tv Civil War- Era Women and Volunteerism CSPAN July 30, 2017 12:00am-1:06am EDT
efforts to protect social programs in her book dickie the least -- in her book "the least .mong us" when social security reached its lowest point, we had ronald reagan and tip o'neill who came together and acted -- and congress acted to make social security solvent into the future. hands,this, wringing of about social security being insolvent can be solved immediately. by lifting the cap. announcer: watch afterwards, sunday night at 9 p.m. eastern. on book tv. on lectures and history, villanova university professor esberg and her class
discussed how women participated in the civil war. she focused her talk on a nurse. the book is called "hospital sketches." >> all right, welcome to read to a class that will focus on women and all tourism during the u.s. civil war. read a primary source a woman whotten by purchase spitted in the civil war, luisa may alcott who worked as a nurse. our classart off today by looking at possible -- hospital sketches, which all of you should have available to you. out and ready to see. the big question that we are posing and investigating today, voluntarism --n
women's volunteerism shape the choices they make joined the civil war, and how did that volunteerism, affects the outcome of the civil war? [it is really two questions] those are our overarching questions. so we start with louisa may alcott, enter -- and her hospital sketches, published during the war. they would be realized and published. americans who read magazines -- they could read about her experiences in the civil war era hospital. so, i would like to hear your account ofout this civil war hospitals. what makes you think about louisa may alcott? i will skip this down so we can look at her while we're talking
about her. there she is. all right, go ahead, scott. scott: one thing that i liked about it was that you don't really see much of her, previously prorated we haven't really had any exposure to the inside of the hospital. we just know them from "killer ", however was a terrible place. it was good to see of the experience, being one of the people tasked with handling basically the impossible, helping soldiers who were all terminally -- no one really made it out of the hospital ok. so, dealing with that, and what trying to heal soldiers was like, such as cutting off a limb and hoping for the best. >> all right good. good. prof. giesberg: a first
insider's look from a real witness, what the civil war hospital looks like. what scott's suggested, was pretty dismal. but it was good. anyone else? tell me about your first impression of the book, as you read it. go ahead, riley. >> i have more of a question. was she publicly known as louisa male -- louisa may alcott, did she polish under -- publish under her name? allowed to have their own stories and things? prof. giesberg: good question. the xi use a pseudonym? miss periwinkle? and i think you put a finger on it as well. there is this, sort of come away in which a woman of her class, right, as opposed to, too,
-- is supposed to follow the rules at the time. women are supposed to be private. it is also not an uncontroversial decision for a woman, right, of hurley debtor, stature, to make a decision to go into a hospital at the time. hospitals are dangerous places where there are lots of strange man, right? that you don't know, and you would have to be around them. in part, that was a strategy that not only alcott but other women would use, to protect their reputations. of, it remindsrt us that there were holes that women like alcott were breaking when they went into the hospital to do that. i think it becomes widely known nonetheless, to write this. in part, it was just a game. sort of to maintain her
anonymity. but that was a good question. there were a few other hands that were up. go ahead, jim. works first impression, i thought it was interesting to read she was posing to her family friends, one of them said you should go be a nurse. and she just went right off, not knowing what she was getting into. she took everything in stride, even the great difficulties that she went through. prof. giesberg: yes, she portrays this decision as rather abrupt. it was not like she went through nurse training school and learned about how diseases were spread, or how to take care of injured people. but she described it as something instantaneous. right? and that is surprising. right? good. miriam? >> i think it was admirable that the first question posed to her
-- she said ok, i will do it. interesting,t was not even giving it a second thought, just wanting to help so badly. prof. giesberg: yes, she did not pause. her lack of preparation did not make her cause. you have to give her credit for that. right? we can imagine that it was not unlike the way men made the decision to enlist. they did not necessarily prepare for that. for that decision, and it likely probably happened pretty quickly as well. it makes sense that she would portray it that way. we do not actually know. how much conversation there was in the hour got household about her daughter going off to this dangerous place. we did get a sense of some apprehension, right? >> yeah, but this also could
have been dramatized read i felt like she wanted to do something, she made the decision that she was going to do it. it wasn't like -- oh i did it, but oh i should not have said yes. she was committed, either way, even if there was any apprehension. prof. giesberg: right. ryan, what about you? y funny is an underratedl book. i wouldn't say very funny, but it is about hospitals, but if you were to read other source documents it would be more dismal, cori or violent, but she puts an interesting humorous twist on it, which i thought added a lot to it. i thought she had a -- she had had a pretty fun spin on it. , i wass interesting
surprised about her sense of humor about everything. prof. giesberg: all right, good. so, maybe a way to think about that was that she had a sense of humor, and audience. she was not ready for her parents, or for the next generation -- she was waiting for an audience. she clearly wanted people to read it and for it to be entertaining too. and she does weave in her own sense of humor throughout it as well. i think the jury is still out on whether everybody laughs that it set -- as much as she intended to. maybe, 19th-century people left more than we did. that even though she only had a few days of training, how little formal training most of the nurses had, publicly the only experts in the room where the doctors and obviously there were few of them. the other part was that when people were coming in -- there
was hesitation mentioned, saying -- go and take care of these men and wash them. even the doctors would say, i don't know if this is right for a woman to see. it was definitely a sense of itropriety here, but because was wartime, she pushed through those boundaries. because it did not matter at the end. women were making strides, in this time. stuck, thelly boundaries kind of went back sadly after the war. prof. giesberg: right, very good. lots of stuff going on there. she is hugely aware that she is breaking news -- breaking rules. that is why she played this game with the pseudonym, and talked about the apprehensions that her parents had about sitting their daughter off to something they did not know about. but she also, -- she certainly
pays deference to that. it is not just that there will be strange men there, that she will be touching them. right? that is totally scandalous for a 19th-century woman. she is not even supposed to expose an ankle. right? you don't expose your own body at all, as a woman, and for you to be in the position of being around lots of french people and touching them, she talks about that, right? that moment when she is like whoa, wait a minute. this is not something i anticipated. outcome.ut running the we know that it will not stick, but there were some changes that will stick. good. what about you? >> i got the feeling that it is almost like an overly romanticized view in today's
civil war hospitals -- into these civil war hospitals to read it was, -- how grotesque it was to be there, i don't think her focus was necessarily to draw attention how gross and disgusting war can be, but rather to show the importance of nurses, and to show that women are capable of more than they are what they are traditionally asked to. i don't think it necessarily draws much attention to how grotesque the actual hospital was, but it proves her point that women have or are capable they arehan traditionally asked to at the time. very true.erg: she is keenly aware of this when she is published at the time, but she has a point to make. and that is the point. that the hospital is a place,
for women like her. for a middle-class woman, whose parents might be sort of leaning on them, or whose husbands might be leaning on the thing know, this is not the place you need to go. that is a great point. it makes sense that we get the romantic version, the humorous version -- she is trying to make it safe, to tell people that it is safe. because, at the time he was not. people who nursed in hospitals before the civil war, are mostly men. right? or, women who came from working-class or people who were not from the middle-class or from elite families like her own. >> who is next? you. point,ing off to this there was a lot about duty, and her pride parade on page 60 she talks about how she is proud of
what she has done, compared to what her friend did for her dead husband. let -- >> let's make sure everybody gets their at the same time. page 60? yes. yes, in the third paragraph she talks about how she does not regret her experience, and the duty that she has done. -- all that is the bravest in the hearts of men comes out in these -- and a little bit further down, -- for the amount that, thee i got from conversation, it compensates for -- i take some satisfaction in the thought that i could not lay the head on the all tier of my country. -- h is more
indiscernible. she is [indiscernible] that -- i haven't read too many civil war members, but i think this is characteristic of members before -- war members -- war memoirs around that time. people do not really talk about their personal feelings, how they could not grasp what they were seeing. another thing on page 21, the last paragraph. she cited several structures, each who were legless, entering my ward, admonishing me that i was there to work, not to wonder or weep. a hard road to travel. maybe i did not read it close
enough, but there was not too much about how she came to grasp with what she was seeing with the wounded occupants. prof. giesberg: no she doesn't. >> nowadays, in war memoirs, there's a lot about how people come back, and thought nurses and doctors, and how those nurses see the worst of it in the war zones today. but back in the day, it was all about duty, all about that romanticized version of war. i thought that was most interesting. prof. giesberg: yes, she is careful. some of the memoirs are letters that you all will read, about news sharing, with home, and what kind of music are keeping to themselves, or sharing among fellow soldiers, or in her case, fellow nurses. --re is a careful way that she is not there alone, we
should remember that. but even while she is there, she is keenly aware of what kind of information she was to share, and what she doesn't. that gets back also to her intentions of painting the womenal as a place where should be. because she has an alto motive, not just her duty, which is to make this point. i think you're absolutely right. we should look for those kinds of moments, in your own primary sources that you are using for your papers. about how they are selecting some news that they are sharing, then other news. whatthey are not sharing, that there is self-conscious editing of themselves that they are doing here. another thing, then i will go over to him. what about this corked up my feeling, stuff. she said that a couple times.
why say that, other than to remind us that she is carefully keeping some of the worst things from her memoir. right? think as ahy do you woman she would feel that she would say that the it goes back to questions about gender expectations, and how she is constantly coming up against them. why would she say that -- i should corked up my feelings? prof. giesberg: yes? works i think at that time women were perceived as overly emotional and i think she was demonstrating that she could deny these emotions in order to do her job effectively. >> yes. jubilee? decades leading up to the civil war, there was a cult of domesticity and the idea that women were supposed to be in the home, and the protectors of society, paragons of virtue,
and because of that, they needed to be shielded from real life, and the public sphere. so, by saying that she is capable of corking up her feelings, she is breaking down that distinction, and the idea that there needs to be separateness. that women have a role there, not just to be confined in the home. prof. giesberg: perfect, very good. it dies into the language of domesticity. that the home is a safe place for you to have, feel your emotions. right? express your emotions. and people thought that for women, it should be. because they were incapable of separating those things. so, she makes a very conscious decision to say that. and, she is not the only nurse to say that.
others would say the same thing. that they would learn to "corked up" their feelings. yes? orks on page 39 >> on page 39. she said i could have sat down and cried quietly. i could not on -- just give up so soon. , not do my job correctly and have them be rendered -- blundered into eternity. i do not know if i'm interpreting that right, but she seemed like she had a strong emotional reaction to it, the blunder, and it is just not appropriate to have a reaction like that when someone is dying. especially, right after a brave --dier like skylar >> yes, the hospital is a workplace. and female nurses are openly
clashing with doctors about the fact that they do not belong there. she even alludes to that a few times that doctors were not welcoming these women into the work case with open arms. exactly howthat is i interpret those moments too that she is reflecting that. these can be and were hostile places. for middle-class white women like louisa may alcott, working-class women, women of color. they all had to fight their way into this hospital situation and one of the things that she is doing is for giving us hints about, is talking about keeping her emotions in check. being a professional, even though she is a volunteer. she is accepting that emotional distance, right? that the doctors will be demanding of everyone around them. she plays that both ways though, right? what happens when our handsome
rebel is dying? what were you going to say? where were you going to go? >> going off of that in a different way, something i thought was interesting was that the female nurses were the strong ones, and the wounded men were weak. and the wounded men needed the female nurses, so that was different than other things i have read about the civil war so far. prof. giesberg: good. she is portraying them as helpless. almost infantilizing them. right? seem verythem dependent, childlike. and that way, kind of also makes it seem like for women who were middle-class women who were not trained in anything, they feel like they can do that. right? dumbest to city
jubilee, right? that women are supposed to be experts, just because, about taking care of children. that you are just born to do that, or to know how to take care of your health, born to know how to take care of children. so, if you portray these soldiers as infant like that woman would feel like she was ok. like -- i can do that. so, good. next? theou talked about how doctors were clashing with the nurses and did not want them there, saying that it was a big step for middle-class women, to being there. what started middle-class women deciding to go and become nurses , -- >> should know, she did not talk about that. >> what started them doing that? >> that question. i think we have to note your great question on wednesday, in the way that we usually do.
we will talk about that in a second. but, timing is important. this war in europe called the crimean war which proceeded the u.s. civil war and there was a woman named florence nightingale. she goes into the field as a nurse and rights a very popular book. book, "notes on nursing" it widely circulated. here in the school of nursing in villanova, we have a picture of her hanging out here in the building somewhere. she writes a book and middle-class women in america devour it. it is like an action adventure story for them. because she writes the book in such a way that is to say -- as to say that there is something you can do as a middle-class woman. she also believed that he should be trained to do it, by the way, that you should not just run off. but she ends up like louisa may
alcott, -- an eager way in which people are watching the war, and she writes a very compelling account of it which makes it sound possible. thethen you cannot discount stuff that alcott talks about. because sheired wanted to do something. i think that was how we started this conversation, the men were rushing off to enlist. and they about that, all found a place for themselves and the war, and she was looking for hers. a generation of people who wanted to do something, wanted to be part of something, did not want to be felt -- left behind. women felt that too. there was this book, nathaniel, that had just arrived on their parlor tables, and made them think -- i can do that. i can sprinkle lavender on
hankies, i can write letters. of rottingnot smell limbs, or whatever. and they got inspired to do it. >> a good example of how the doctors treat the nurses, unable to really handle the situation on page 46. prof. giesberg: page 46. >> the male surgeon goes over to tell her to take a rest, so that she doesn't get too exhausted and fall ale. so he says -- kindhearted little gentleman who seem to consider me if pharrell -- a frail young blossom, like spencer who had been knocking out the world for the past 30 years. she is trying to protect -- portray herself as a sturdy woman who doesn't need to take any rest. but a frail doctor is trying to
inform her that she will perish under her own will. prof. giesberg: right. that is a great example. i would like to talk about alcock, and some of the people she gets into contact with in the hospital. we know there is a tension between her and doctors. -- the firstr question is, what kind of -- how would you describe her nursing work? oft were her major sort responsibilities? what kinds of things did she do? caitlin? sitting with the men, talking to them, i know she would wash them, things like that. but it looks like he was in doing anything overly medical. like nurses today. prof. giesberg: right. not putting an id, not making sure they are oxygenated or anything like that. good.
evan? --later she talks about how i don't know what happened to the nightwatchman but sometimes she would take a night shift, take a walk and make sure that the men were doing good in bed or something like that. prof. giesberg: yes, she was sitting in the ward, watching them. washing. >> she would also write letters for them. prof. giesberg: she did, yes. >> wish you wouldn't normally expect nurses to be doing, medical nurses. or comforting them. more emotional things. prof. giesberg: yes, right. she is there with pen and paper, when it is time to write mom or your wife, or something like that. good. ethel? >> one thing she does reminds me hospice care nurses doing, helping alleviate their pain, or helping them get
better. taking care of them, while the doctors do whatever medicine they are doing at the time. prof. giesberg: yes, there is a sort of rewriting of comfort, which seems to be her main goal. making sure they are fed, making sure they are clean, making sure they are there when she is there -- when they need to write the letters, or many members they need to write letters. even sometimes delivering bad news to them. there was a moment where she was supposed to tell someone that -- he is not leaving the hospital. all right. so, who was doing the other works? the doctors, right question mark we know that. but, who is cooking? who was mopping the floors? there has to be a lot of blood and yuvk on those floors.
--yuck on those floors. who is cooking, doing the laundry, with all of the cutting off of limbs and things like that? >> there were slaves around to do that sort of thing. had interactions with a sweet black man who was in charge of the food, because it was not coming at the right time, and she said you have to bring the food at the right time. prof. giesberg: yes, and he seems like a cook, or somebody in charge of getting the food out to the soldiers. right? yup. are freeow that there blacks or former slaves who were working in the hospital, because we see them early as two billy reminded us, in the food preparation, and they come out in the narrative too. and in other places as well. about women who
worked there with her little boy later shebut then devotes a few pages to how the other woman interact with the colored people that work there, and portrays herself as -- i was not afraid to touch him or anything -- but the other woman wouldn't go near her working in the kitchen. lookingn she is in bed, at the window, the observations she makes about groups of black people walking down the street, -- >> in washington. yes. >> distinguishing from the gentleman she is used to seeing from -- what she from maine? >> she is from massachusetts. >> i thought that was odd to read. >> yeah, her reflections are interesting. there was a moment -- the first one that you mentioned, i think it is page 49 or, no, i cannot
remember -- where she talks about herself as this proud abolitionist. -- i think that was the same place where you mentioned someone being dismissive of the young boy? because she would not touch him. so she made sure she showed that she was immune to racism by touching this young boy. page 58.k it was prof. giesberg: oh yes, there it is. would one of you like to read that section there. is that it? ok, read it please. >> nurses would be willing to be served by colored people, but seldom thanked them, never praised and never recognize them in the street. where the blood of two generations of abolitionists waxed hot in my veins, i took the opportunity to assert the right of free speech as ugly as the irrepressible -- herself.
prof. giesberg: very good. and she also talks about touching the young boy to show that she is immune to racism. i then there were other moments, where she mentioned -- where as you mentioned, she was sort of awkward. and in fact, not just awkward, bad smacks of what we would consider. garden buyer -- garden-variety racism. >> i don't remember exactly, but she would be out walking around or something, and she would definitely sound superior to them. >> oh yeah. >> she mentions a few times in the book how she was a pure abolitionist. but just above that part we were reading, she said she expected she would have to defend herself from being prejudiced.
>> yes, absolutely. yes, riley? she said -- the freed slaves are totally different from the respectable like members of society in boston. and she describes them as turkish and lazy and ignorant. so, that is something that if you are -- and abolitionist and describing black people in that way, it seems that you are more prejudiced. >> yes, absolutely. example, andt there is a later one where she thinks that they are stealing. and she talks about tough disappearing and she just assumes that -- good. kendall, were you saying? >> at that time, would it be
considered appropriate to be working a long time with slaves for woman of her class? >> i think that is a really good question. it underscores the point we were making a little while ago, the promiscuous setting off the prop -- of the hospital, men and women mix together, and black and white mixed together. so, the fact that she is working with people of color, it reminds you of that. on the other hand, we know by the time, that by the time the war begins, several decades in which black abolitionists and white abolitionist had been working together. we knew that here in philadelphia, that other quakers flaunted their interracial nature, the groups of abolitionists. right? they would walk down the street arm in arm with people of color in philadelphia, and they would get beaten up and yelled at.
but there is a way in which, a tradition of intermission was among abolitionists but she seems to have had very little contact, or she evidences very little experience working with them. with people of color. right? >> it looks like another reason why she uses the pseudonym of ms. periwinkle. you think that is why? >> i think that is part of it. i think that is certainly part of it. using the pseudonym am a -- >> and a minus b that maybe the bostonian -- it might just be that the group of abolitionists which she rubbed elbows with, maybe they are a different class of this quaker, these radical quakers here in philadelphia. anytime i get a chance of taking a pop shot at boston in favor of philadelphia, i am going to do
it. so, i will stick with that even though i do have any evidence of that. [laughter] and also, it is also -- we have to make sure -- we had to be careful, it is a common thing for abolitionists to remark on their own racism. and their own limits of racial thinking. they know that they are racists, right? but the way that she dismisses others, it can be a little bit off putting for a 21st century reader, right? to say that other people are racists, then in the next sentence say something that makes you say -- come on, come on lou. very good. now, i think we will hold on to what we talked about here as we look at other examples of people going out into the war, to find their own places in this war. the thing to keep in mind right,
is women who would go into these positions, even our friend harriet tubman with whom was started, started the war off as volunteers to read they had to be professionally recognized. war, theye end of the had put in place a situation where others can follow them into the profession. so there was no professional nursing before the civil war. there are no nursing schools before the war. after the civil war, they -- the veterans of this war, would go on to open some of the first professional nursing schools. and veterans of other parts of the civil war went on to seek entree for women into other jobs as well. they pushed for women to be practicing doctors, pushing against local rules that prohibited women from voting.
restarts thes or push for professional credibility for women. and not just because of what she does, but because of what some of the other people that we will be looking at, do as well. wayessor: some of you are ahead of me in making this point here. we started off actually -- jubilee reminded us that all of this is happening within the context of this notion of domesticity. the idea that women, were made for the private sphere, and were safe there read that was their place and the ford outside was reserved men, and not safe for these middle-class women. this was their domain. and we can see miss alcott
rubbing up against that, and pushing up against that. we also know that women had, even before the war began, had begun to what -- push the parameters of this amount with all of the different reform activities. this year, highlights that, the separate spheres of domesticity. you have, left-hand side and the left-hand side of this domestic scene, highlighting the way that what men and women were supposed to leave -- the way that men and women were supposed to live this separate existence, for training that the mystic expectation. expectation,this women got involved in things like temperance work and become abolitionists, and all those things were about taking them outside of the domestic experience. it was not something that alcott or any of her generation
originated, when you it was already there. so, there is that sort of established tradition of, of questioning the vista city, that alcott inherited. that her generation inherits. right? so, when the civil war begins, and women will choose to stretch the parameters of domesticity, and one might say that nursing is that. the, in some ways, people who defend themselves, because of the nurses -- nurses say they are not really doing anything different that they would do at home. except they are doing it in the field, in the hospital, to be mothers and sisters, and wives. right? in some ways, alcott, she even first to the hospital as being a marriage, right? a couple of times. what is the difference between this and marriage question mark that she married the war. being inalks about
place of peoples mothers and wives, when she is there. when she is holding someone's hand or writing a letter. and that was one way in which people could explain this unusual things that women did, simply they were extending their domestic function, where men needed them. not all women did that. some women decided to go up against the limitations of the misty city and push those envelopes. i want to give you some of those examples then we will go back to alcott. here is one of my favorites, 19th-century iconoclast mary , edwards walker was a medical doctor. there were not a lot of them in the mid-19th century because american medical schools not allow women to enroll as it is. so, if you wanted as students. -- and role as as students. if he wanted to become a doctor
-- if you wanted to become a doctor in mid-19th century america, you had to go abroad or go to either colleges to get your medical degree. then, when you came back and wanted to do your residency you , could not get into a hospital. so, there were a smattering of women that serve as doctors in the civil war. all of them have to go the extra mile to get their medical degree, including women like mary edwards walker, who volunteers first as a nurse. you have to write all these -- you don't have to write all of these things down, they will be up there. what she is going to be at some of the most significant battles curled -- battles early in the war, as a nurse. --the meantime, she had hair her medical degree, and pushing the army medical department to give her an appointment as a surgeon, which is what she would been called as a doctor. and she was lobbying them, even though she is there taking care --men, doing a lot of the
probably not just running around with lavender in a handkerchief and writing letters, that likely doing a lot more than louisa may alcott was doing in her hospital situation. finally in 1864, towards the second half of the war, she finally gets appointed as a surgeon. in recognition for all of the work she has been doing for the last three years, really as a doctor. right? what about this picture of her strikes you? what is unusual about the way she looks? riley? >> she is wearing pants. bracket -- [exclaims] she is wearing pants!
is to read >> the whole time she was in the hospital, she talked about how unsanitary it was for women to be walking around with these silly hoop skirts that they swished around, and in the process collected all of the yuck and spread it around. she thought it was a surgeon's nightmare to think that women went into the hospital with those 19th-century getups. so, for her it made sense. plus, it was dangerous to be wearing getups like that. you could trip to read you could get yourself sick. louisa may alcott got herself sick. so walker insisted on wearing , pants. as incredible of a surgeon as she was, and she was supposed to be pretty goodbye 19th-century standards, she probably didn't wash her hands, the thing that struck people more about mary edwards walker, was not how good of a surgeon that she was, but the fact that she wore pants.
people always talk about her pants. it was the thing that obsessed them. here's one of her male colleagues. "the absurdity of the u.s. army appointing this medical monstrosity" -- and they are not talking about anything else wrong with her. there is nothing wrong with her, it is the fact that she is wearing pants that is freaking this guy out. "one dressed in that hybrid costume." clearly pants are clearly too much for people to handle. right? she also becomes a prisoner of towards the end of the war, she becomes a prisoner of war. she gets taken captive and serves as a pow in richmond. and for that, the other thing about her getup that is so interesting -- what about right there? what has she got on her jacket? >> yes, a metal of honor. professor: yes, a medal of
honor. as of the beginning of this year, she is the only woman to be granted the medal of honor, i believe. does that sound right? alfred? is that possible? could we possibly be in 2017 and have that be the case? >> i don't know of any others. i don't know any others. >> yes, me neither. i thought that cannot be right, but after the war, she was the only woman given a medal of honor, because she ultimately served as a pow. are it, so there is mary edwards walker. so some woman answered the call by becoming doctors. too hundredrobably or 300 or 400, -- 200, or 300,
or 400, women who took that saying of going in disguise and took it one step further and dressed up as men, and listing in the army. we know -- and listing in the enlisting in the army. we know most of these people that historians have identified are people that enlisted in the union army. that is likely just because of sources. there is surely a comparable number of people that served in the confederacy as well. some of you are doing or papers on some of these women as the -- women that disguise themselves as men. private franklin thompson served in fredericksburg, and after the war was over, her comments -- her comrades defended her service, even after they found out that she was disguised. they did not know, that she was disguised the whole time. or maybe they did and pretended that they claimed to not know after the war and the defended
her afterwards. and here is sarah edmonds, talking about why she did. she said -- i i did it because -- she was an immigrant from canada and for her this decision , was her way of proving herself to be a citizen. it was patriotic of her to do it. jennie hodgers. cahier. albert can we take a guess as to which when she is in the picture? who do we think? >> i will go with the person on the right. >> that is a good guess. and you would be right. served in the 95th illinois infantry. like some of these other women, jenny hodgers was not discovered until well after the war. in fact, here is a 20th century newspaper article, that finally cahier isthat albert
actually jenny heizer's. she disguised herself, and it worked so well for her that she continue to do it, for years after the war until she was discovered. when she went in, i believe she wanted to get her physical to get her pension, and that is when someone discovered that albert was a little bit different from some of the other men who were coming in to get their pension. one of the comrades who defended her referred to her in language that seems so obvious to us in the 21st century, as -- old half-and-half. which suggests what to us? we have to try to think like 19th-century people. does it sound like they may be new something was up? probably, right? but albert could carry a rifle , and good fight, so they just played along. as they did with several other examples but i will show you.
-- that i will show you. here is francis, -- i like her because she looks mean as hell. frances clayton was in the main cavalry. here she is in her cavalry uniform, and here she is obviously not in her uniform. she looks like she could have been a formidable soldier. i think. and then of course, you all know, because he's just started with this -- harriet tubman. you were many layers to this woman, she was not only a conductor on this underground railroad, but she actually let a regiment of the united states color troops on this river raid. in the aftermath of the war she has to fight to get a pension as a soldier, even though she did lead a regiment of men. she fought for years and years and years to get a pension for that work that she did. in the end, she never gets it.
in the end, she gets the pension from the united states army but not because she actually served in the army, but because she married a man after the war who had been in the army. so she gets a pension as a widow of an army man even though she had served in the army. eric, that is -- those are the sort of unusual ways that women go into the war. the sort of more beaten-down path, the path that we have records of many women attempting it, through the more traditional routes. prewar groups that had been working on solving moral problems in their communities easily became local soldiers relief organizations when the war began. so, they collected supplies and sends them to the front in pretty much every town and village throughout in particular
-- in both the north and south. in the south it becomes increasingly difficult for these societies to sustain themselves. they have to collect food and supplies at home. right? they cannot send them off to the troops. the north,oldiers in these eight societies would continue throughout the whole war. from those soldiers eight born the, is precursor, the 19th century precursor to the american red cross. that organization united states was called the united states sanitary commission. it was an organization that really began as an attempt to organize relief. so now when there is a disaster people don't try to rush , supplies directly to the disaster, right? you give money to an umbrella organization like the red cross who then does that work for you. during the civil war, the years
before the red cross, an born with theas same idea. it originated from soldiers aid societies. and from the work of a couple women who had already been well established by this time, dix who you something about, and also elizabeth blackwell. dorothy was an advocate for the rights of the insane before the war, and elizabeth blackwell was the first american woman to earn her medical degree. first american woman to let -- to earn her medical degree. together these two women created the origins of this red cross-like thing, the united states sanitary commission. through the sanitary commission, some women tried nursing. the sanitary commission did not just send supplies but also sent nurses eventually. some women went into nursing that way.
likewent on their own, alcott the red she didn't go through any organization, she had friends who got her an appointment, and should got a pass and got everything laid out for her. in the time we have remaining, i would like to go beyond that middle-class experience, and talk a little bit more about the experience of all those other people who figure in as players and all caps drama -- alcott's drama. as i suggested this is the first generation of middle-class women that think of themselves potentially as nurses. before that the hospital was a place for working-class women, people of color, people who work well beneath that class of people. i would like to go beyond here. there is florence nightingale, who when mentioned to you earlier, when jackson asked it safe, or who
inspired these middle-class women to go in to hospital. florence nightingale, her book "notes on nursing" was very popular at the time and a lot of these women were reading it. -- beyond that middle-class people -- nursing experience has been well explored, and there were many other people who ended up in hospital doing a lot of the hard work. right? the work that alcott and others were not doing. their hospital experiences are different from alcott. be aospital could dangerous place, it was a place where you had to sort of fight for your credibility as a middle-class nurse. our --rking-class woman, or as a woman of color, you had to sometimes fight for your own life. it was a place where you could be attacked by a soldier, and women -- white women
and women of color who reported that african-american women who served in these hospitals, became the subject of abuse, and were often raped a soldiers or by surgeons. so, this is a very dangerous place for an african-american woman to be, to work in these hospitals. by a whiteeflection woman, talking about what could happen to a woman of color who served in these hospitals. these women went into this work sometimes because they wanted to do the right thing, sometimes because they needed to earn a living, but they also took their lives into their own hand. it became a very dangerous experience for them. some of these pictures you can see, these marginal figures in these pictures, people who were
doing some of the most hard hospital work, right? taking care of the physical labor of cleaning, laundry, and all of that. you can see it in the slides here. and here, this woman didn't even stop washing long enough for the picture to be taken. she is moving the washtub. environmentsose converted some of these white middle-class women to abolitionism who weren't there before. here is an example of abby hopper gibbons, who talked about her nursing experience and how she learned what slavery was, and became much more aware of the problems of racism, because of what she had seen in the hospital. here she is talking about the outrage of slavery. i am going to go quickly to our southern examples. in the south, even more so than
in the experiences we have been seeing among people like alcott, the hardest work done in the hospitals in the confederacy was done by enslaved people. men and women, did the hardest work nursing in these hospitals. here is a picture of a hospital right outside of richmond virginia, which was essentially run by enslaved of the -- enslaved african-americans. these people -- some were drafted into this work. they did not volunteer to do it, and was a got there, they had to negotiate the terms -- and they did negotiate the terms in which they stayed. we know about them, because the white women who were sort of the matrons of these hospital complained about them all the , time. even more than louisa may alcott did. they complained about these enslaved hospital workers.
here at this hospital in richmond, the white hospital matrons complained that that the moment these men started to evacuate richmond, all of the enslaved hospital workers took off. they left. they were negotiating the terms under which you worked in these hospitals. they were there, maybe sometimes motivated by the desire to do something good, often because they were coerced to do so. but the moment they had a chance to fight for freedom, these hospital workers did that. you can imagine what that would do to a hospital, to have everyone -- suddenly who is doing all of the hard work, to disappear. pictures ofouple the women who were doing this work. this woman who worked in a hospital of tennessee, always complained about the workers. this other woman, worked in a
hospital that we just saw here, talked about the cooks who deserted her. "deserted" aserm if an inflamed person, who was striking out for freedom, for her, they were deserting her. leaving her with the work of cooking. hospital nursing was also, on both sides -- some of these women who run away, from slavery, would wind up showing up in union hospitals as well. i will live you with this picture of ms. taylor. she was a fugitive slave who run away with her family, and when she comes into the union, to the north, she then volunteers to for the united states colored troops. is anyone doing her for their papers? no? well, she writes a member of her
30erience working for the third u.s. colored troops. first as a nurse, and then as a teacher. the people that she works with are eager to learn to read, and she knew how to read, so she writes her memoirs, and talks about how she is there not only to serve the men as a nurse, but also to work as their teacher. womenw less about these in these experiences because the southern white women who survived the war will write their memoirs thick and fast, and those memoirs will tell a narrative that covers over their story of slavery and covers over of the work that those women of color did in confederate hospitals. and men of color. what becomes of this nugget of nursing history we have seen
here being planted, here in the civil war? a couple of examples. this woman is a woman who worked for the sanitary commission in the aftermath of the war. she worked in new york city to open up the first hospital -- the first school of nursing. she trained women to be professional nurses. skyler does. and there is a cluster of his other schools that will open up in aftermath of the war as well. taking nursing from being this voluntary thing that middle-class women did and refused to get a salary for into modernity and turning it into a profession. clare barton becomes the first president of the american red cross, as you know turning her , nursing career into profession.
and let's leave with louisa may alcott. what the she going to do? she writes some books. right? what does she right? among other things, "little women." what do we think about that book? some of you read it, right? do you think it is better? more entertaining? would you recommend that more recommendan you would "hospital sketches? " that is where we will end. alcott as professional writer, not as a volunteer nurse. thank you all. have a good day. we'll see you wednesday. >> thank you. >> join us every saturday evening at 8 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear from the american revolution to 9/11.