DAVID HUNTER STROTHER: "ONE OF THE BEST DRAUGHTSMEN THE COUNTRY POSSESSES." By John A. Cuthbert and Jessie Poesch (Morgantown: West Virginia Univ. Press, 1997. Pp. 168. $44.95 cloth, $29.95 paper.)
This is a beautiful publication, prepared and published in the state, on a West Virginia sketch artist who achieved national acclaim in the mid-nineteenth century. Occasioned by a travelling exhibit of forty-two original drawings by David Hunter Strother, this book is a short illustrated biography of the artist and a catalog to the exhibit. While no published print equals an original in an exhibit, the quality of the prints in this catalog provide those unable to view the exhibit with a rich experience.
David Hunter Strother was born in Martinsburg, present-day West Virginia, in 1816 and lived most of his years in the state. Strother was described as "One of the Best Draughtsmen the Country Possesses," the subtitle of the book and exhibit. This distinction came at the height of his career for the work he published in Harpers Weekly under the pen name "Porte Crayon."
Strother's life is etched out in segments on his early years and education, the author and illustrator (the peak period of his work and acclaim), the soldier, and his final years as West Virginian and statesman. The biographical study by John A. Cuthbert, Director of the West Virginia University Art Collection and Curator for the Arts for the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, is based primarily on the work of Cecil D. Eby, whose doctoral dissertation and biography, published by the University of North Carolina in 1960, are the established standards on Strother. Cuthbert utilizes the collection of Strother's papers, diaries, autobiographical writings, and art from the extensive holdings of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection to add much local and personal color to Strother's life. The liberally illustrated text maintains the integrity of the publication as a catalog and provides numerous opportunities to display the artistic talents of Strother, both prior to and after his acclaimed "Porte Crayon" years. Cuthbert's use of illustrations connect the reader to Strother's early artistic attempts, teachers, travels, and experiences as illustrator, soldier, and statesman. The text is further enriched with significant quotations from Strother's writings. While Strother's drawings and illustrations speak out on their subjects, they are frequently much enriched by his talents as a vividly descriptive and insightful writer.
The catalog section of the volume pairs each of the forty-two drawings with a page of description. Jessie Poesch, of the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University and co-curator of the exhibit, provides descriptive information on and historical context for each drawing. Strother's personal notes on the subjects of his drawings accompany many. Poesch's research on the drawings and Strother at the time he conducted the work amplify most of the drawings. One-half of the drawings selected for the exhibit depict West Virginia subjects; the remainder are scattered over Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, New York, and Massachusetts. One-third of the twenty-four drawings of human subjects depict African Americans, an interest of Strother's which both authors explore without satisfactory conclusion.
The drawings presented are selected from a larger volume of work by Strother. Presented chronologically, the earliest is dated 1845 and the latest 1887, the year before Strother's death. While the selection provides insight into Strother's strength of analyzing subjects and his keen ability to observe and record detail, there is scant explanation on the selection process for the drawings included and their correlation to those not included in the exhibit. Strother's successful career was interrupted by his military service in the Civil War, a service for which he had no formal training but at which he excelled. There is only one print from the Civil War years. Following the war Strother had only a few good years and his success appears to be based on the publication of his "Recollections" in Harpers, a series the magazine dropped before its conclusion.
The forty-two drawings selected for the exhibit and printed in the catalog make a strong statement on Strother's talents and his documentation of life and nature in the mid-nineteenth century. His drawings, strengthened by his writings, are valuable documentation of life in West Virginia and other areas he visited and recorded. Those who have the opportunity to visit the exhibit as it travels in 1997-98 to the Virginia Historical Society, the Hickory Museum of Art in North Carolina, the Ohio Historical Center, or the Washington County Museum in Maryland will find it a rewarding experience. For those less fortunate, or wanting a beautiful and informative keepsake, David Hunter Strother: "One of the Best Draughtsmen the Country Possesses" is a quality substitute which can be explored and enjoyed repeatedly.
Fredrick H. Armstrong
West Virginia State Archives
The winner of the 1995 Appalachian Studies Award, John C. Hennen's Americanization of West Virginia breaks new ground in the study of twentieth-century Appalachia and West Virginia. Seeking to demonstrate how a minority of state elites instilled in West Virginians an authoritarian ideology of American identity, Hennen argues that West Virginia's "ruling classes," consonant with national promoters of industrial capitalism, promulgated a value system that helped them seize "hegemony" and prevent the rise of "counterhegemonic alternatives." The educational, political, and industrial leaders of the state "helped insure the state's designated role as a resource zone."(4) The author also offers his book as a cautionary tale against what he sees as a resurgent hierarchical vision in post-cold war America and as a contribution to information that will be "a tool for social liberation rather than social control."(xv)
Hennen notes that aside from extensive work on the coal industry, historians have neglected the World War I and postwar periods of West Virginia's history. He addresses these lacunae and offers "a countervailing perspective to the generally hagiographic contemporary accounts in which West Virginia protagonists of this period are mentioned."(151)
The author explores manuscript and print sources largely unused previously by historians as he analyzes the mobilization of wartime public opinion in West Virginia. Inspired by the federal Committee on Public Information (the Creel Committee) and private patriotic organizations, West Virginia's opinion makers and educators generally reflected national views. Using oral exhortations and written appeals in the state's nearly two hundred newspapers, the leaders mobilized public opinion in support of the war effort and corporate capitalism. Hennen quotes extensively from this material to indict the Americanizers with their own rhetoric, which clearly assumed certain elements in society had a right and indeed a responsibility to govern and to set the standards.
According to the author, when the war ended, the elite classes applied the successful wartime engineering of consent to the "labor problem." A coalition of West Virginia business leaders united in the American Constitutional Association, a private organization devoted largely to defeating industrial unionism in the name of "industrial Americanization" and the open shop movement. By 1923 anti-union forces had rolled back the wartime gains of the state's largest union, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
Just as the schools had been used to mobilize opinion during the war, private associations such as the American Constitutional Association, the American Legion, and the West Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs were able to influence the school curriculum in the early 1920s with their own conception of Americanization. Hennen emphasizes that the Americanization drives of the 1920s differed from the prewar efforts to assimilate immigrants into American society. Industrial Americanization, he maintains, was the successful effort of a class-conscious minority to indoctrinate the mass of Americans with their hierarchical and undemocratic social views which urged upon workers the values of thrift, obedience, antiradicalism, and hard work.
Hennen argues that the elite closed the door to all democratic options to industrial capitalism and influenced workers to adopt the elite's view. Most of organized labor, for example, including John L. Lewis's UMWA, offered no suitable alternative because union leaders, even when their unions were suffering debilitating losses during the 1920s, expressed capitalist values similar to those of industrial Americanization. Hennen assumes the unity and the self-consciousness of the elite on the main issues and largely ignores party politics and differences between Republicans and Democrats or differences within parties over the economic, religious, ethnic, and cultural issues of the day.
A major contribution of this book is to place Appalachian and West Virginian issues in the American mainstream of the period rather than treating them as exceptional or peculiar. On both the regional and national levels, this was a time when molders of public opinion almost sanctified business values while condemning alternative visions as un-American. Twelve photographs from the collections of the West Virginia State Archives help to capture a sense of the era.
Hennen's book is a welcome addition to the relatively thin shelf of critical studies of West Virginia's twentieth-century history. Although his concept of the hegemonic elite in West Virginia could benefit from clearer definition, both academic and general readers will find this an insightful and provocative interpretation of the period. Hennen rests his case upon both primary data from extensive manuscript and periodical research and a substantial historiographical foundation of Appalachian and national revisionism.
Jerry B. Thomas
Local/state historian Noel Tenney reminds this reviewer regularly of the importance of context. With his numerous, vivid anecdotes and critical commentaries on the importance of the oral tradition, Tenney's consistent theme is chanted almost like a mantra. If we are to understand or experience a depth of meaning with something written, sung, or spoken, we must see it within its context-the historical gist of things that surround it.
In her book, A Space on the Side of the Road, Kathleen Stewart looks for substance and meaning in the narrative language of West Virginia families. Living among several small coal camps in southwestern West Virginia during the early 1980s, she constructs a doctoral thesis from the context of her own academic profession, cultural anthropology. Stewart studied ethnology as a cultural anthropologist at the University of Michigan and comes well equipped to frame her Appalachian experience in appropriate, professional categories. After completing her doctoral requirements, she returned throughout the decade to gather continued support for the ideas she published in this book.
The language of the book is dense with an intellectually challenging, superfluous writing style filled with the jargon of her discipline. The dialogue and the ensuing analogies fit efficiently with her methodology and style. Boldfaced words add an accented emphasis that the orator may not have intended, and oft-repeated words like "thang" and "buddy" bring an unnecessary "clang" to the narrative. Regardless of the author's interpretative perspective, the narrative of the people she encapsulates carries its own power and meaning. The burden of investing time and energy to become familiar with a "new language" is weighted further by the generally disappointing photographs chosen as typical representations of the region.
Canopied within this dense, anthropological jargon and remarkable dialogue, the "daunting task" and creative challenge of "cultural translation" is presented. Drawing on the historical antecedent of James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Stewart emphasizes the importance of "displacing the premature urge to classify, code, contextualize, and name long enough to imagine something of the texture and density of spaces of desire that proliferate in Othered places." This region of West Virginia is shaped as an "Other America," outside the mainstream culture, a "space on the side of the road." Far from being condescending, Stewart sees this part of the American landscape as "a space grown more, not less, prolific in the face of modernity." She is obviously "caught up" in the density of life here, captivated by the narrative of the people-its twists and turns, the stories told, retold, and retold again. She is fascinated by the questions asked and answered in ways "outside" of cause and effect, the places remembered as things to be interpreted, like runes, and history being the interpretative act of remembering. She tries to translate this appreciation via "poetics," a way of looking at the people and their language outside the theoretical and ideological constraints of her profession. For her, this is the grand challenge. Stewart wants to run-like a double helix-along the winding roads with the families here, weaving back and forth from the professional academician to being a "buddy." Somehow it is easier to imagine her jumping back and forth from behind a two-way mirror. It is not only the context of her profession, but the assumed values of her own social outlook which impart a grayness to the language used to describe many of the people, places, and "thangs" remembered.
However disappointing or frustrating the language may be, one is equally appreciative of the enthusiasm she has for her "subject." She seems to be genuinely inspired and driven to explore her interest in narrative. Her interpretations are at times brilliant and illuminating, her analogies insightful and thought provoking. She is after all a cultural anthropologist, not a storyteller, and she should be applauded for venturing into the art of "poetics"-recognizing the "vitality" of "real" lives in the region.
Within the context of Stewart's writing and professional orientation, an important document has been manufactured as an experiment in anthropology. Peers have praised its success and some may place her work alongside that of James Agee, measuring the people of this region-this "place on the side of the road"-as a noticeable "backtalk" to the order and certainty of the modern world. The "backtalk" most apparent and encompassing is the infusion of a shifting remembrance of place into the social experience. Attachment to place has long been an important and known value of Appalachians, if only Stewart could have captured some measure of "lightness" in her analysis. The absence of the language of families and children talking, laughing, and playing in the hollows leaves the impression of another kind of gap "on the side of the road."
This slender volume represents a long-overdue corrective to the notion that abolitionism was totally nonexistent in the Old South. Resurrecting the minority view, expressed over the years by scholars such as Albert Bushnell Hart, Alice Dana Adams, Dwight Dumond, and Merton Dillon, Stanley Harrold convincingly argues that the Upper South contained a nascent, albeit beleaguered, antislavery movement. The vast majority of modern-day scholars, he complains, have generally regarded southern versions of abolitionism as illegitimate, since they were so often tainted with racist and paternalistic overtones. Now that we know this fact may equally be applied even to some of the "truest" abolitionists, the New England Garrisonians, it is necessary to refocus attention upon southern abolitionists and to reexamine the links that clearly bound them with their northern counterparts.
After framing the debate with a fine historiographic essay, Harrold delineates northern images of southern abolitionist prototypes, in the form of "white emancipators" and "black liberators." As most scholars would agree, more than a little condescension and disapproval characterized northern abolitionists' views of southern antislavery politicians, such as Kentuckians James G. Birney and Cassius Clay. But, just as often, Harrold reveals, northerners expressed enormous respect and admiration for southern activists, such as newspaper editors Joseph Snodgrass and Gamaliel Bailey, who repeatedly risked personal injury, arrest, and exile by distributing antislavery tracts. Far more complex was the wide range of views held by northern abolitionists toward southern black activists like Nat Turner and Madison Washington, who resisted slavery with violence. Many northerners struck an awkward balance between advocacy of widespread slave insurrection and the belief that such rebellions would almost certainly fail, resulting in mass genocide of southern blacks. As northern abolitionists' optimism about the efficacy of the southern white emancipator waned, Harrold argues, it was replaced with a more explicit and less qualified advocacy of violent resistance by blacks.
Three middle chapters, dealing with southern slave rescues (pre-John Brown), the antislavery preachings of southern clergy, and attempts to establish antislavery colonies in the Upper South, are the book's most readable, illuminating, and persuasive. In considering the combined activities of slave rescuers like Charles T. Torrey, antislavery missionaries like John G. Fee, and "colonizers" like John G. Underwood, Harrold effectively demonstrates that, rather than abandoning the South after 1835 (as previous scholars contended), abolitionists actually increased their activities on slavery's home soil.
Though Harrold's thesis appears deceptively simple, it holds tremendous ramifications for the larger debate concerning abolitionism and the coming of the war. Many scholars will likely be drawn into the scuffle, reignited here by Harrold, over the "rationality" of secession. If his thesis is correct, that abolitionism indeed posed a real threat against the South, the actions of fire-eaters like John C. Calhoun and Edmund Ruffin do not seem at all reactionary but sane, well tempered, and prudent. It might appear to some readers that Harrold delivers a fatal blow to the theory, put forth by scholars like David B. Davis and Steven A. Channing, that the southern response to abolitionism was extreme and unnecessary. One still wonders, however, whether it was clearheaded for southern politicians to lend more weight to the actions of a dozen or so border-state "renegades" than to the sentiments of the vast majority of northern voters, who had no problem with slavery where it existed.
Several problems are worth noting. One is the majority of examples used by the author to illustrate abolitionist activism in the Upper South are drawn from the 1840s, instead of the 1850s, appearing to undermine the argument that activism increased rather than waned over time. After John Brown's failed raid in 1859, a severe backlash in the Upper South forced many outspoken abolitionists, and even some of the quieter ones, to cease their activities or flee. While taking note of this, the author chooses to read it as a sign of the power, not the weakness, of the abolitionist threat in the region, a point which certainly is open to debate. A related criticism is that Harrold downplays the failure of abolitionists in Kentucky and Virginia to effect permanent legislative bans on slavery during a brief surge in antislavery sentiment in the late 1840s. He subsequently ignores the spectacular rise of states' rights Democrats in the region starting in the mid-1850s, demagogues like Henry A. Wise of Virginia who wielded the specter of abolitionism very effectively against political opponents. Indeed, Wise enjoyed his strongest support in the northwestern portion of Virginia, the very section that scholars have supposed to have been most receptive to antislavery ideas.
Harrold is most persuasive when he seeks to revitalize the relationship that clearly existed between northern and southern forms of abolitionism. He is less convincing when he tries to pronounce southern abolitionism an ultimate success. To do so would require a deeper look not only into the courageous and sustained activism of people like Torrey, Fee, and Underwood but into the public reception given to such men across time and space. These are the types of problems, however, that will be worked out in the scholarship which this fine volume undoubtedly will inspire. Judging by the recent appearance of David Chesebrough's study of antislavery clergy in the South, that scholarship seems to be well under way.
James H. Cook
West Virginia University
Nearly fourteen decades have passed since the curtain came down on the American Civil War with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865. Over time literally thousands of books, articles, dissertations, and other literary efforts have sought to help us understand the campaigns of the Confederate armies generally and, often, the actions of General Lee specifically.
In Lee the Soldier, editor Gary Gallagher has pulled together a wide variety of material written by and about Robert E. Lee and his Civil War campaigns. The book is divided into four distinct parts. Part one consists of a number of postwar conversations in which Lee spoke freely about his service with the Army of Northern Virginia. This section does offer some insight into Lee's mindset, which is valuable because of the former general's well-known reluctance to speak in any detail of his Confederate service. One should keep in mind, however, that conversations recorded after the fact are subject to error or manipulation.
Part two consists of eleven essays that attempt to analyze the true nature of Lee's generalship. The authors in this section include ex-Confederate general Jubal Early, a strong Lee protagonist, and lawyer Alan Nolan, whose 1991 work Lee Considered caused quite a stir with its revisionist study of the Confederacy's most famous general.
Part three contains ten essays that seek to narrow the focus to specific campaigns, especially Gettysburg. Here is combined a mixture of nineteenth- and twentieth-century accounts of Lee's military prowess, or lack thereof. Included are the works of former Confederate officers Edward Porter Alexander and James Longstreet. Others who offer more recent assessments of Lee's career include the always dependable Robert K. Krick, historian at Fredericksburg National Military Park in Virginia.
The last part, entitled "The R. E. Lee 200: An Annotated Bibliography of Essential Books on Lee's Military Career," is a well-compiled list of two hundred books directing readers to a wide variety of source material which can aid them in determining Lee's place in military history. The list was compiled by historian T. Michael Parrish, aided by Gary W. Gallagher and Robert K. Krick. The editor writes that the list is intended as a "general guide to the broad range of primary and secondary books concerning R. E. Lee's actions and reputation as a soldier." Included is the 1990 work by this reviewer, Robert E. Lee at Sewell Mountain: The West Virginia Campaign.
Lee the Soldier is designed as a resource or reference work for those who would like to determine for themselves the facts and fallacies of Lee's reputation and status in American military history. "It is not in the scope of this book," Gallagher states in his introduction, "to offer a definitive assessment of General Lee. . . ." Indeed, for those already well read on this topic there is little or nothing new. Others not so well versed and not already owning copies of most of the works cited here will no doubt find this book not only worthwhile but beneficial. Its rather steep retail price may cause some to shy away. Whether or not that would be a mistake is rather like the "truth" about Robert E. Lee; it's all in the eyes of the beholder.
One of the most welcome recent trends in Civil War historiography has been the increased attention paid by scholars to the homefront. Stephen Ash's When the Yankees Came is a worthy addition to that growing body of literature. Seeking to understand a part of the Southern experience too often ignored, Ash provides a useful survey of various aspects of life in the occupied Confederacy. He concentrates on three themes: the evolution of the occupiers' policies from "soft" to "hard," internal conflicts among Southerners, and the differences in the experience of occupation caused by geographic location within the occupied South. Readers of this journal will be disappointed that Ash does not include western Virginia or East Tennessee. He explains this omission by stating that "just who the real 'invaders' in those two regions of massive anti-Confederate resistance is debatable, and . . . the story of the people there deserves a separate telling."(x)
Ash sets the stage with a brief prologue on antebellum Southern society. He stresses several dominant characteristics of Southern life about to come under stress, notably slavery, the white class structure, the importance of kin and communal ties in a predominantly rural and traditional society, and the limited place left for women in a patriarchal South. The beginning of the war threw this well-ordered world into chaos. Even before the Federals arrived, the planter elite, already distrustful of yeomen and "poor whites," launched a campaign of suppression against both blacks and alleged Unionists, and watched the remaining white population with a wary eye. Greater turmoil followed with the appearance of the men in blue. While many clogged the roads as refugees, many more remained behind defiantly to defend their homes or welcome the Federals as liberators. Ash convincingly asserts that men were more likely to flee than women. In general, most local Union commanders initially pursued a "rose water" policy designed to win back the loyalty of Southerners, most of whom presumably required little coaxing. When widespread Unionism failed to develop, however, and particularly after bloody and effective guerrilla warfare flared up in 1862, Federal policy grew increasingly "hard." Anger, hatred, and a thirst for vengeance grew among Federals until it found its ultimate expression in William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea.
Ash is quick to point out, however, that guerrilla fighting and Federal reprisals were more likely to occur in some sections of the occupied South than others. Indeed, he asserts that there really were three occupied Souths, each with unique characteristics. The occupied garrisoned towns together comprised one occupied South. Completely under the thumb of the Federals, townspeople had little opportunity for open defiance. Nor did many want to rebel. Garrisoned towns served throughout the war as magnets for freedmen and Unionists, although eventually Federal soldiers and most Unionists grew disillusioned with each other. Moreover, even secessionists appreciated the law and order, functioning schools and churches, and relief projects that accompanied Federal rule. Such towns became "islands of order in a sea of violence."(92)
The farthest shore of that metaphorical "sea" was the Confederate "frontier." Occasionally traversed by Union columns, frontier areas nonetheless largely continued to exist under Confederate rule. Despite the anxieties produced by living in a war zone, as well as economic difficulties resulting from foraging and the collapse of slavery, life generally went on as before. This was not so elsewhere. In between the garrisoned towns and the Confederate frontier lay "no-man's-land." Controlled but not constantly occupied by the Federals, the no-man's-land represented the worst experience of the occupied South. Families were devastated and communities uprooted by the foraging of both armies, the loss of livestock, closed schools and churches, marauding guerrillas, and bandits. Moreover, the phrase "no-man's-land" became a literal description, as women often had been left behind to fend as well as possible for themselves and their children. Women, Ash maintains, "struggled to preserve the patriarchal world they had known."(203) The rest of that world, however, crumbled. Overall, the main "struggles" that Ash maintains characterized the occupied South-"Rebels versus Yankees, secessionists versus Unionists . . . whites versus blacks, and . . . the propertied versus the propertyless"(193) went on at their worst in that lifeless, bloody "twilight zone" between Union and Confederacy.(99) Ash adds that it was in no-man's-land that the South learned a vital lesson for Reconstruction: the more violence applied to blacks, the more white racial mastery would survive. By 1865 it hardly was surprising that Confederate morale had collapsed. The war settled the question of secession and brought order to no-man's-land, but the societal flaws exposed by the war-politics, race, and class-refused to disappear.
On the whole, When the Yankees Came is a well-researched and extremely readable narrative. Some scholars will find little new in Ash's discussions of guerrillas or wartime communities, which largely repeat assertions made by others, but they will profit from other portions of the volume. The "three-souths" model in particular is a concept that will turn up in many sets of lecture notes, including this reviewer's.
Kenneth W. Noe
State University of West Georgia
Drew Gilpin Faust is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, a northern institution known for its strong support of the all-female undergraduate student body. It is no surprise that Faust, a southerner by birth, has undertaken a study of how the Civil War affected the mind and spirit of the Confederate female. Mothers of Invention explores the conflict experienced by Southern women as they struggled to maintain their prewar notions of self while their world changed radically. Any new sense of self brought about by the circumstances of domestic civil strife "was based . . . in the fundamental need simply to survive." The Southern woman became the "mother of invention" out of the necessity of surviving the implications of the war, hence, the title of this volume. As one woman wrote to her absent husband, only "necessity" could "make a different woman of me."
The book is divided into thematic chapters, each exploring various issues facing the Southern female. The Civil War removed the majority of men from the homefront, leaving women to deal with economic and social issues on both the public and private levels. The shifting antebellum social structure altered the role of the Southern female. Maintaining the family plantation, farm, or business became the responsibility of the women of the household. Compelled to make decisions previously delegated to men, many were reluctant to enforce discipline on the household slaves. Primary sources reveal that they chafed increasingly under these new expectations through the course of the war.
At the war's onset, patriotism and pride dominated the feelings and thoughts of the Southern woman: personal interest was all but erased in the jingoistic commitment to the Cause. There was a sense of sacrifice as husbands and family members went off to war. However, as personal needs asserted themselves, letters and journal entries indicate that women desired the return of their husbands to support them during childbirth or to deal with the recalcitrant slave. By the end of the war, many had written to Jefferson Davis pleading for the release of their male counterparts. Emotional and mental needs had become more important than political priorities.
While many women struggled to maintain their family property, others were forced to leave their homes to live with others. These circumstances were not always comfortable; restricted budgets and unfriendly relatives made life difficult. Financial hardships and personal ambition led many to seek employment. The Civil War provided an opportunity for women to earn an independent living. Many went to work as teachers, clerks, and nurses. Unlike in the North, women had not entered the teaching force in great numbers prior to the war. The text notes that in 1860 only 7 percent of teachers in North Carolina were female. By the end of the war, there were as many female as male teachers in the state. Women also became clerks in various Confederate agencies: the War Department, the Post Office, the Quartermaster Department, and the office of the Commissary General. The biggest number entered the Treasury Department. Finally, women entered the medical profession as volunteers in wards despite hostility from doctors and staff. While the established hospital hierarchy of class and gender made it difficult for women to be accepted easily, women often worked their way up from menial tasks to the position of ward matron. Many overcame the "fainting" horror of the almost barbaric quality of medical care available behind the battle lines to provide support and assistance as supplies and manpower dwindled throughout the war.
Women became impassioned writers, recording their thoughts and feelings in private letters and journals. Many were published authors of songs, poetry, and novels. These artistic efforts gave birth to new awareness and understanding of self and relations to others. One such effort became a best seller. Macaria was written by Augusta Jane Evans in 1864. As the follow-up to her 1859 bestseller, Beulah, Evans constructed a novel that praised the Confederacy while searching to identify a role for the Southern woman. Faust explores the novel's representation of its wartime heroines' struggles for identity and purpose.
One of the more interesting chapters of Mothers of Invention examines the relationship between Confederate women and Yankee men. Social etiquette of the day did not allow women to express hostility publicly. However, many women were unable to resist the opportunity to provoke Union soldiers. Union Major General Benjamin Butler was caught in this contradiction of Southern female identity. Faust documents General Order No. 28, a public ordinance issued by Butler in 1862 during his occupation of New Orleans: any woman demonstrating hostile language or action against the occupying Union forces would be treated as if she were a prostitute. The women of the city were angered by its occupation but could not vent their feelings without trespassing against their own traditional sense of decorum. Southern women wanted to act more freely but were uncomfortable with challenges to their definitions of gender.
This conflict of gender and its restrictions is explored briefly in its representation through period costume. The hoop skirts of the period distorted the human shape. Sexuality was hidden beneath the petticoats and hoops. Several women confide to their journals their feelings upon wearing the clothes of their husbands, marvelling at the freedom of movement.
Mothers of Invention relies on a variety of first-hand accounts of the female struggles during the Civil War. The reader becomes acquainted with several specific women whose lives are traced through the duration of the war. This focus enlivens the thematic essays. Belle Boyd's spy exploits are particularly entertaining. One possible weakness of the book is the lack of chronological and geographic context for these themes. Although the author provides dates and locations, she does not remind the reader of what is happening at any specific time or location during the war. She assumes the reader knows the specific events dictating personal reactions. Specific battles and their impact are not analyzed. Regardless, this volume will be a welcome text to women's history. As Faust states, the Civil War was an event associated more with race than with gender. Her contribution to issues of gender explores an important secondary issue of the Civil War.
Susan M. Pierce
Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer
for West Virginia Resource Protection
Memoirs of the American Civil War hold a special place in literature, and rightly so. As extended, eyewitness accounts of the nation's defining trauma, they arrest the attention of readers with even the slightest awareness of historical significance. Many veterans, however, were neither historians nor even polished writers. Nostalgia, spite, ignorance, or confusion seriously weaken many old soldiers' books. Yet the best recollections, like David Holt's recently published look back, both inspire and enlighten. This Mississippi youngster-turned-warrior-turned-minister achieves far more than the memoirist's usual goal of recapturing his younger self. He accomplishes this, but in addition to setting forth a vibrant personal history, Holt also reconstructs his antebellum Mississippi plantation world and the small-unit war culture in which he fought. Happily, he does so with the wisdom of deep thought and long years of reflection and with refreshing irreverence for all conventions.
The eighth of ten children of a physician-planter in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, young David grew up in a large and lively gaggle of siblings. Fun came in raucous variety. Typical were David's innumerable fights and a Christmas morning reveille with a small cannon in the foyer. More delicious prose is found in Holt's comments on social customs, education, and slavery. Although his diction defies today's political correctness, Holt's words add significantly to understanding life before the war. Scholars would value Holt's sketch of rural Mississippi, especially the secession crisis in his county, even if it were not part of an exceptional war memoir.
Deemed too young at seventeen to accompany the local company to the front, slight and frail-looking David served at first in a cadet camp near home. Little real military training occurred, but with each of the "shirttail shavers" toting a shotgun not one bluejay lived to threaten Wilkinson County.(69) Eventually, Holt joined Company K, Sixteenth Mississippi Infantry in time to march in Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign. David fit in well with the rank and file, even though his prewar education and social standing probably could have secured him an officer's commission.
In Private Holt's company the most valued virtue was "grit." David's companions defined it as "a combination of determination, endurance, self-control and dead gameness."(82) Always in the firing line when needed, despite his many illnesses, Holt had grit. His comrades acknowledged this and accorded him status as a company rascal. No disapproval rested (for long) on him for absences spent scrounging, picketing, or free-lancing. Holt reinforced his place in the group when he refused the chance for a discharge because of his youth.
Holt enlivens a litany of marches, illnesses, and battles with candor and wit. Sanitation, for example, was a word the hospital left "in Webster's Spelling Book . . . not knowing how to apply it."(107) A prolonged sickness reacquainted Holt with clean sheets and with relatives in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he recuperated. But when he rejoined Company K after Second Manassas and Antietam, Holt learned he had "lost caste" because he had rested while the company fought and bled.(125) Wisely, David spoke little of Lynchburg and bunked with his cousin instead of trying to reenter a conventional group of messmates. Only by "quiet . . . manliness" and doing his duty could he regain favor.(130) Holt's identification of the value "manliness" held for Civil War soldiers anticipates the analyses of today's historians.
At Fredericksburg, David's restrained combativeness on Marye's Heights, where his brigade poured much slaughter on the attacking Federals, began the repair of his status. Through subsequent months of marching, starving, and fighting, David further rehabilitated himself. His account of Gettysburg is somewhat muddled, but Holt's sketch of Spotsylvania, where he survived the Bloody Angle, ranks among the most vivid and frightening combat memoirs of any war. At the very apex of the salient Holt stacked seven rifles on the breastwork, firing them in rapid succession, while a comrade reloaded. Shooting from the hip, because there was no time to shoulder a rifle, Holt became covered with blood, mud, and powder, as did his comrades, whom he described as "a diabolical looking set of devils."(259) Equally valuable and agonizing is his somber retelling of the Wilderness Campaign through the siege of Petersburg. Holt does not gloss over the stench and gore of any battle. Nor does he soften his hardscrabble months as a prisoner of war. Yet the detached sadness of a grieved observer, not the sensationalism of yellow journalism, characterizes his account.
David Holt's well-written, well-edited memoir loans readers his eyes, ears, nose, mind, and soul. It should become a standard reference on the Civil War soldier's experience.
James Russell Harris
Kentucky Historical Society
Although many journals of Civil War soldiers have made it into print, this latest volume in the Voices of the Civil War series offers a different perspective than most writers. Marcus Woodcock, the Southern boy in blue, was a rare Middle Tennessee Unionist who joined a Kentucky regiment of U.S. soldiers in the fall of 1861. Over the three years of his enlistment, the reader follows Woodcock to Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Knoxville, and northern Georgia. Unlike most participants, Woodcock composed his memoirs soon after the end of the war and used diaries covering most of his army career to increase the accuracy of his recall. Such freshness adds color to the lieutenant's descriptions of battles, camp life, and campaigns. Yet the real value of this memoir lies not in Woodcock's battlefield experiences but in the occasional glimpses into the war's effect on his beliefs. Over the course of the conflict, he finds himself becoming an antislavery Republican and a supporter of President Lincoln. The accuracy, honest style, and detail of Woodcock's memoir make it worth reading.
Marcus Woodcock hailed from Macon County, Tennessee, just south of the Kentucky line in the north-central part of the state. When the war began, Woodcock was attending school in Gamaliel, Monroe County, Kentucky, just across the state line. In September 1861, Monroe Countians, largely Unionists, prepared to meet a rumored column of rebels approaching their area. Woodcock joined the defense force and later enlisted in the Ninth Kentucky Regiment of the United States Army, much to the surprise of his peers. Woodcock explains that he debated whether he was joining the aggressor or the aggrieved but finally concluded that he should do "what every loyal citizen of the United States should do."(18) He never regretted his decision; throughout the memoir, he blames the Confederacy for the war and its consequences.
After a stay in southern Kentucky, where Woodcock first experienced illness in uniform, his regiment went to Shiloh, arriving there just after the battle concluded. The young soldier carefully noted the aftermath of the bloody battle, thankful that he had not been involved. Only later, at the battle of Stones River, did Woodcock see his first action. His account of his first day under fire reflects the confusion of battle, but his subsequent descriptions of battle are clear and precise. Particularly valuable is his narrative of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge in the Chattanooga campaign. Woodcock's confusion and demoralization in the aftermath of the near disaster of Chickamauga parallels the Union army's experience. He and the army turn their fortunes around at Missionary Ridge, where the lieutenant paints a vivid portrait of the successful, impromptu charge up the mountainside. Throughout his memoir, Woodcock ignores the grand movements of the two armies in favor of his own experience-what he did, what he saw, what he heard. Because he does not describe events based on second-hand knowledge, his memoir adds depth to historians' knowledge of these battles.
Most importantly, Woodcock gives the reader occasional glimpses into his political transformation. He began the war without clearly defined beliefs, but he seemed to have adopted conventional views on slavery for a Tennessean. However, after his regiment learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, Woodcock reconsidered his opinions on slavery and blacks. He found himself playing devil's advocate among Kentuckians and Tennesseeans, defending Lincoln's move. After witnessing a crowd of soldiers abuse a passing black man, Woodcock came to the realization that he actually believed much of what he had said. The stain of civil war, he wrote, paled beside the "blacker one of slavery."(149) Despite his intention to vote for George McClellan in the election of 1864, Woodcock cast his ballot for Lincoln. His political transformation lasted beyond the war, as he would later become a Radical Republican in the Tennessee legislature.
Marcus Woodcock's fresh, vivid descriptions of camp life, battle, and his own political views distinguish his story from other Civil War diaries and memoirs. Kenneth Noe's skillful editing lets Woodcock speak for himself while adding explanations at the beginning of each chapter and in the endnotes for those who need background. Because Woodcock, a Unionist from a Confederate state, offers a different perspective from most Civil War memoirs, his is worth a look.
Christopher M. Paine
University of Kentucky
In the second installment of the series A Nation Divided: New Studies in Civil War History, Ervin Jordan undertakes a difficult task. Reconstructing historical events is often difficult and documenting the role of free blacks and slaves during the Civil War is made more daunting by the relative lack of written accounts of the period, when compared to more traditional Civil War histories of military events and leaders. But Jordan's persistence in tracking limited materials scattered in repositories across the nation succeeds where others might have failed.
Little has been known about the role of blacks during the Civil War. Infrequent references in the records and in recollections published after the war showed that they served on both sides as support units and as fighting men. In recent years the film Glory told the story of one unit, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (Colored). But Jordan focuses his attention on blacks of Virginia, or Afro-Virginians, approximately 490,000 slave and 58,000 free in 1860. He begins by outlining who these Afro-Virginians were, what areas of the state most resided in, and how the directions their lives would take was as varied as the people themselves. He divides the book into civilian life and military life, although some overlapping occurs between the two.
As civilians, blacks traditionally are viewed as farm and plantation laborers, threatened with "being sold South" for misconduct and chafing under the whip of cruel overseers. Many successfully escaped to the North, but others tried to remain with family members. Yet Jordan carries the story further. Using contemporary accounts in newspapers, letters and documents of white owners, and postwar recollections of former slaves, he tells of their work as industrial workers and hired labor, which freed white Southerners to fight for the Confederacy. He also discusses their private lives, including religion, health, sexual relations between the races, and crimes committed by and against blacks. The stories of free blacks are interspersed with those of the slaves.
He then looks at the military service of Afro-Virginians, from the body servants of white officers to small bands of black Confederate soldiers and the Union colored regiments. The story of how the Virginia and Confederate governments wrestled with the prospect of arming blacks to fight is a wonderful story of too little, too late. By the time the Confederate Congress passed an act authorizing the raising of black troops on March 13, 1865, Lee was less than a month from surrendering to Grant and ending the war.
For most slaves, freedom came through the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, not through the Emancipation Proclamation or the surrender at Appomattox. As the South faced its postwar future, the role of blacks continued to evolve. Some were hated and some trusted with whites' most prized possessions, some moved to other areas in search of a better future while most remained in Virginia, held by family ties and a sense of home.
Jordan's work makes occasional references to events occurring in the areas that became West Virginia in 1863. Buchanan County is incorrectly attributed to West Virginia and a few typographical errors crept by the editors. But the locating and sifting of fragments of the story to create a cohesive whole greatly enhances our knowledge of a little-known aspect of the Civil War as it pertains to the Confederacy's dominant state.
West Virginia State Archives
Rodger Lyle Brown, a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies and Southern Studies at Emory University, analyzes southern folk and community festivals from a sociological point of view, placing them in the context of Native American ghost dance movements. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Native American tribes tried to recapture their vanishing cultures by performing ritualistic dances believed to bring the dead back to life. Brown notes that the ghost dances served a vital role as "tribal identities were strengthened and the distinctions between Indians and Europeans clarified."
Brown suggests the various community festivals in today's South serve much the same purpose as the ghost dances. The festivals are not only entertainment but attempts to recapture disappearing traditions and identity. Brown originally envisioned his work as a tour book of southern festivals, but it became a study of the festival people. What he encountered was amusing and, at times, surreal.
Brown describes nine festivals: the Rattlesnake Roundup at Whigham, Georgia; the Tobacco Festival at Clarkton, North Carolina; Swine Time at Climax, Georgia; the Banana Festival at South Fulton, Tennessee; Hillbilly Days at Pikeville, Kentucky; the De Soto Celebration at Bradenton, Florida; the Scopes Trial Play and Festival at Dayton, Tennessee; Mule Day at Calvary, Georgia; and Mayberry Days at Mount Airy, North Carolina. Brown considers the first four festivals attempts by local citizens to recapture fading ways of life while the latter five reflect the desire of individuals to romanticize traditions or a time from the distant past. One common theme of the festivals is their concentration on socializing and glorifying the past rather than celebrating their stated purposes. He reasons ". . . ghost dancing has become an American metaphor for the mournful remembrance of a lost culture."
Brown emphasizes how festivals reflect current economic conditions. Most of the agricultural-based festivals are gradually dying. The best example is the Tobacco Festival, where corporate tobacco interests formerly bankrolled the entire event but now prefer a lower profile, sending only a few banners and hats. However, the main cause for the decline of this and other agrarian festivals is the continuing recession which has devastated traditional southern cash crops. Brown points to the usual causes of the economic plight: ". . . crop controls, third-world growers and the industrialization of the growing and processing of tobacco."
In "Hank Kimball-Enemy of the People," a reference to the bumbling county agent on the television show "Green Acres," Brown sheds light on another cause. He explains the partnership between twentieth-century corporate agricultural interests and the Farm Bureau movement, which promoted the Extension Service. Fertilizer and farm equipment companies frequently paid county extension agents to convince small farmers to buy new products and machinery. Not only did this drain farmers financially but it served to diminish the agrarian dream. He notes a similar loss of idealism in the "Green Acres" characters, who mock Oliver Douglas's naive populist fervor.
His visit to Hillbilly Days reveals a sort of Appalachian fantasy camp. Shriners from across the continent gather annually to act as stereotypical hillbillies, drinking moonshine and referring to one another as "Cuzzin." Brown links the origin of the hillbilly cult to the rise and decline of the coal industry in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. During his visit to Pikeville, he made a pilgrimage to the grave of the hillbilly cult's mythological god, "Devil Anse" Hatfield. Brown decries the common notion that Appalachians are inherently violent. He supports the thesis of Altina Waller in Feud which blames the Hatfield-McCoy feud on the conflict between capitalistic developers and "moutain folk" trying to hold on to their culture. Interestingly, he observes the hillbilly stereotype is one of the few widely accepted prejudices remaining in American society.
Brown's "postmodern ghost dancing" thesis culminates in the Andy Griffith cult. The "Andy Griffith Show" continues to gain popularity although it went off the air in 1969. Many writers have speculated about this phenomenon, most calling attention to the aura surrounding the show's fictional setting-Mayberry. Even Andy Griffith admits such an idealistic town never existed, but loyalists return each year to Griffith's birthplace, Mount Airy, North Carolina, which proudly proclaims itself the real Mayberry. Brown suggests fascination with the show lies in the slow-paced life of Mayberry, the subject of several episodes. In the context of today's fast-paced, technology-dependent world, Andy Griffith enthusiasts like to pretend they live in Mayberry. People flock to Mount Airy, dress like Andy Taylor and Barney Fife, and recite the dialogue of entire episodes verbatim.
From a sociological standpoint, Brown presents an interesting theory. The "ghost dancing" thesis is stronger in some instances than in others. Certainly, "Mayberry Days" is an attempt to recapture a lost, or imagined, culture. However, some events like the "Rattlesnake Roundup" seem as much a part of the current culture as an effort to rekindle it. Brown's historical analyses are insightful although occasionally strained. In one instance, he used Andy Griffith's full character name, Andrew Jackson Taylor, as a transition for a narrative on Andrew Jackson's annihilation of Creek, Cherokee, and Chickasaw Indians in the Southeast. Brown would have benefited also from further historical research or editing. He mistakenly remarked that the murder of Sid Hatfield, a key figure in the 1920 Matewan Massacre, sparked the West Virginia mine wars and that his wife was killed with him. He states erroneously that St. Augustine, Florida, was first settled by the Spanish in 1685 rather than 1565; the Baltimore and Ohio opened a railroad line to Charleston, West Virginia, in 1858; and that Alvy York, not Alvy Moore, portrayed Hank Kimball on "Green Acres."
However, Brown's historical analysis effectively establishes a backdrop for most of the festivals. He stresses an important point concerning individuals and their interpretation of history. The popularity of southern festivals poses a dilemma about the past. While professional historians and sociologists highlight many of history's negative aspects, many of the people who lived that history choose to remember the positives, even when aggrandized or incorrect. This explains why in the face of the societal problems of the 1990s, a growing number of people who do not even remember the 1960s fantasize about a utopia called Mayberry.
The strength of Ghost Dancing is in the words of the people who attend the festivals. Brown's collection of poignant and often amusing tales conveys the real story of the southern festivals. The latter part of the title originated with one of the festival entertainers explaining how he entered that line of work. Looking for employment, a friend offered the advice, "get yourself an animal and take it 'round the cracker circuit."
West Virginia State Archives
J. W. Williamson's obsession with movies was already evident in his 1994 monograph, Southern Mountaineers in Silent Film. This time Williamson has performed the remarkable feat of writing a book that is both informative and entertaining. The new work will be of value to those interested in film and popular culture, to those concerned with the invention (or continual reinvention) of Appalachia, and to those who just enjoy a good read.
The sheer range of cinematic experience covered in Williamson's survey is impressive, from early nickelodeon movies extending to the recent work of the Coen brothers. The author uncovers throughout the themes of otherness and marginality that underlie the popular fixation with the hillbilly stereotype. The Hollywood exploitation of this image, and its subsequent reception by the public at large, forms the continuous thread of cautionary intent in the book's narrative. Williamson amply demonstrates that hillbillies function as a cipher capable of encompassing everything from menace to humor, romance to horror. And, whether one prefers Hobbes or Rousseau in defining the state of nature, the inhabitants of Appalachia can also function as a collective Kaspar Hauser in a variety of available roles: frontiersmen, bandits, even monsters from the heart of darkness. In this regard, the final chapter on images of mountain women is particularly inspired, rescuing Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool from commercial oblivion and making manifest the degree to which the spectacle of defiant women can induce fear in our culture.
Williamson's text is capable of having something new to say even when he discusses the oft-criticized film version of Deliverance. His analysis makes good use of Rodger Cunningham's Apples on the Flood, finding the same subtle trace of cultural history that Cunningham so effectively mined. Given this, it is disappointing when Williamson resorts to a less historical, and more essentialist, explanatory theory later in the book, invoking Robert Bly's "father hunger" thesis. Not only is the fatherlessness interpretation of suspect philosophical origins, its inability to yield any insight on Williamson's otherwise revealing discussion should have served as a warning that "this dog won't hunt."
Overall, however, there is little to criticize in Hillbillyland. Barry Wooldridge, in a very positive review in the West Virginia countercultural monthly Graffiti, notes an inadequate treatment of B-movies such as Commonlaw Cabin and Poor White Trash. Wooldridge goes on to praise Williamson for his mention of alternative, independent filmmakers like Danny Boyd, who provide an instructive contrast to the Hollywood treatment, turning back and subverting the hick image.
All in all, any objections that could be raised to Hillbillyland are bound to be minor; its combination of understanding and humor render it an instant classic, required reading for hillbillies everywhere. Ma and Pa Kettle give it two thumbs up.
As labor activists contemplate the tremendous barriers to rebuilding the trade-union movement in the 1990s, it is at times useful to look for lessons from the past. In this regard, James J. Lorence's book on the unemployed workers' movement in Michigan offers many insights. Indeed, Organizing the Unemployed begins during a period (the late 1920s) with striking similarities to today. At the onset of the Depression, unions represented only about 10 percent of the work force, and the craft orientation of organized labor was an odd fit for an economy dominated by mass production. Today, unions again are sinking toward the 10 percent representation figure, at least in the private sector, and seem out of touch with the needs of workers in an economy where less than one of six is employed in manufacturing. In the intervening years, workers managed to build the labor movement into a powerful social force, capable of elevating manual workers into a broad middle class and attaining for them a dignity and security unheard of previously. Critical to the creation of a vibrant union movement was its ability to forge a strong sense of unity with the unemployed.
Lorence begins with a brief overview of a "failed economy." Although he refrains from speculating about the causes of the Great Depression, he summarizes its devastating impact on industrial workers. Unfortunately, the existing union movement had few ideas about how to deal with the problems of massive unemployment. Very quickly, radicals of various sorts began offering ideas and leadership around which workers could mobilize. Of course, different strains of radical social thought appealed to workers in each region. In the Northern Peninsula, Finnish radicalism provided the ideological base, and in the central and southwestern portions of the state, Dutch-Reformed Christianity galvanized worker response. However, the importance of the Communist party in Detroit, the state's industrial hub, meant that the party came to dominate the organization of the unemployed in the early stages of the Depression.
The emerging New Deal reshaped the unemployed movement. As state and federal governments explored ways to diffuse the movement's militancy through relief programs, more moderate and better positioned institutions exerted increasing influence over the agitation. By 1935, the American Federation of Labor and the Socialist party, with its allies in the Workers Alliance, overshadowed the Communist party, despite the fact that the Socialists and the Alliance were much less rooted in the working class. But in contrast to much of the recent literature on labor and social movements, Lorence demonstrates that workers welcomed the intrusion of government, even if it meant that the unemployed organizations lost some of their zeal and ability to propose solutions out of the public policy mainstream. The emergence of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1936-37, gave the unemployed an even stronger and more stable institutional base.
The middle portion of the book, which explores the absorption of the unemployed movement into the union movement is perhaps the most exciting part of the story. Lorence makes a strong case that rather than view the unemployed as a barrier to the struggle for decent wages and working conditions, the labor activists of the 1930s built broad, community-based movements capable of integrating the most downtrodden. The more socially conscious unionism of the New Deal won the day not in spite of large numbers of unemployed workers but because resources were devoted to fighting for their issues. This was a lesson unions forgot in the more flush times of the postwar years and have yet to remember as they face the leaner, meaner global economy.
At times Lorence takes issue with the earlier work of Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, who emphasized the spontaneous nature and creative potential of the mass movement of the unemployed. Lorence notes, for instance, that building a movement is rarely achieved without a great deal of planning and education. He is well attuned to the importance of ideology, as opposed to spontaneity, in providing the critical cadre of movement activists. Moreover, he notes that the rank and file of the unemployed desired an institutionalized voice that might offer greater access to power and resources. Meanwhile, he is cognizant of the costs that occurred when the movement became intertwined with the UAW. While gaining a stronger institutional voice, unemployed workers' issues took a back seat to the union's concerns. The movement became mired in the internal factionalism of the UAW, and eventually this alliance undercut the Communists who had been among the most militant and creative of the unemployed activists. Thus, Lorence's history of the unemployed movement actually confirms some of the insights originally suggested by Piven and Cloward. Ultimately, the unemployed movement disappeared amid red-baiting and the declining jobless rates of a war economy.
Unfortunately, by the time economic conditions would have made a new community-based alliance between unionists and the unemployed possible, the labor movement had been purged of its more radical ideological tendencies, as well as the activists who had seen the necessity of organizing the unemployed. For much of the past fifty years, the union movement has been suspicious of the unemployed (or underemployed), particularly as race and gender increasingly appear to symbolize the differences between the working class and the truly disadvantaged. Lorence has written an excellent study of an important and overlooked social movement. His book is good history and should force all who care about rebuilding the labor movement to rethink trade unionism's relationship to those most dispossessed by our free-market capitalism. As we begin to "reform" welfare, there is much to be learned from this history of the unemployed.
Institute for Labor Studies and Research
West Virginia University
In 1973 affirmative action mandates ushered in a new era for the coal industry. A West Virginia woman became the first female miner hired under federal guidelines intended to address discrimination in the work place. Between 1973 and 1989 women represented only a small percentage of coal miners-their numbers peaked at 11.4 percent in 1979-but their entry into this previously all-male environment reflected the changing role of women at work and at home.
The twenty-four women whose oral histories comprise Women in the Mines document nearly a century of coal mining. From a young witness of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre to the Trinidad native who became West Virginia's first female mine inspector in 1991, these women share their joy, sorrow, and outrage. But most often they speak with pride of being equal to the back-breaking challenge and being part of an honorable, if not always just, tradition.
There were, of course, women miners before 1973. Laws passed in Victorian Britain forced thousands of women from their mining jobs by 1900. According to historian Christine Vanja, the rise in prohibitive legislation, as well as the persistent legends that a woman's presence in a mine was a precursor to disaster, can be traced to industrialization. Increasing industrial wages made mining jobs more attractive to men. At the same time, the ideal woman came to be defined as one who did not toil in the industrial work force, particularly in an occupation as dirty and dangerous as coal mining.
Laws regulating the employment of women miners in the United States came later than in Europe. Seventeen states had banned women miners by 1932. A small number of women were employed in the mines during World War II, but the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) roundly condemned the practice. Women hired at the Algoma mines in southern West Virginia were dismissed because of a strike threat from District 29. Women in the Mines shows that many women miners still have a decidedly uneasy relationship with the union. Most are stalwart UMWA supporters but feel the union continues to be unreceptive to the issues women miners face. Moore herself successfully sued the UMWA for sexual discrimination after she was fired from her position at the United Mine Workers' Journal and replaced by a less-qualified man.
Women miners often face judgement much closer to home. Sermons have been preached in church against them and bank loans denied. Jealous wives and girlfriends of male co-workers have threatened violence. But many of the women castigated for not living traditional lives note that traditions, or some idealized notion of acceptable roles, do not meet modern needs. As one woman astutely points out, ". . . June Cleaver [was] the perfect, at-home wife. In fact, she was an actress working full-time. . . . She wasn't at home feeding her babies. And yet we sat there and totally forgot that she was a workingwoman."(151)
The attempts to reconcile the realities of everyday life with an impossible standard of social acceptability will strike a chord with readers. Several women miners who head single-parent households strongly make the case that women must have access to jobs that pay a living wage and offer benefits. Many note that their workday did not end when their shifts were over-there were husbands, children, and housework to tend to. One woman joked with her co-workers that she ". . . wanted a wife to have [her] supper fixed when [she] came home."(118)
Women miners in the first half of the century point up less obvious problems. For fourteen years, a woman worked in a Kentucky mine with her husband after he had lost his helper to the draft in 1941. But she was never officially employed by the mine. When she developed respiratory problems later in life, she was ineligible to apply for black lung benefits.
Despite the disadvantages and dangers, the narrators of Women in the Mines revel in their experiences. Many discovered physical and emotional strength they never knew they possessed. Their UMWA activities fostered solidarity with miners, male and female. The Coal Employment Project, a grassroots organization for women miners, gave many women their first taste of leadership and forged ties with sister miners in the United States and around the world.
Women in the Mines is an incredible documentary of how coal mining affected women and women affected coal mining. As employment opportunities in mining rapidly decrease for women and men and the industrial work force as a whole faces an uncertain future, it can also be a source of inspiration for the labor movement of the future.
Christine M. Kreiser
West Virginia State Archives
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Coker v. Georgia , an historic decision by the United States Supreme Court that imposing the death penalty for the crime of rape is unconstitutional. Prior to the Supreme Court's ruling in Coker , southern juries frequently condemned to death those found guilty of rape, particularly if the defendant was black and the victim white. Between 1600 and 1949, for example, southern courts ordered the execution of at least 588 African-Americans convicted of rape while only 48 white rapists suffered the death penalty. Whites charged with rape were typically either acquitted or convicted but sentenced to prison. Virginia in the twentieth century was no exception. In the sixty years between 1908 and 1968, 56 African-American men were executed for rape. No whites convicted of rape received the death penalty during this same period.
In 1949, more than twenty-five years before the Supreme Court's decision in Coker, a trial judge in Martinsville, Virginia, decreed that seven black males should perish by electrocution for raping a thirty-two- year-old white homemaker by the name of Ruby Floyd. In short successive trials, all-white juries found each of the seven defendants guilty. Floyd was raped one January evening along railroad tracks running through Martinsville, a gritty textile town near Virginia's impoverished border with North Carolina. All the defendants were in their late teens or early twenties. None of them had a serious criminal record.
In The Martinsville Seven: Race, Rape and Capital Punishment , Eric Rise admirably reexamines this infamous crime and punishment against the backdrop of a pre-Coker nation obsessed with Communist threats to domestic security. The Martinsville Seven contains little information about the young men who stood trial or the woman they brutalized. Rise instead focuses on the defendants' champions, three Richmond-based lawyers with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Rise, a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, emphasizes that in their failed efforts to save the Martinsville Seven, NAACP lawyers broke new ground and influenced the direction of civil rights jurisprudence for years to come.
Before the Martinsville Seven case, lawyers for the NAACP frequently sought to reverse convictions of black defendants by arguing that their trials had violated the accused's constitutional right to due process, such as the right to counsel. These due process challenges rarely involved claims that the sentence was the product of racial discrimination. Because the Martinsville Seven were plainly guilty and their trials comported with at least rudimentary due process safeguards, the NAACP's strategy on appeal was to challenge the severity of the punishment rather than the validity of the convictions. In a stream of appellate briefs and habeas corpus petitions, the NAACP argued that the death sentences were racially discriminatory. The defendants' lawyers presented statistical evidence of racially motivated sentencing disparities in rape cases. Such a sweeping challenge to the sentencing phase in rape cases was unprecedented in the annals of civil rights litigation. "In fact, the Martinsville case was the earliest instance in which lawyers marshalled statistical evidence to prove systematic discrimination against blacks in capital cases, rather than focusing on procedural errors within a particular case," Rise writes. This shift from procedural due process challenges to racial discrimination arguments, Rise suggests, was consistent with the NAACP's emerging strategy of assailing in court the "separate but equal" doctrine that was the basis for segregated schools and other Jim Crow institutions.
While this new, systemic challenge to the jury system was exciting from a legal standpoint, it threatened to create political difficulties for the NAACP. The race-based assault tilted the largely middle-class NAACP toward the political left at a time when fears about domestic communism were mounting. The Civil Rights Congress and other radical organizations with strong links to the Communist party were interested in sharing the national media attention that the NAACP received from its work on behalf of defendants such as the Martinsville Seven. Turf battles and sharp ideological differences between the NAACP and communist civil rights organizations marked these high-profile trials. Unlike the staid and decidedly anti-communist NAACP, the Civil Rights Congress favored mass demonstrations and other forms of political protest as a complement to courtroom battles. NAACP lawyers, including Thurgood Marshall, publicly rejected the Civil Rights Congress's offers to assist with the defense of the Martinsville Seven.
In an effort to disassociate itself from the Civil Rights Congress, the NAACP refused to endorse several marches and vigils the Civil Rights Congress sponsored as the Martinsville Seven's execution date drew near. Still, the NAACP's appellate briefs were perfectly consistent with the radical critique of postwar society. The Civil Rights Congress, along with the Communist newspaper, The Daily Worker , lauded the NAACP's innovative argument that southern juries systematically engaged in racism when they recommended that black men die for raping white women.
In the end, neither the NAACP nor the Civil Rights Congress could keep Virginia from electrocuting the Martinsville Seven. None of the state and federal judges who read the trial transcript was about to declare that the defendants' unrefuted evidence of racial disparity in sentencing for rape meant Virginia's jury system was constitutionally infirm under the equal protection clause. In later cases, the same argument presented by the NAACP in the Martinsville Seven appeals was repeated and refined but consistently rejected.
Even a quarter of a century later when the United States Supreme Court in Coker finally declared the death penalty an unconstitutional punishment for rape in the absence of homicide, it did so on grounds that were unrelated to the NAACP's racial discrimination claims. Imposition of the death penalty for the crime of rape was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled in Coker , because it violated the Eighth Amendment's guarantee against "cruel and unusual punishment." Executing a person, white or black, for raping another was unconstitutionally severe. The Martinsville Seven is an unpretentious work that serves as a useful reminder of the world before Coker.
Paul G. Beers
A lifetime of traditionalist historical methodology characterizes this collection of ten essays dealing with the development of early seventeenth-century attitudes toward race and ethnicity in America. Nine of the essays have been previously published over the last thirty years of Vaughan's significant career. The earliest dates to 1964. All have been revised, some extensively, to reflect more recent scholarship. Seven primarily relate to Native American and European interaction and three to African and European contacts.
The previously unpublished essay is perhaps the collection's most valuable. "Slaveholders' 'Hellish Principles': A Seventeenth-Century Critique" is a discussion of the ecclesiastic Morgan Godwyn's life, observations, and works as a clergyman in seventeenth-century Barbados and Virginia. Godwyn openly championed the cause of African and Indian slaves including arguing for their instruction in Christian religious principles and baptism, as well as more humane treatment by masters. Vaughan suggests Godwyn's writings, especially The Negro's & Indian's Advocate and Trade Preferred Before Religion and Christ , are important sources for the study of the development of European attitudes toward persons in America who were not of European descent.
The general thrust of Vaughan's arguments throughout the book is that racism and slavery for Africans was present from the beginning and that this was probably less true for Indians. He identifies pieces of evidence which tend to indicate physical traits had already consigned Africans to the very lowest socioeconomic status from the time the first known Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619. He further adds that "until each colony enacted its own statutory legislation of perpetual bondage, the mother country's common law of property served the same effective purpose."(157) Vaughan thus defends his position that racism caused slavery. He reviews the historiography of the discussion over the last half century about whether slavery or racism came first and concludes in a new postscript to "The Origins Debate: Slavery and Racism in Seventeenth-Century Virginia," that the idea of race came with the first English settlers. The concepts needed no proclamation in print; there were no printing presses and few who could read. The system emerged with little opposition from any except its victims.
Racism, and racial reinforcement of lifelong bondage, was probably always present as Vaughan suggests. However, it was always an imperfect sort of racism, and it was probably a racism from the top-a point which Vaughan tends to overlook because virtually all his sources come from materials written by the literate elite. Indeed, one can make the argument that inherent racism coming from persons reared in the English gentility, especially as it had been practiced against the Irish, was transferred to America. However, the many different ethnic groups, which Vaughan agrees populated the colonies, may not have been quite so racist. In fact, as other scholars have indicated, much cultural and probably genetic interaction characterized early contacts between these various ethnic groups. Many different European, African, and Indian cultures interacted across both racial and ethnic lines in colonial America.
Vaughan may have rewritten his essays based on new research from the last three decades, but he has continued to use the limited methodology which relies virtually in its entirety on written sources in the British Public Records Office and various American archives. There are many additional resources which may have led him to different conclusions. This is the Eurocentric, elitist history reflected in the motto "History is the Study of the Lives of Great Men." Much greater research using non-written resources, especially evidence from linguistic and cultural patterns, is necessary for a fuller understanding of this formative period in American history. The Eurocentric focus of this work is also reflected in the fact that there is virtually no reference to the interaction of Indians and Africans.
Although he relies solely on evidence from that small minority who could write and had sufficient influence in the power structure of the day to have their writings preserved for posterity, Vaughan's conclusions are noteworthy. However, this group formed only a tiny fraction of all the peoples who composed British America and the conclusions may not be extrapolated to reflect all of British America as Vaughan attempts to do.
A major weakness of this work is that although the essays themselves present good points and are well researched and written within the parameters of traditional historical methodology, the volume lacks a concluding essay synthesizing the many different thrusts of the ten essays. The greatest new contribution of this book is the chapter on Morgan Godwyn. The substantial number of written sources included in the notes, many of which are little known or rarely used, is also a most valuable contribution to the study of the development of early American racial and ethnic attitudes.
Irvin D. Talbott
Glenville State College
Ronald L. Heinemann's Harry Byrd of Virginia examines the career of Virginia's most powerful twentieth-century politician. The author concludes that Byrd dominated the "Organization" in Virginia from the 1920s to the 1960s and that his influence did not always benefit the state.
Although Byrd had a distinguished ancestry, he started life under relatively modest circumstances. Through hard work, good luck, and wise investments he became financially secure. Byrd entered politics and soon demonstrated superior organizational and managerial skills. As a result he quickly rose to prominence within the Virginia political landscape. Byrd became head of the Organization in the 1920s and governor a short time later. The governor strongly believed in individualism, self-help, and fiscal responsibility. It had worked for him and it would work for the state and the nation. However, this mentality also weakened Byrd's awareness of the social responsibility of government.
As Byrd aged, he became increasingly out of step with dominant public attitudes about fiscal and social responsibility. The dissonance began with the New Deal and World War II and grew with the passage of time. Byrd had become the Cassandra of doom that few heeded. This situation only frustrated and embittered Byrd in his last years and contributed to the meager amount of positive legislation he sponsored during his career.
Although out of step with national party leaders and public attitudes, Byrd maintained his power. He controlled Virginia politics as no one before or after. He chose the governor of Virginia until the 1960s and dominated the convention delegates during the same period. He rarely faced serious opposition. Thus, Byrd did not worry very much about what national party leaders thought of him. He was truly independent and freely spoke his mind.
The Virginian opposed many policies and programs during his long career. Some of these positions seem unjustifiable today. Byrd wanted balanced budgets and was willing to limit funding for schools and social programs to do so. He also vehemently opposed integration of public schools. The above-mentioned positions make Byrd appear reactionary and very narrow-minded. At the same time, Byrd also raised several issues which still concern Americans in the 1990s. The amount of debt, the balancing of the budget, the high rate of taxation, and the inefficiency of government programs continue to play a prominent role in recent political debates. His positions on these issues make Byrd appear a prophet.
Heinemann, the author of two previous studies dealing with Virginia politics, has done thorough research. He presents Byrd warts and all and gives the reader an appreciation of Byrd's impressive political skills. No one can understand twentieth-century Virginia politics without understanding the position of Harry Byrd and no one can understand Harry Byrd without considering Heinemann's biography. Likewise, an examination of Byrd is useful in the context of the liberal versus conservative debates which presently rage in the political forum. This study belongs on the shelves of all who want a greater appreciation of southern, and particularly Virginian, politics.
Numan V. Bartley's The New South, 1945-1980 , is the eleventh volume in the series, A History of the South, which owes its origin to George W. Littlefield, a Confederate veteran and cattle baron who established a southern history fund at the University of Texas in 1914. The series, sponsored jointly by the Littlefield Fund and Louisiana State University, began publishing in the late 1940s.
The New South appears seventeen years after the tenth volume, George Brown Tindall's Emergence of the New South, 1913-1945 . Like Tindall, Bartley researched and wrote amidst controversies of the recent past. One could argue, of course, that the South's "recent past" covers all events since the Late Unpleasantness. Thus, C. Vann Woodward labored under a similar burden in penning the ninth volume, The Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 a decade and a half earlier.
The New South's title suggests that at the dawn of the Reagan Era the South had arrived at a sort of turning point-perhaps some sort of post-Civil War closure. Indeed, Bartley builds a persuasive case that in demographic and economic terms the South had become more like the rest of the nation. Before the United States entered World War II, the South "ranked at the bottom of any national socioeconomic index."(1) Four decades later, the region "was prosperous and progressive, and Southerners were free to pursue personal self-fulfillment through career and achievement."(470) But, just as in the rest of the country, economic and racial problems continued. However, Bartley does not indicate that the North has somehow destroyed southern distinctiveness. Instead, pro-business southern conservative politicians have managed to blur some regional differences.
The reader who expects a sociological approach to this period will be disappointed. Bartley cannot be mistaken as either a Fugitive or a self-styled, latter-day computer-redneck from the electronic mailing list known as "Bubba-L." Following the lead of Tindall and Woodward, Bartley organizes his work around chronology and political events, the most important of which was the cold war, which led the United States government to spend billions of dollars in the region.
But the most important cold war impact was ideology-the implicit assumption of only two choices, good (the United States) or evil (the Soviet Union). Bartley explains the process by which conservative politicians used cold war ideology to defeat opponents who had been sympathetic to the New Deal approach to economics.
In the 1930s President Roosevelt and his allies had chosen to downplay racial discrimination on the theory that a rising economic tide lifts all boats. When grinding poverty ended, so would racial bigotry. However, with the end of World War II, economic reformers began explicitly to reject Jim Crow by attacking southern institutions such as the poll tax. The chief effect of this levy was a shrunken electorate, which allowed "courthouse cliques" to control both local and statewide politics. To forestall change, conservative politicians took to calling reformers Communists.
The peculiar nature of the 1948 presidential contest also played a large part in the defeat of southern liberals. To preserve his party in the face of a three-way split, President Truman wooed conservative Democrats to counter the Dixiecrat threat. Moreover, many southern liberals supported Henry Wallace's presidential aspirations. After Truman's victory, liberals found themselves without a base in southern politics. Some readers might find Bartley's focus on politics somewhat overwhelming, but this reviewer found it lacking in specificity. However, one cannot cover a thirteen-state region without generalizing.
Bartley asserts that the work of Gunnar Myrdal also contributed to the demise of southern liberalism. The Swedish sociologist defined the race issue in individual and moral, rather than economic or institutional, terms. Thus, northern civil rights advocates who were allies of President Truman could abandon southerners who argued that racial discrimination and southern economic inequality were two sides of the same coin. Northern liberals could be comfortable in knowing that they supported the correct side of a moral issue. In addition, they were helping to do away with Jim Crow, an issue often exploited by the Soviets. The author argues that by decoupling the two issues Truman and his allies separated the interests of southerners on the basis of color because poor southern whites saw no direct benefits from the extension of civil rights to African Americans.
Bartley also blames northern liberals for driving southern "white common folk" into the arms of "white suburbanites" (a somewhat ill-defined group, possibly Yankee infiltrators), who voted for Republican candidates. Bartley's critique of northern liberals demonstrates that the southern tradition of critiquing outsiders for not understanding the region is alive and well.
A strength of The New South emerges from the author's positive approach to the working class and its folk values, or folk cultures, especially in dealing with religion and civil rights. However, Bartley should have dwelt more on music and literature. In addition, this reviewer would have appreciated more attention to African-American folk culture.
In addition, Bartley's chronology is sometimes hard to follow. For example, in the chapter on interposition, he bounces from Little Rock to the two Civil Rights acts of the 1950s, back to Little Rock, then to Virginia, then back to Little Rock, then to New Orleans.
However, The New South overcomes such shortcomings, by providing the student of southern history a relatively easy-to-digest work which covers most major trends in the cold war South. For the individual who wishes to begin further exploration, Bartley's "Critical Essay on the Authorities" provides an excellent springboard.
Edinboro University Of Pennsylvania
More than twenty years ago, author Marshall McLuhan proclaimed that "the medium is the message," arguing the form in which information is presented shapes the content that is being delivered. The same argument can be made when computers are used in historical research.
In Databases in Historical Research, Charles Harvey and Jon Press lead us from the basics of historical computing to development of historical databases and on to the implications behind software selection and database design. Harvey is a professor of business history and management at the University of London, and Press is professor of history and dean of humanities at Bath College of Higher Education. The case studies they use to illustrate various approaches to historical computing are all drawn from British and European institutions. Nevertheless, the illustrations and the theoretical discussions presented in Databases in Historical Research are relevant to historians contemplating similar projects in the United States.
The authors use case studies to present their points. The Gloucester Portbooks Database , 170 coastal portbooks spanning the period from 1575 to 1765, were incorporated into a comprehensive set of data fields and records for each voyage. The Register of Music in London Newspapers, 1660 to 1800 , combines fields for structured data with free text items of varying length. Microcosm is an "open" hypermedia database management system developed by the University of Southampton. The Genealogical Society of Utah produced a machine-readable version of the 1881 Census of England and Wales. The Queen Mary and Westfield Labour Markets Database researched economic performance between regions and sub-regions in Britain before the First World War. Clio is a source-oriented database management system developed by Manfred Thaller and colleagues at the Max-Planck-Institut fÅr Geschichte, Gîttingen. Finally, Wrigley and Schofield use computers to develop and apply analytical methods in Population History of England (1981).
The case studies and the theoretical discussions deal with many of the potential uses of historical databases as well as the implications of their use. For example, they explore history as process versus history as product . That is, historical databases can be used not only as tools to collect and analyze information but also as media for publishing the conclusions reached by the historian.
The authors also investigate the long-standing controversy between proponents of highly structured databases and those advocating fidelity to the format of the source documents. Manfred Thaller, one of the most influential writers on historical computing, for example, argues against the use of conventional database management systems in which information is entered into predefined fields. He suggests that when a historian creates forms and fills them in the result "is actually the creation of a reality, which has not existed before." His opponents argue that structured databases can provide historians with substantial analytical power while remaining faithful to the original format of source materials.
This study also discusses the characteristics of various commercial database management systems, such as Oracle, Microcosm , and those developed from the ground up by governmental and educational institutions. These discussions are instructive in that they emphasize the need for careful database design and software selection. At the same time, they also illustrate the speed at which the field of historical computing is changing. Since the hard copy publication of Databases in Historical Research in 1996, software products for historical computing have continued to proliferate and Internet-accessible databases have become more sophisticated.
Databases in Historical Research is well worth reading by both the novice and the veteran in the field of historical computing. It should also be required reading for those interested in historiography and the philosophy of history. At the same time, readers should supplement its dated content with frequent excursions on the Internet.
William D. Theriault
Chester Raymond Young is senior professor of history at Cumberland College, Williamsburg, Kentucky. His other works include Westward into Kentucky: The Narrative of Daniel Trabue and "To Win the Prize": The Story of the First Baptist Church at Williamsburg, Kentucky, 1883-1983 . This annotated third edition is a consolidation of John Taylor's lengthy two earlier editions. Young, who is a master editor, has shortened paragraphs, broken up long sentences, and added words when Taylor's writing was unclear, making the work comprehensible and useful.
The nineteenth century was a time of extraordinary theological venture. Groups such as the Baptists made tremendous gains in membership during this period. By 1906 the Baptists had passed the Methodists in total members, making them the largest denomination in the nation. The Baptist largely made their gains through the work of preachers like John Taylor.
Taylor is hardly a household name, but his life was productive. Taylor's simplicity of manner, his great plainness, and his abundant labors greatly endeared him to the Baptists. Taylor was not unique; many preachers experienced the same trials and tribulations he did. Nevertheless, he represents the collective character of the Kentucky Baptists. Even though lives like Taylor's have been replicated many times, he left a deeper footprint in the sand than do most men. He kept a diary which captures the day-to-day happenings associated with his life. Passages written over a long period of time enable the reader to trace the life experiences of not only Taylor but provide a window into many elements of the Baptist church.
John Taylor was born in 1752 on the Virginia frontier and was christened in the Church of England. His childhood formal education was paltry, but the boy was exposed to ruffians and all kinds of rowdy conduct. Brothels, heavy drinking, and fighting was common in the little town where Taylor grew into adulthood, known as "Helltown." This type of activity helped form his negative opinions on this behavior and was one of the factors that prepared him for the ministry. While growing up, Taylor's father, among other ways of instilling religious values, required him to recite from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer on Sundays.
At the age of seventeen, Taylor attended a church meeting where evangelical New Lights preached. Taylor dismissed the group as nonsensical. However, he went to another meeting in a few months. He developed an attachment to evangelical Christians at this meeting after watching a black man and his friend weep calling out for mercy. For over two years Taylor wrestled with the idea of this form of religious practice until he experienced conversion in 1771. Five months later he was preaching in his neighbors' homes as a Separate Baptist. After being licensed to preach Taylor evangelized for ten years in Virginia. He often encountered hostile mobs and he was beaten on occasion.
In 1782 Taylor married Elizabeth "Betsy" Kavanaugh. The following year he moved to Kentucky with some of his family members. He immediately became a member of the South Elkhorn Church upon arrival at his new home and later began working to establish churches. Being an ambitious man, he began speculating in land and farming. By 1791 Taylor owned over two thousand acres of land on the Ohio River and by 1801 he had acquired fifteen slaves. Taylor opened his church to whites and blacks and baptized most of his slaves.
Taylor was given credit for ushering in the Baptist phase of the Great Revival and was instrumental in uniting the Regular and Separate Baptists into the United Baptists. Other events such as doctrinal disputes (like the missions debate and other schisms), arguments over slavery, and Taylor's battles over his property are distinctly displayed in his writing. Betsy Taylor had died on Christmas Eve in 1832. Taylor, a wealthy man still holding a vast amount of property and slaves, was living in Franklin County with his second wife when he died in 1835.
Taylor never pretended to be a scholar, but Baptist historian John Henderson Spencer called his History of Ten Baptist Churches "the most valuable contribution that has been made to the history of the early Baptists in Kentucky."(84) Chester Raymond Young has done a meritorious job of editing Taylor's work. His editorial work and introduction make a major contribution to understanding the nineteenth century by allowing previously invisible people to speak to a twentieth-century audience. Sadly, books of this magnitude with religious tones are generally confined to theological schools and do not reach a wide audience.
David L. Kimbrough
General George Washington's frame of mind endured a roller coaster ride during the months spanned by this volume. A cautious optimism pervaded his thoughts as the foliage turned from summer green to autumn reds and ochres. That mood lasted but briefly, after which Washington sank into the darkest gloom that he would experience during the war. However, by the beginning of the new year he radiated an ebullience unseen since the enemy abandoned Boston a year earlier.
After the egregious failings of his army on Long Island and Manhattan Island in August and September, Washington had wondered whether his citizen-soldiers could defeat British regulars. However, in October a stout American resistance in the Battle of White Plains north of New York City frustrated William Howe's campaign to trap Washington and the Continental army. Only a few days before the engagement, Washington had lamented his decision to take command of the army. Thereafter, he once again believed that citizens "engaged in the Cause of Liberty" might fight with valor.(1)
However, Washington had no time to savor the performance of his army. Within a week of White Plains he faced still another crisis, one that was greater than that posed by his adversary. "The situation of our Affairs is critical and truly alarming," he wrote early in November. "The dissolution of our Army is fast approaching."(100) Despite Washington's misgivings, Congress late in 1775 had ordered that men were to enlist for only one year. That year was expiring and Washington was bitter. He had explained the danger to Congress during the previous autumn, he exclaimed; had the congressmen consulted "with a prophetic spirit, [they] could not have foretold the evils with more accuracy than I did," he raged.(104)
Nor was the loss of veteran soldiers his only problem. The defeats in Canada and New York in the spring and summer, as well as the deprivation faced by many American soldiers, made it more difficult than ever to secure new recruits. He spoke of using bounties and quotas to obtain men, and he told Congress and state officials that "Every nerve should be strained to levy the New Army."(365) In addition, by late November Washington observed growing disaffection for the American cause throughout New Jersey and feared a general collapse of morale in other states. The dependence placed on "public virtue and the spirit of the People" had been misplaced in New Jersey, he wrote in mid-December.(340) He called the conduct of the residents of New Jersey "Infamous" and stated that their militiamen had "slunk off" at every prospect of danger.(370)
Even worse was Washington's discovery on November 30 that he apparently had been betrayed by Joseph Reed of Pennsylvania, once his aide and close confidant. Washington learned that Reed had carped to others about his "fatal indecision of mind."(237n) With New York lost and Philadelphia likely to follow before Christmas, and with his ragged army retreating across New Jersey seemingly without the capability of fighting, Washington reached the nadir of his emotions. He told Congress that "no person ever had a greater choice of difficulties to contend with than I have."(382)
However, Washington's gloom vanished on Christmas night, when he struck the Hessians posted at Trenton, killing or capturing more than nine hundred of the enemy. Ten days later at Princeton, Washington scored another victory. In a classic Washingtonian understatement, the commander called his successive triumphs a "piece of good fortune."(521) In fact, his bold attacks might have saved both his army and his command.
The full scope of the mountainous pressures with which General Washington contended in that pivotal autumn will become apparent to readers of this volume. Somehow, though nearly overwhelmed by his own problems of surviving in November and December, Washington still found the time to help prepare the defense of Rhode Island, Philadelphia, the Highlands above New York, and the southern states. Somehow, too, he coped with the loyalists, prisoner exchanges, and abuses of civilians.
Both general readers and scholars will find much of importance in this volume which covers perhaps the most crucial brief period in Washington's life. Readers will also be cheered by the steady and relatively rapid progress of this magnificent series. It continues to be a model for other papers projects, both in terms of the quality of the product and the speed with which the volumes continue to be issued.
State University of West Georgia
PRESIDENTIAL SERIES. VOL. 6: JULY-NOVEMBER 1790. Ed. by Dorothy Twohig, et al. (idem, 1996. Pp. xxxii, 758. $57.50.)
Between January 1790, when Congress assembled for its second session during the presidency of George Washington, and the following autumn, the new chief executive faced a heavier work load than in his first year in office. During these months Washington also fell gravely ill, his second health crisis in eleven months.
At the outset of 1790 Washington, who had been inaugurated the previous spring, contemplated retirement later in the year if the new national government was doing well and the Union appeared to be healthy. Before the first spring flowers appeared, the president realized that it was unlikely he would be leaving office prior to the end of his elected term in 1793. The economic plans proposed by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton had aroused a firestorm, the first serious disharmony since the ratification of the Constitution. Washington told those close to him that he anguished over the appearance of sectional divisions, in this instance southern opposition to Hamilton's scheme to have the national government assume the debts of the states. It now was clear to him, Washington said, that "malignant designing characters" would seize every opportunity to destroy the new government.(5:287) Washington had never wanted to leave his postwar retirement at Mount Vernon. He had done so in large measure from a sense of duty to establish the new government, perhaps the last hope for preserving the fragile Union that had been formed in 1774 to protest British imperial policies. By late March 1790 President Washington knew that the task of stabilizing the new national government would be long and difficult.
While Congress quarreled over Hamilton's program, Washington fell ill with what he called "a severe attack of the peripneumony kind."(5:393) James Madison guessed that the president was afflicted with influenza, a dangerous and often fatal illness in an era before modern antibiotics existed; Madison's diagnosis was likely correct. The previous June Washington had been thought near death during a bout with an anthrax infection. This time as well his doctors feared Washington would die; indeed, on May 16 they told a Massachusetts congressman that the president could not survive. Insensible and wracked with a high fever, Washington also was spitting blood. At one point the first lady left his room, thinking that he was dying. Suddenly, on May 17 Washington improved, and during the next few days the crisis passed. A week later he was well enough to do some work and within a few more days he was on the road to recovery. Nevertheless, Washington never again felt as strong as he had been prior to the illness, and he subsequently blamed the illnesses in 1789 and 1790 on the abrupt shift from an active to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, from this point on Washington was haunted by the prospect that his next illness would "put me to sleep with my fathers."(5:527)
A considerable portion of the work which Washington resumed upon his recovery consisted of filling offices. Well over two hundred appointments to office are chronicled in these two volumes, ranging in importance from Washington's selection of Josiah Harmar to lead a military expedition against the Indians in the Ohio Country to the appointment of the surveyors of various ports and commissioners to administer the retirement of the federal debt. Not all of Washington's appointments worked out well. When General Harmar was defeated in the West, Washington grumbled to Secretary of War Henry Knox: "I expected little from the moment I heard he was a drunkard."(5:668)
One of Washington's first presidential decisions had begun to draw criticism by the fall of 1790. Early on, the president decided to live in a regal manner. It not only was a lifestyle which he had long practiced at Mount Vernon but he hoped to secure greater respect for the office of president by vesting it with an august air. He remodeled his coach to make it a "plain and elegant" vehicle, attired his servants in livery, hosted stiff, formal levees and state dinners, and when the capital was transferred to Philadelphia in 1790 he took steps to assure that the presidential mansion would be filled with handsome appointments.(5:400) By mid-1790 Washington learned he was under fire for acting with greater pomp and circumstance than was practiced at the Court of St. James's. The president was mortified. "[P]ride and dignity of office . . . God knows has no charms for me," he protested, none too convincingly.(5:526)
So busy was Washington that he often believed he had little time for himself. He traveled extensively. When Rhode Island ratified the Constitution in 1790, Washington hurried to Newport to welcome the state into the Union. After southern congressmen agreed to vote for Hamilton's Assumption Bill in return for the North's consent to locate the national capital on the Potomac River, Washington journeyed to Virginia and Maryland to select a site for the eventual Federal City. In the fall he began a tour of the South-he had toured New England the previous year-that would take him to Charleston and Savannah. He felt compelled to sit for several portrait painters and wrote addresses to a variety of organizations and associations. Although he attended the wedding of the daughter of the president of the Bank of North America, Washington declined dinner invitations and even refused to attend funerals; even so there appeared to be no end to the ceremonial events in which he participated. One such occasion was the signing of a treaty with the Creek Indians, whose dignitaries arrived emitting "shrieks and yells" while Washington, according to an observer, sat silently in his "accustomed elegant" manner.(6:249) However, job seekers were his greatest annoyance. On many days he was hectored "from the time I rose from breakfast-often before-until I sat down to dinner," he despaired.(5:526)
Yet Washington found time for relaxation. He enjoyed a three-day fishing trip off Long Island, liked to read histories of the American Revolution, toured battlefield sites on Manhattan Island, attended plays and picnics, hosted dinner parties which combined work with conviviality, and rode on horseback as often as possible both for amusement and exercise. The president also kept abreast of the agricultural and business pursuits at Mount Vernon. Although he returned home annually, Washington was absent from his estate nearly ten months each year. He kept in touch with George Augustine Washington, his nephew whom he employed in 1790 as his farm manager. Letters crossed Washington's desk which lamented the difficulty in finding skilled artisans and trustworthy overseers for the president's properties; Washington was also apprised of the prices fetched by his wheat and flour, illnesses within the slave community, crop damage from heavy rains, and successes and failures in breeding livestock. Unfortunately, the seven letters which Washington transmitted to his estate manager during these eleven months have disappeared.
The picture which emerges of President Washington is that of an energetic chief executive. He was deeply involved in western diplomacy and the planning of the military campaign to open the Ohio Country, and he kept an eye on the French Revolution, which had begun during the week he assumed office in 1789. On the other hand, he did not intrude in congressional deliberations, even those relating to Hamilton's economic program. Nor could Washington be induced to join in the burgeoning abolitionist movement, which by 1790 had achieved success, or soon would, in every northern state. Early in 1790 numerous Quakers petitioned Congress and President Washington to stop the foreign slave trade. A Virginia Quaker, Werner Mifflin, wrote Washington-he addressed the president as "Respected Friend"-praying that he might possess the "superior wisdom to guide thee aright" and become committed to emancipation.(5:222) Washington told a friend that the Quaker petitions had been "very mal-apropos," and when Congress refused to act he rejoiced that the abolitionist cause had "been put to sleep, from which it will not . . . awake before the year 1808," the first year Congress could constitutionally consider prohibiting the importation of slaves.(5:288)
There is much in these two volumes to delight and fascinate both scholars and history buffs. As always, it is intriguing to scrutinize Washington's purchasing habits, but especially so in 1790 when he was furnishing the new presidential mansion in Philadelphia. The headaches he experienced from his dealings with rug merchants and carpenters will resonate with every reader who has ever been mired in the thicket of interior decoration or home remodeling. The papers reveal that Washington paid a salary to the slaves who attended him in the capital. They also show that he disciplined one bondsman after the Dutch minister to the United States complained that the driver of the president's carriage "drove his horse intentionally across the road, so as to prevent my passing."(5:21-22) One document indicates that Washington experimented to determine how the Creek envoys would respond to a painted portrait of the president; the Indians reportedly "started back with an exclamation of astonishment-'Ugh!'"(5:104)
The editors are to be commended both for the quality of their production and the speed with which the volumes are appearing. In both regards, the Washington Papers project continues to set a worthy example for all such endeavors. The lone change that this reviewer implores the editors to consider is that in the future an English translation be included in the notes for all documents appearing in a foreign language.
State University of West Georgia
West Virginia History Journal
West Virginia History Center