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First Ladies of the Civil War

November 16, 2023 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Free Virtual Course

This is a live, virtual course hosted by Roundtable, which includes interactive opportunities and post-course recordings available for all course participants.

Summary: Although on opposite sides of a divided nation, Varina Davis and Mary Todd Lincoln had much in common. Delve into the lives of these two intriguing women who were First Ladies during the American Civil War with ACWM Director of Programs, Kelly Hancock.

Course Overview: As First Ladies, Mary Todd Lincoln and Varina Banks Howell Davis experienced 19th-century political life at the highest levels. In some ways they were quite similar — southern, well-educated, and gifted conversationalists. They both had their fair share of critics during their husbands’ time in office, and neither woman was one to sit back quietly. In addition to handling the duties that came with being the president’s wife, they were mothers of young children during a time when disease took a deadly toll on families, hence they were forced to deal with both stress and grief. Each survived her husband and sought to preserve his memory. However, only one of the two women triumphed over her circumstances, the other became a victim.

In this course, you’ll learn from Kelly Hancock, director of programs for the American Civil War Museum. As a public historian focused on the American Civil War for almost 25 years, Kelly Hancock researches the lives of individuals and explores how their stories intersect with history. She uses historic writings, documents, objects, and photographs (some of which are in the American Civil War Museum’s own collection) to enhance presentations and aid people of today in seeing the past as the past saw itself.