Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Christopher Grasso

Committee Member

Carol Sheriff

Committee Member

Paul Mapp


News of Romantic Women: Solving the Tensions Between Victorian Womanhood and Patriotism in the Coverage of Women Soldiers During the Civil WarMy Fall 2020 paper examines the newspaper coverage of women soldiers who served as men over the course of the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) and the narratives, tropes, and themes within this coverage. Examining both Union and Confederate sources, this paper expands on previous work on women soldiers that identifies the romantic “Female Warrior Bold” literary narrative as a style of coverage, and expands to discuss more specific tropes and further narratives popularized during the war, such as the romantic trope of the clever Colonel, the soldier-turned-nurse, the soldier-turned-wife, and the veteran. I argue that the narrative tropes, which shifted over the course of the war, expressed and sought to resolve for the readership a tension between the ideals of patriotism and expectations of domestic womanhood that the presence of women soldiers triggered. This paper also does a brief regional analysis of coverage, which indicates that stories of women soldiers were most common in the Midwest and the Southeast, as well as the Kentucky/Tennessee region due to the unique case of the Nashville Dispatch. “The Picture of Manners”: “The Ladies’ Friend” Advice Column and the Complex Coexistence of Womanhoods, 1816-1820My Spring 2021 paper examines the Boston Intelligencer young women’s advice column “The Ladies’ Friend” in order to investigate the ideals of womanhood that were being imparted on young Bostonian women from 1816 through the end of 1820. This half-decade, situated after the end of the War of 1812 and through the early years of the Panic of 1819, sits at the juncture between previously historically defined ideologies of womanhood, and offers insight into a potential moment of ideological change with regards to how U.S. society viewed the ideal woman. Looking closely at suggestions regarding social behavior and marriage, education, and economics, we can trace a change in emphasis from the ideal young woman of 1816, whose role as the moral guardian of society aligned closely with the ideology of republican womanhood, to the ideal of 1820, whose role as the center of the domestic realm was increasingly emphasized and often aligned closely with the ideology of the cult of true womanhood. Additionally, if somewhat unintuitively, the ideal young woman was also increasingly expected to have at least a practical education, and, as the Panic of 1819 came into full swing, to play an active role in household finances.




© The Author

Available for download on Friday, August 27, 2027