Emma Spaulding Bryant

9780823222735: Hardback
Release Date: 28th April 2003

9780823222742: Paperback
Release Date: 15th April 2006

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 518

Series Reconstructing America

Fordham University Press

Emma Spaulding Bryant

Civil War Bride, Carpetbagger's Wife, Ardent Feminist: Letters 1860–1900

Edited by
Ruth Currie
Hardback / £79.00
Paperback / £27.99

Emma Spaulding's life might have been the simple story of a nineteenth-century woman in rural Maine. Instead, wooed by the ambitious John Emory Bryant, the Yankee Reconstruction activist and Georgia politician, she became the Civil War bride of a Republican carpetbagger intent on reforming the South.

The grueling years in the shadow of her husband's controversial political career gave her a backbone of steel and the convictions of an early feminist. Emma supported John's agenda-to "northernize" the South and work for civil rights for African-Americans- and frequently reflected on national political events. Struggling virtually alone to rear a daughter in near poverty, Emma became an independent thinker, suffragist, and officer in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

In eloquent letters, Emma coached her husband's understanding of "the woman question;" their remarkable correspondence frames a marriage of love and summarizes John's career as it determined the contours of Emma's own story—from the bitter politics of Reconstruction Georgia to her world as a mother, writer, editor, and teacher in Tennessee and, with her husband, running a mission for the homeless in New York.

In this extraordinary resource, Ruth Douglas Currie organizes and edits their voluminous correspondence, enhancing the letters with an extensive introduction to Emma Spaulding Bryant's life, times, and legacy.

Ruth Douglas Currie is Professor of History and Political Science at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She is the author of Carpetbagger of Conscience: A Biography of John Emory Bryant (Fordham).

The editor's supporting commentary is very helpful, since she has already given John's side of the story.

—Blue & Grey Magazine

The editor, who provides much valuable background information about Mrs. Bryant's life and times, has done a great deal of careful research.

—The Civil War News

A stunning book about a very complicated young lady in a very challenging time. This book will keep the reader amazed from cover to cover.

—The Lone Star Book Review