
Business Women Camp LifeCarroll and Anna Ella Cary and Mary Ann Shadd
CashierAlbert D.J. (Jennie Hodgers)
Catholic Nuns ChesnutMary Boykin Child and Lydia Maria
Contraband Relief Assoc. Contraband WomenCoppin and Fanny Jackson
Courtship and Marriage CummingDavis and Rebecca Harding and Davis and Varina Howell and Diaries and Dickey and Sarah Ann and Dickinson and Anna and Dickinson and Emily and Dix and Dorothea
Doctors Draft RiotsEdmonds and Sarah Emma and Edmondson and Belle
EducationEtheridge and Annie and Evans and Augusta Jane
Family Life Fern FannyFern and Fanny
General Order No. 28
Battle ofGibbons and Abby Hopper
Girlhood and Adolescence Government Girls GreenhowRose O'Neal
Guerrilla War Gunboat Societies HaleSarah Josepha
HarperFrancesEllen Watkins
*HavilandLaura Smith
HawksEsther Hill
*HopkinsJuliet Opie
Hospital ShipsHowe, Julia Ward
Immigrant Women Industrial Women Invasion and Occupation JacobsHarriet
LincolnMary Todd
Literary Women LivermoreMary Ashton Rice
McCordLouisa Cheves
Mexican-American Women Military Women MitchellMaria
Morgan, Sarah Mormon Women Mountain Charley Native-American Women Nurses Patriotism PeabodyElizabeth Palmer
Pember, Phoebe Levy Phillips, Eugenia Levy PleasantMary Ellen
Prostitutes ReamVinnie
Refugees Religion RemondSarah Parker
Roswell Women Sanitary Fairs Secession Sherman's March to the Sea SlaterSarah
Slavery and Emancipation Soldiers' Aid Societies Spies and Espionage StantonElizabeth Cady
StoweHarriet Beecher
SwisshelmJane Grey
TaylorSusie Baker King
Teachers of the Freedpeople TompkinsSally
Treasury Girls TruthSojourner
TurchinNadine Lvova
United States Christian Commission United States Sanitary Commission Van LewElizabeth
VelazquezLoreta Janeta
Vicksburg WakemanSarah Rosetta
WalkerMary Edwards
Western Women Woman's Central Association of Relief Woman's National Loyal League Women and Politics Women's Rights Movement ZakrzewskaMarie