tv Book Discussion on Capital Dames CSPAN September 1, 2015 8:00pm-8:54pm EDT
tonight on booktv, books about the civil war. next political commentator cokie roberts on her book "capital dames" about the women of civil war era washington d.c.. don doyle discusses europe's involvement in the war in his hook, "the cause of all nations" and later historian james mcpherson author of the word affords the nation on the lasting effects of the civil war. you are watching booktv in prime-time on c-span2. >> in her book "capital dames" political commentator sub tree describes washington d.c. during the civil war from the perspective of perm -- women who lived and worked in the capital.
a washington d.c. bookstore as she talked about her book and her family's involvement in politics. this is just under an hour. plus i want to say is such a personal pleasure for me and for bread with some force and not here to post cokie roberts tonight. i think this is cokie your sixth or seventh author talk of politics and prose. i know you have been here for three previous books all by the way which were "new york times" bestsellers. cokie has been here several times with her husband steve roberts for books they have written together. some of you may know, maybe not all of you that along with many other awards cokie was named by the library of congress as a living legend, living. she is living. legend is good, living is better and i was just going to say we actually think of her as one of
our own legends because she's an author with such deep roots in our washington community so if you will permit us tonight we are going to call her living legend and a local legend that lease for this event. that is particularly appropriate because tonight she will be discussing her new book, "capital dames" the civil war and the women of washington, 1848-1868. cokie is best known as one of her nation's most respected broadcast journalist. her commentaries on npr and abc news offer critical insights into the world of politics government in washington and is the case with every campaign she will undoubtedly be one of the most important voices that we all listen to in the months ahead in 2016, the presidential race and i know how busy you will be tried to cover it. [inaudible] [laughter] >> there are stochastic candidates that keeps growing forever but i do want to mention that npr and abc are just her
day job. you know some of you that cokie grew up in a political family. she has seen political life from inside and out. you understand where political dynamics that into american history and for that reason and perhaps it's not surprising along with her commentary contemporary politics she's a student of american history and it's a role of women women today and in previous eras that have captured your attention as a writer and author. i really can't emphasize enough from my own personal vantage point what contribution she has made for filling in some very big legs in the story of this nation specifically the role of women at critical junctures over the last 100 plus years in cokie and i were talking about this earlier. it's actually infuriating so many people think they start america's complete in just a matter of interpretation and it's so not complete and thank you very much for helping enlarged and enriched that
story. she has relied on letters and journals and first-hand accounts by and about women. herb looks with that background in those resources present an important new dimension to our understanding of the colonial experience the american revolution and now with her newest book the civil war. in "capital dames" she introduces readers to a cast of women, some none of some long forgotten at a perilous time in washington and she explains how women change the capital and how the war change them and i think one of the perhaps not surprising parts of the book is that when it comes to women's roles some things never do change very much after all but i'm going to let you cokie fill you in on the rest. it's a hugely important story about the impact the women in this country. if you haven't gotten a copy we have plenty of friend and she'll be happy to sign them afterwards. please give a warm welcome to cokie roberts. [applause] >> thank you lissa.
this is a neighbor of mine as well. we live very close to each other. i lived in the house that i grew up in. i probably moved their brochure brochure -- before she was born but what a fabulous contribution lists and then it made to this community, really. [applause] it's wonderful, wonderful. and in addition to taking on this now legendary tour in washington doing the national book fair was a challenge and one that -- my grandsons are here. you have to sit up and pay attention. [laughter] but they did a fabulous job. my college roommate is here and another college classmate. the whole gang and barbara
stevens my roommate when i was in college helps me type my papers late at night. she couldn't help me finish the book and it was really upsetting to me. i was very late in getting it in but it was great fun to do. i appreciate the women that i started on this quest about women in history really is a result of growing up with my mother and many of the knew her. i watched when i was growing up here in post-world war ii washington the women, my mother and her co-workers running everything. they ran the local conventions. they ran the voter registration. they ran their husband's campaigns. they ran their offices and along with the african-american women
in washington they ran all the social service agencies. and in fact when my father was killed in a plane crash and my mother then ran for congress sáñ called lady bird johnson who was one of her closest friends and one of this group of remarkable women and she told her that she was going to run for congress and she wanted -- didn't want mrs. johnson to read it in the paper. she said that's nice lindy but how are you going to do it without a wife? i was a very good question and she ended up playing both roles of course and making it twice as hard but it was an experience and a way of growing up that really did give me a deep appreciation for the women and politics now and for women in history. i'd got particularly interested in the women of the
revolutionary. because i had to deal with the founding fathers all the time. i know them all by first names. i'm not crazy about them. i admire them but once you start reading their wives letters you like them less. but that is an era as you cover congress and politics as long as i have a deal with constantly. the founders said this and the people who say that by the way in the united states senate have it wrong about 99.9% of the time. i was always going back to see what they actually did say about religion in the public square at the right to bear arms and why you have to be as child of american citizens to be president and you don't have to be worn in america. canada will do that to put the
whole thing to rest. so i had gotten to know the men and i started to be very curious about what the women were up to. i really didn't know anything and so i went back to find out and the reason i didn't know anything is because it hadn't been written with the exception of a couple of other fees of abigail avenue -- abigail adams. since then quite good books have come out but i wasn't sure at the time. you can't hear? thank you. is that any better? thank you. so that's how, the founding mothers taking us through john quincy adams inauguration which was literally the next generation.
there i was and i had done and i was happy with it but the publisher wanted the civil war book. i never intended to write a civil war book. first of all all of my relatives were on the losing side. they did all fights and lost. and it's an awful war. 100,000 dead americans fighting each other that they really did want it look so i started really puzzling around about what it would be. what i did know is that whatever it would be at i would love the letters because women's letters are fabulous. they are so much better than men's letters. they really are because the men knew that they were doing something extraordinary. at least the ones who were. [laughter] so they wrote with that in mind so their letters are studied and edited and often pompous and
focused and all that. the women just wrote letters. it was full of politics. the women were deeply clinical but they also talk about the economic situation and he was having an all too often losing babies, all of that, all of life is in the letters and they are funny and they are afraid and feisty and honest in ways that you don't find. and most of them have never been published before so i'm always on this quest. i don't know what i'm getting so i'm reading along and seeing what i can learn and my personal favorite remains one from ladies of liberty. it was a letter written by louise catherine adams who was the wife of john quincy adams
and it was here in washington in 1820. he was secretary of state and she had written, she wrote these chatty letters home to john adams. abigail had died so she had written him at one point saying it was her vocation to get her husband elected president. so it's the year 1820, the year of the missouri compromise. congress stayed in session much longer than usual because of hammering out a compromise. finally they adjourned. she goes to a meeting of the orphan asylum trustees and dolley madison had founded the orphanage asylum after the british invasion in 1840 so she goes to these trustees in one of the trustees said they are going to need a new building. she said why, what are you talking about? the woman said the fathers of
the nation have left 40 cases to be provided for by the public and are in situation was the most likely to be called upon to maintain this illicit prodigy. 40 pregnant women lap a hind and there were only 200 members of congress. some of them could have been her set of this, i don't know. so she says to john adams i recommended a petition to congress next session for that grade and moral body to establish a family institution and should certainly move the two additional dollars a day which they have given themselves an increase in pay may be appropriated as a run towards the institution. it doesn't get any better than that. when i discovered this i just couldn't believe it. i knew whatever this book was going to be that i would come
upon wonderful letters like that and it turns out in fact her daughter-in-law abigail brooks adams who was married to charles francis adams briefly in congress and became the union's ambassador to forsake james and was interested in keeping the british from recognizing the confederacy. but while they were here in washington it was the infamous 36th congress which was the secession congress. she is writing these unbelievable frank letters to her son henry adams and she said that resident buchanan that he is a heavy old toad and the senate to hate like children and silly ones at that. we can get a hind us. but again my favorite, i would buy us any young woman who wishes to have uneasy quiet life not to marry and adams. so i knew whatever i did that
the letters would be great but i still didn't know what the book was. so i started thinking again about my own growing up here after world war ii and the effects of the war were physically present. the mall was covered with temporary buildings and they had initially gone up in world war ii and war have been added in world war ii. i remember my parents were temporary because they didn't seem to be going anywhere and they were there for a long time in those buildings built on independence avenue. he saw physically how the war had increase the government and made the city a bigger more important city. and we knew the stories or at least learn the stories of rosie the riveter and the government girls who came into town and
large numbers to standard bureaucracy and i knew because again i covered it and had written about it, i hadn't covered before these conventions but i had written about them, that after the war of the women's movement really did come into focus and the equal rights amendment was introduced in the first republican convention after the war and the democrats the next time around. it has spurred on the women's movement and there was the smith mouth that women had gone home after the war -- myth that the women had gone home but it just wasn't true. 60,000 women took advantage of the g.i. bill and brought themselves to where we are now which is majority of college graduates or female. i started again i wonder the civil war had a similar impact on the role of women, the place
of women in the role of washington and as i started i found out absolutely and dramatically so. so that is the book. turned out to be fascinating to learn about and to write. rosie the riveter, the woman came in to work in the arsenal and all over the north but in washington there were a couple of dozen very young women killed in a horrible arsenal explosion and the newspaper stories about it are just horrific because they uncovered the women the next day and their bodies were on record and i suppose. the reporter said that they were trapped in their hoop skirts. here they were in washington in the middle of july doing this incredibly dangerous work of stuffing the ammunition were actually creating the ammunition and there they were dressed as
proper ladies of the 19th century. there is a huge funeral by the secretary of war and there's a beautiful monument in the congressional cemetery. the president giving due to the huge contribution they have made to the war effort. government girls come at the same. women started arriving in washington mainly initially to make a living because the men were gone and they needed jobs. but then it was gratuitous for women justice they should target showing up congress authorized the printing of paper money to pay for the war. the money to see it be made is so much fun. it comes up for the machines in these great huge sheets and of course now the bills are cut up by machines but then it required somebody sitting with a pair of scissors cutting out each bill
and the treasurer of the united states said women are just better with scissors than men are. and he also pay the women less something that i have had several bosses say along the way in my career. so by the end of the war one of the women journalists, and she documents this, there were women in every department and that it not been true before. and of course women journalists is another thing. everyone who came to washington to cover the politics and the war. some had tenure before. one james -- who was an abolitionist and a suffragist and a bomb door basically but she was the first woman who had an allowed to report out of the capital press gallery. but she was soon kicked out of the capital press gallery because she wrote vicious truths
she actually wrote the daniel webster was a drunk and a man were horrified. again i found is so recognizable because the same thing happens when the women journalists started covering political campaigns. got on the bus and the boys on the bus had taken that battle of all-america and we hadn't. we actually wrote on the campaign trail. i remember coming back after a trip that i was on and i was the only woman and i said something along the lines we do rip port what the candidate is up to. it's relevant and of course we tell stories from the trail and a lot of our best friends are the other correspondence lives. and that look of total terror. came over the guys faces and the
timekeeper for the shows that there were 45 solid minutes of silence. [laughter] while they absorb this piece of information. and then there are women need to know about why you probably don't know quite how remarkable they are women like dorothy edx and clara barton. dorothy had come to lobby for a bill for the federal government. she wanted the government to put aside 12 million acres for the mentally ill and poverty-stricken. and she was already so influential because of her work at the senate set aside an office in the capital for her from which to lobby. and she would get it through one house one session and another house for another session and finally the president vetoes it so she left but before she left she got congress to establish a
government hospital for the insane. then she comes back during the war and she goes to the surgeon general and says she will be the superintendent of female nurses. there were no female nurses. nursing was not open to women. that was not an open field and the surgeon general was terrified her invasive they said yes maam, you could do that. and then by the way not only was nursing not open medicine was barely touched because women have not been allowed in basically three or for women doctors. one of them mary walker was a surgeon. she came here to washington, to get a job with the union army but she ended up having to volunteer. she dressed dress like a man so they arrested her of the time just on general principles and
she is still, mary walker is still the only woman to have won a medal of honor. she was a surgeon in the army. and then carl barton is one of those stories where she was from a new england family a suffragist abolitionist mother. she always chafed against the fact that she didn't make as much as men and she then came to washington to get a job for government to make more money and she did for a while. then the war happens in massachusetts to show up in the capital and in fact in the capital they were active in the chamber and she started bringing them supplies and nursing them and reading them newspapers and all that so they started writing, and saying there's this woman here who can do all this. people from all over the country
started sending her supplies. she went to the master general and said i have three warehouses full of supplies to the center where she wanted to go but was at the front. she was incredibly brave and intrepid and all the worse around here particularly antietam which remains of course the single worst day in her in history in terms of casualties. and then after the war one of the acts that lincoln performed was to allow her to set up a missing persons bureau. she found missing soldiers but she also identified the graves of tens of thousands of soldiers so that they were given the respect of the mark grace and not left unknown. then she would go to europe and discovered something called the red cross and comes back here and establishes the american red cross. this is one of the many things that drives me crazy in history
books. with this said day in. her and this statement sends me around the bend. then she established the american red cross. really? was it hard? did anything go before that? was there a story there and of course there was and she was able to get a red cross building in the united states. she didn't have the clout of eating a lined with the international building where she worked because the senate have to ratify the geneva convention in order for them to be part of the international red cross. for two decades she lobbied the senate and finally got the senate to ratify the geneva treaty. she was a representative to geneva called the american amendment which allowed, still called back, which allows the
red cross to go into disaster zones as well as war sounds. the right now in nepal after the earthquake with but the red cross there it's the result of the lobbying the clara barton did 130 years ago. so it's really a wonderful story so all of these things were showing me how similar it was and fascinating to me. of course the people that i was the most interested in because of what i do for living and also how i grew up with the political women. they were just wonderful to read about. before the war society was ruled by women. they were a lot more fun truth be told and they refer to themselves as bells and there was a certain amount of -- among
them but there was also a great deal of friendship. their letters are full of politics but their letters are also very very frank and at one point when adele kotz, she was dolley madison's great niece and she was brilliant and beautiful and she was kind. although women write about her. they all liked her and they discovered she was going to marry stephen douglas. none of them could stand stephen douglas and he was considerably older and had a couple of kids. so jefferson davis's wife writes from her mother and says the dirty speculator trickster broke in and help fight drink with his first wife's money buys an elegant well bred woman because she is four and her father is proud and she said fortunately
as washington is getting a new water system so spearing his wife's old factory douglas may wash a little offender. if you don't his acquaintance will build larger rooms with more perfect insulation. you know say that stephen douglas bank. he stilled defeated him in the senate but she turned out to be one of the most delight all women and their letters are quite wonderful. she stayed friendly throughout the war even after, mississippi was where he was from. mississippi receded and he became president of the confederacy and she wrote to her mother that there was no way that this is going to work. she said we don't have enough manufacturing and we don't have enough railroads that we can't win this war but i will do my duty she said. off she went to richmond the she
stayed friendly with her friends in the north particularly clara who we know from blair house and montgomery blair and all that. montgomery blair was her brother. he was in lincoln's cabinet. her father francis lair was a lincoln confidant and it buys her. her other brother frank blair was a congressman. her husband philip lee robert e. lee's cousin but he was an officer in the union. because he was in the navy she wrote to him almost every day so they are thousands of letters. her wartime letters are actually published but there are plenty more on both sides of the war happily imprinted. so her letters really give you a sense of what's happening here all through the war and how much danger washington within which was something i really could not open some particularly at the
beginning of the war when there was every expectation they would come in and just burn the place down and until the forts were built around it and months would go by it was really unsafe. i found a diary, an unpublished diary from 1861 that first year of the woman who was the farmer farmer -- so she really talks about how scary it is. she is a confederate sympathizer and so she's telling her children, just keep quiet for god sakes because loops with sink ships and in her case she was at. he would say something interpret cash and temperance and they would hear it. someone you could recognize
right here in rosedale. lizzie lee was one of the few people who tried to prevent mary lincoln, not easy. she was really difficult. i think today should publicly be diagnosed as bipolar. she was certainly make uriel. she let her views be known to everybody about who she thought was awful in the cabinet which was pretty much the cabinet. and she kept making enemies. the press was all over her. they followed her everywhere and wrote about everything she did. she was accused of leaking state of the union message to the new york herald either in exchange for good publicity or money depending on whose story you were reading. the congress launched an investigation into the first lady's communications so things don't change.
and the president actually went to the health because there was a republican congress that he could do this. he said you know please don't subpoena my wife it would be very embarrassing for me. they did a full investigation was not pretty. the women of washington really didn't like her and it was so much reciprocated so her best friend became elizabeth keck landed lizabeth koechlin was a former slave who had bought her freedom and come here. she was a very talented dressmaker and she ran a very profitable business. all of these prominent women went to her and had her make their best dressed. mary lincoln hired her and they became very good friends and mrs. koechlin was in the conversations with the president and the first lady and the first lady told her many things yourself read she helped take
care of mary lincoln after willey died and after the president was shot mrs. lincoln was in the white house for two months and out of her mind. she took care for them and took her back to illinois and god are set up and then she wrote a tell-all book. it's just really remarkable how things don't change. and of course that severed the relationship and it also runs her business because other people worried she might do the same. it allowed her to pursue her real passion which was social services because she had understood as a formerly enslaved person what the situation was with the first the escaped slaves coming in or those command or those who'd gone to the kenyon army called contraband and after
emancipation friedman and she understood there were many elderly who had no wherewithal to get a job or housing or anything so she established a relief organization and because she had such prominent friends was able to raise it great deal of money and awareness of the issue. so she was able to then after her business throw her energies into the -- isn't many women came to work as well. that was what really struck me in that and was how after the war as a result of the experiences during the war these women did move out front and take on their own causes and their own issues. they had been very involved and very influential behind-the-scenes but now they were marching on in the state themselves.
after she got her husband out of jail because he had been put in jail is part of a conspiracy to assassinate lincoln which was a crock but there he was. she prevailed upon andrew johnson to get them out of jail which is another thing we cannot get over this book. how these women are in and out of the white house all of the time just giving the president unsure to breathe. it is fabulous. i'm so jealous. they have complete access and so after she gets her husband out of jail they have a tough time and he finally dies. she decides to move to new york where she had a job with the new york world as a journalist. it was a huge scandal. first lady of the confederacy moving to new york city in she said she didn't want that. she wanted to move to new york and she get never been fully
accepted. her grandfather was the governor of new jersey and she was all of complected. she was never quite fair enough and the perfect southern belle. she's moving to new york and she writes to her daughter and she says i am free, brown and 64. i can do whatever i want to do. but then she got there and she was a journalist and shoot befriended juliette grant. it was page one news in all the newspapers when she and mrs. grant met and then she went to the dedication of the grand memorial, very publicly because when she was engaged to him it was a very public act of reconciliation of bringing the sections of the country back together and she was doing this. she wasn't trying to influence a man to do it, she was doing it herself in her own voice very
publicly. similarly some of the other males, the same thing. there's a delightful woman named virginia clay who wrote a book about herself called a bell of the 50s and after the war she became an ardent suffrages and was on platforms with horace greeley and mrs. william lord garrison. her husband who was a senator from alabama had thought bitterly before the war and she was with them again in the public acts of reconciliation but also with a cause that she felt that she could use her voice to promote. all the newspapers say her voice was terribly important. one of the great things now is that you can read all the newspapers. they are on line so you can waste days because they are so much fun to read. that interested me too this when i was growing up a proper lady
was only in the paper when she was warned, married and died in these women were in the papers all the time. they were written about constantly and so she was very much out in front after the war. another southerner sera prior to went to new york for -- new york and became a noted writer and created several ports and relief organizations worked with elizabeth weatherly -- layer leads to establish the revolution. she's going back to an earlier time when the country was together and had a common cause. so they really did dan dare on their own to be in front of the public and make their cases with their own voices having been greatly empowered by the word.
clara barton looking back on it at a memorial day address a couple of decades later said woman was at least 50 years and it fans of the normal position which continued peace would have assigned for so it is quite a story. i love getting to know these women and i know you will too. thank you for letting me share them with you and i'd be glad to take your questions. [applause] >> questions? there's a micromight there. >> why does it seem women always seem to be conveniently deleted from the history? >> why are the women conveniently deleted from the street bikes because the men don't care but as liz said earlier its infuriating and it's inaccurate. you can't tell history leaving
out half of the human race and have an accurate history. thank you. but also it's so much more fun to have them. they are just more interesting. >> i thought you and mr. mr. beschloss were terrific at the national archives, wonderful program. you mentioned kind of in passing how many of these people either went to visitation school or had a role there. can you talk more about that? >> visitations stayed in operational through the war. it had always accepted girls of every faith and all regions and remarkably quite a few stayed through the war. most of the schools and hotels
and everything were taken over either to house troops or at hospitals. washington became one great hospital during the war because everybody coming in from all the battles around came into washington. visitation was untouched because winfield scott who had been the chief general before the war his daughter had become a visitation nun and she was buried there so he protected it. it was never taken over but it continued to operate all through the war. a lot of these women lived there lets get some girls ask in question but you go ahead. >> he said some wonderful things about mary todd lincoln. you do have an unexpected favor source for mary todd lincoln? >> i didn't really spend that much time delving into mary todd lincoln because she has been written about a good deal.
obviously i had to deal with her, she was the first lady. the parts that i found interesting were what other people who were contemporaries wrote about her because again it was first person and they saw it now they all had used and elizabeth keckley's book is very eye-opening about the white house and what was going on in at the white house but also toward the end of the war mary lincoln's half-sister came and stayed in the white house for about a week. her husband was in the confederate army. he had been killed. mary lincoln's half are others and brothers in law were all confederate army which made her suspect to the north the way davis was suspect to the south.
so this half-sister came and stayed in that woman's daughter later wrote a book defending her and mary but also it was very clear from that book how very crazy mary lincoln was at that point. her sister had kept a diary during her week in the white house or 10 days or whatever and mary had come in and told her willie came to her bed at night and all of that. she did have séances in the white house. >> keckley is the only one you mentioned that mary tells stephen douglas supported her at the same time as abraham lincoln >> that's true. stephen douglas did blue and loose mary todd. she was looking for a president. [laughter] she really was and even though
everybody thought stephen douglas was presidential material she saw something she could mold in a bernama can and it was a love match. they absolutely loved each other but it was tortured. she was smart and politically acute. she has had a difficult time. >> she did -- the president. >> details that you told so far are so interesting and i have already got your book and started but haven't gotten furniture read all of it. in the event i was thinking is there any chance of documentary about some of these fantastic women? >> the producer would have to decide to do it documentary, that's not me. >> cookie i'm going to jump in. i am assuming there were women you were adjusted and writing
about the perhaps you couldn't because the documentation. >> i wanted to stay in washington because otherwise you're just too busy and also i'd washington well. one of the things i've learned in reading history this that academic historians often get the history right in the politics wrong and it really is help all to know how to analyze politics in order to write these books. so i wanted to have equal numbers of northerners and southerners and in reading 19th century hoax the same women started being mentioned. so then i did go searching for their papers and a dell kotz i never found any papers. i found the university of chicago had letters to her
mainly after stephen douglas died and a few others. sera prior who is one of the women i talk about. sera pryor would send people virginia hams and she sent the recipe that said unless you toilet overnight in champagne as they do in orland's this is the recipe. but i found hardly anything written at all about her. the newspaper when she died the newspaper referred to her as the popular ipod. she was personage. but for most of the others a lot of them are unpublished papers. i would like to know what she had to say. everybody else likes her and they said she's really smart and she's wonderful and she is the
son she is. every so often after douglas died and the whole world was moving her because she was considered a great beauty she did tell francis blair that she did not want to settle. she did eventually remarry an officer and had six children. >> can you hear me? i just wanted to ask how did you find out these letters? did you have to write across the country? >> modern technology is a wonderful thing. i found -- the founding mothers came out in 2000 or so i start working on that around 2001 and then you really did have to go places. but now you can see where the guy's papers are and mrs. google
does that for you. and then you get in touch with those libraries or historical societies and ask for they have women's papers that are not listed and they have become far, far more accommodating because now they know what i'm up to. and so they can then scan papers. this is for a fee which was fair enough, they were working so they could scan papers and send them to you. but you get about point his 18th and 19th century handwritten letters that are written horizontally and verdict wastes awaiting them is another matter altogether. i actually did have to hire somebody to read them. i had to decipher a lot of them. >> this is something that educators are very concerned about because without children being tops ripped today they are
not going to be able to read the letters. >> and what letters are they going to read also another problem. that's one of the great things about your printer. they have a printer were grandparents come and and write memoirs for the grandchildren which is wonderful and oral histories on npr and all of that are also ways to record history. we are going to have a dearth of written materials. i mean i guess if somebody is subpoenaed you can get an instant ram out of the cloud i assume that it's a problem. >> i have to ask one more question. i can't help myself, i'm sorry. i apologize in advance for this but given the 2016th presidential race and the gender dynamics that we are all aware of i'm just wondering if there's a woman in your book who
transplanted 150 years later whatever it is that would be presidential material today? >> e sure, absolutely. i think somebody like farina davis. if they were in the right situation, they certainly were knowledgeable enough and politically astute. in fact the newspaper said of elizabeth blair lee when she died very few women have had so brought his political experience. i find the obituaries fascinating because i was surprised there even were obituaries. the only person i couldn't find was elizabeth keckley which tells you about the times. but i think given the ability to have political help and run they
could have done it easily. >> some of those women that still got. >> absolutely not to mention that they would lose children all the time. it's heartbreaking to read how many children they lost. and of course during the war everybody was losing children but little children. both farina davis and mary lincoln lost sons who were two years old at the time and willie lincoln of course died in the white house and so did farina davis falling off the top of the building. montgomery had megs we all know in washington, one october she lost a 3-year-old and a 10-year-old for some disease that came through. so just living through the day was incredibly difficult and still they were as interested and involved in politics and
policy as they were i find that incredibly admirable. they couldn't vote. married women couldn't own property. they were the property of their husbands and still their enormous dedication to the country and to making it all come out right. >> we have time for one more question if anybody has one. we are going to hand you this. >> i was just wondering in hearing about these remarkable women who accomplish so much in the face of so much discrimination and lack of opportunity what do you see now currently with the continuing
odds that women face? >> there are odds. there is no less discrimination still very difficult in some fields and is also still true, you if personally think the single biggest problem is the work place needs to be far more caretaker friendly, because you cannot have the best and the brightest meaning the majority of and the vast majority of graduates not able to be as productive and is able to do their best work as possible and still be a competitive society. i think that is a challenge that needs to be met. i also do feel and don't's get upset, modern women and men too, modern women are a bunch of sissies. compared to what these women went through