Dolly Lunt Burge

Civil War Diarist Dolly Lunt was born in Maine in 1817. As a young woman, she moved to Georgia to join her recently married sister. While teaching school there, she met Thomas Burge, whose wife had died in 1848, leaving him with five children. 1848, Dolly began to keep a diary. In 1850, at the age of 33, Dolly married Thomas Burge and moved to his plantation near Covington, Georgia, about 35 miles east of Atlanta. She helped Thomas run the farm and became a mother to his children. In 1855, she gave birth to a daughter, Sarah. For some reason, they called her Sadai. Dolly’s diary is filled with news about her slaves, whom she called servants. Some of…

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Women’s Rights Before the Civil War

The Struggle for Women’s Rights Begins In Colonial America and the first few decades of the new United States, individual women often fought for equal rights for themselves, such as assuming business interests of a husband after his death. During the war for independence women did their part by supporting the Patriots in numerous ways, including organizing boycotts of British goods. In the 18th and 19th centuries, American law was based upon English common law and the doctrine of coverture, which stated that a woman’s legal rights were incorporated into those of her husband when she married, and she was not recognized as having rights and obligations distinct from those of her husband. One of the few legal advantages of…

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Portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell, first American woman doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell

First Woman Doctor in the United States Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, and a social reformer in both the US and in England. By the time of Blackwell’s death in 1910, the number of female doctors in the United States had risen to over 7,000. Childhood and Early Years Elizabeth Blackwell was born near Bristol, England February 3, 1821, the third daughter among nine children of sugar refiner Samuel Blackwell and Hannah (Lane) Blackwell. Every member of the Blackwell family was involved in social reform movements. They believed in free and equal education for both sexes, which was radical thinking for that time period. Four maiden aunts also lived…

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