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Female Historians


Writing new histories played a large part in the Lost Cause movement. The histories comprised for the Lost Cause justified the positions taken by the South in the war as constitutional. Southern historians also changed the war’s cause to states’ rights, not slavery. Figures like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson became glorified as symbolizes of Southern honor. Both men and women wrote these new histories. Women’s organizations published writings and sponsored historical addresses. Mildred L. Rutherford became the most notable female historian of the Lost Cause. She wrote for the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) as their Historian General. Some of her historical addresses included “Historical Sin of Omission and Commission” and “The Civilization of the Old South: What Made It: What Destroyed It: What has Replaced It.” Kentucky women also participated in remaking the South as local chapter historians of the UDC. From the Albert Sydney Johnston Chapter in Louisville, Mrs. Sophie Fox Sea described how slavery positive affected slaves in the South in her pamphlet titled “Slavery in Massachusetts.” Sea pushed further by villainizing the North, specifically Massachusetts, for harsh treatment of African Americans. Mrs. Ben Hardin Helm was another UDC historian for the Kentucky Division. History provided a tool to right the wrongs imposed upon the South by both men and women.