Everyday Life During A Time of War

When we watch today’s news or read the newspaper or scan the emails that sail into our mailboxes seconds apart, it often seems as if the world is falling down around us. There are wars and rumors of wars, and murders and deaths, and poverty and hate all demanding our attention. And yet through it all, we continue to live our everyday lives. We go to work hoping there’s enough gas in the tank. We pick up the children after school and ferry them home. We do our shopping and our wash and put our feet up to watch TV when we are too tired to do anything else.

We do what people do. We take care of the small things. We push on.

The people of the Civil War era did the same thing. They lived their ordinary lives despite the horror of war, and they were a lot more modern then we think.

Here are some tantalizing facts:

1. They had elevators

2. The first assembly line was invented by a woman in order to supply valentine cards for the soldiers

3. By the beginning of the Civil War over 13,000 sewing machines were being produced yearly.

4. Men’s collars were made of paper.

5. And despite several novels to the contrary, women could and did become doctors during and before the Civil War era. The Boston Female Medical College was established in 1848 and the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania was established in 1850 by Lucretia Mott. Hannah Longshore, one of the graduates of this college, became an instructor in anatomy using cadavers and taught co-ed classes.

American Civil War Voice draws almost exclusively on first hand sources. The goal is to bring to life the people of this era, through their own voices. Come listen.

What questions do you have about this period?

I welcome your suggestions and thoughts.

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