Beyond the popular myths of spirited young women and iron-willed matrons of the 19th century South were women of substance and diversity. Many were prolific diarists, letter writers, and record keepers of deep insight and keen observation. In this important microfilm publication from UPA, fascinating collections of their writings shed light on the world they knew. Courtship, slavery, education, child rearing, marriage, and religion are common threads running through the thoughts of many disparate women documented in the series.
Each edition in the Southern Women series contains information about the Black American experience during slavery and emancipation, but Series H, Part 3 is unusual in its number of Black voices, from business women Fannie B. Rosser and Josephine Leary to slaves of the Campbell and Mordecai families who dictated letters to their relations and owners. Fannie B. Rosser worked for the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company and became a leader of the Black community through donation of money for scholarships and provision of personal loans. Josephine Leary owned a barber ship and demonstrated financial acumen. Her papers primarily concern her business dealings, mortgages, and estates. The Campbell family papers contain letters dictated or written by slaves Hannah Valentine, Lethe Jackson, and Lethe_s daughter Lucy Clarke who refer to other, nonextant slave letters. Prominent correspondents and families in Part 3 include Virginia T. J. Campbell, adopted daughter of David Campbell, governor of Virginia; Jewish teachers Ellen and Rachel Mordecai; Sallie Kate and Emma L. Craven, daughters of Braxton Craven, founder of Trinity College; and author Jane M. Cronly. The files include correspondence, diaries, personal and store accounts, and photographs.